700 Lengths Done! But without exaggerating – It Was Hell! (Overtraining, Injuries)

I was massively looking forward to this! To be fair I didn’t feel 100% getting into the pool beforehand. I did go to bed early but couldn’t drift off so I think I had less than 6 hours sleep. I still warmed up really well and ate the correct foods and breakfast.

With the injuries I got these could have been from the Good Friday Pike walking with Seb on my shoulders on the carrier. My back was absolutely fine throughout so that’s a positive but my knee and Achilles tendon, Not Good!

My right knee went about 2 hours into the swim, the same knee that’s been plaguing me since This Injury (click to read) from running. At this point I couldn’t use my legs at all. I tried to adapt my kick just using my left leg but it was useless – I spent the next 3 hours in agony using ONLY my arms which took on more strain. Three times during the main section I thought about giving up and going home early – the Easy Option. But my arrogance got the better of me and ensured that I got as much of the main section done as possible seeing how I got on.

Towards the end of the main section when I was in the upper pool at Manchester Aquatics Centre my knee felt a lot better, but then my left Achilles tendon became very sore so I had to reduce the power of my kick again. After coping with this the knee injury came back in the penultimate and final 70 length sections.

Throughout the swim I was so depressed and couldn’t distract myself and daydream to pass the time. I felt every minute of it! Still, I was SO proud of myself getting through it although I had no lumps in my throat this time because I knew I’m over-training. My knee today is still very sore and my left foot is also. I’m considering reducing Sunday’s 800 lengths to 500 and seeing how I get on, the slightest sign of pain I’ll just get out of the pool and save myself for the 1,000 lengths.

What also worries me is I need this knee for the Coast to Coast challenge for the 8 days of mega endurance. I might need to see a specialist but I’m unsure what they can suggest in the little time I have left.

Warm Up First Sub-Section Main Section Second Sub-Section Cool Down
Lengths 50 x 50m 90 x 50m Mixed 70 x 25m 70 x 25m
Pace 60 80 70 60
Minutes 103 129 212 59 69
Actual 65 137 200 53 52
Main Section 1 Main Section 2 Main Section 3 Main Section 4
Lengths 36 x 50m 28 x 50m 76 x 25m 76 x 25m
Minutes 70 54 47 41
Actual 51 42 54 53

600 lengths for training – done OUCH! (240 x 50m, 120 x 25m)

Sunday was different – GOOD: did the 15K, got some good feedback, did it in the allotted time. BAD: cold water, muscle/back aches, 50m lengths, and THE COLD!

So yeah the water was cold at Manchester Aquatics Centre


I did the 600 lengths (15K) in two parts, the first in the basement 50m training pool, completing 240 x 50m lengths. Believe me that is a long way. And my god it was cold – I need to get that across! Anyway, apparently this is kept cold for the athletes who train as it prevents overheating when they’re absolutely nailing it. The second part was 120 x 25m lengths in the ground floor pool as the image above.

I went through all 18 bottles so I will need more for next week’s 700 lengths… 😥 I don’t want to think about that yet!!!

So a third of the way through my total lengths I was feeling my left shoulder clicking again and after a while my back started getting sore. I do think though the back was due to just poor form as I was having a good look around the new facilities keeping myself sane.

When I got to two thirds through, my back was a better but both shoulders, my right runners knee issue and FEET?? became sore and numb with tiredness.

At just over two thirds through I was aware that the basement 50m pool was closing shortly so I ended up talking to the lifeguards who were really interested and impressed in the challenge and training, one of which promised to bring in £5 for next week!!! Amazing – I don’t even know the guy but he said “I think what you’re doing is really commendable”. Wow!

I went upstairs into the 25m pool which felt like 10m after being in the huge pool for so long – but the lengths didn’t countdown quickly at all. It felt like an age getting to the final 60 length set.

Warm Up First Sub-Section Main Section Second Sub-Section Cool Down
Lengths 46 x 50m 75 x 50m 120 x 50m 60 x 25m 60 x 25m
Pace 60 80 See Below 70 60
Minutes 88 110 181 50 59
Actual 58 100 162 40 44
Main Section 1 Main Section 2 Main Section 3 Main Section 4
Lengths 30 x 50m 30 x 50m 30 x 50m 30 x 50m
Minutes 60 46 40 35
Actual 30 34 35 38

500 Lengths Demolished!!!

Wow so proud of myself to get to this level. Even though I did 500 in 6 hours which is longer than I’ve ever swam, overall it felt quicker and went better than I could have expected.

Don’t get me wrong, however, it was bloody tough. I hit an enormous wall around the 300 mark. The initial sections of 75+125 lengths got a major chunk of it out of the way leaving 6 sections of 50 lengths which I just focused on. But at 300 I felt so weak and mentally depressed with it all. But at around 350 it got easier and at 400 I felt like I was on the home straight. I actually got a little emotional at 480, thinking of the finish line thinking if there will be people cheering me on on length 999 on 7th May :’-)

Warm Up First Sub-Section Main Section Second Sub-Section Cool Down
Lengths 75 125 200 50 50
Pace 60 80 See Below 70 60
Minutes 74 92 150 42 49
Actual 48 83 137 35 34
Main Section 1 Main Section 2 Main Section 3 Main Section 4
Lengths 50 50 50 50
Minutes 50 38 33 29
Actual 30 34 35 38

The lifeguards were asking about my swim, joking that 500 is not enough, try 501 etc.

There were plenty of people in the pool asking about what I’m doing, including one guy asking if I was a swimming professional to me replying “No I’m just an amateur doing something stupid”.

Very very good feedback, one guy saying every time he comes in he’s impressed at how long I can maintain the high pace. Wow – thanks buddy!

A very strange feeling now – 500 – what a milestone. 600 next week!!! Will that feel as much of a milestone… and where am I going to do it? I don’t think Farnworth pool will be open long enough for me to do it! Maybe Manchester Aquatics Centre? How will I get there for an early start with trains on a Sunday starting so late!?

Chorley FM Live in the studio to promote the challenges

This evening I popped into Chorley FM to chat to Jason Conrad live in the studio about the Fierce Five Challenges. Jason gave me a huge amount of time and a fantastic platform to promote the challenges and talk about the training and amazing support I’ve had.


Clip Length: 8 mins 9 secs

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Jason was so easy to talk to I was so relaxed I just couldn’t shut up! A massive thank you to Chorley FM, to Jason and in particular Barbara Lowe who initially set up the interview.

The Bolton News are writing an article about The Challenges

BoltonNewsFeatureI spoke to Liam from The Bolton News this morning and he was massively interested in everything to do with the challenges.

They also want to meet up with me on Thursday at Horwich Leisure Centre before my swim training and take some photos of me in the pool for the article.

What’s even more amazing is that they promised that they will promote not just the two swimming challenges but also promote the other three (C2C2C, Tough Mudder, Great North Run) in the newspaper each time on the run up to each one! How about that!?!

Could not be more grateful or made up at the moment. The media publicity and support has been unbelievable.

I went on Tower FM LIVE to promote the challenges

This morning I received a call from TowerFM saying they want me put me on as their Twit Face of the day! Basically the feature consists of three songs and then someone comes on to promote a cause and leave a Facebook or Twitter link so that people can find out more information. What was also amazing was the show was also being played live on WireFM, PeakFM and WishFM, covering areas of Warrington, Wigan as well as Bolton.

I got that call around 8:00am so from then until 11:10am I was on tenterhooks planning what I was going to say and hoping that I would be clear and get everything out I wanted.


Clip Length: 5 mins 12 secs

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I laugh now about during the interview when Tony, the presenter referred to the first challenge calling it a “Swim” and I had to make sure that I linked back at some stage to promote the “1,000 lengths” challenge – luckily I did.

Cannot be more thankful for TowerFM allowing me the time to promote this. Also cannot believe they also said they will allow me to come back to promote it closer to the time. I reckon I’ll be promoting the 1,000 length challenge and C2C2C challenge as they are the toughest and the ones which I hope will generate the most money for the charities.

Bolton FM’s Radio Feature of The Fierce Five Challenges

Bolton FM kindly promoted the Fierce Five Challenges live on radio today and called me “Hero Of The Day“! I am SO grateful for this and they have really fired me up this weekend for the training and 320 lengths I need to do on Sunday for my practice distance swim.

Clip Length: 3 mins 20 secs

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I contacted Bolton FM knowing about the reach they have in the Bolton area and it is fantastic for a fantastic radio station to say such kind words. Ross, John and Elliot were on a marathon 7am to 7pm radio show promoting Sports Relief and other great causes.