If you plan to take up outdoor swimming, you need to think about acclimatisation. I mean, how you acclimatise your friends and family to what you are doing.
This applies especially if you are of a certain age (anything over 30) when the words «mid-life crisis» may be frequently whispered in your ear-shot.
One: make a discreet start on holiday. Make it look as though you are swimming from one point to another for a purpose — for instance to explore a rocky island.
Two: get your blood pressure taken and get yourself weighed.
Three: announce you are undertaking a sponsored event. It doesn’t have to be that arduous but you must be raising money for a cause dear to your friends and family. The Great North Swim series is ideal for this and so might be some of the seafront swims. You only need to sign up for a mile. And the event must be at least 12 months away.
Four: announce you are undertaking an arduous course of training for the sponsored event. This requires you to train throughout the winter in open water.
Five: say you have to purchase some really expensive equipment for the sponsored event. You will need a wetsuit, special goggles and special gloves and socks and headgear. And also some kind of tracking device. And also a bright orange tow float.
Six: as the event is going to be in particular difficult circumstances you need to train in a variety of settings. This involves some trips to fantastically scenic seafronts and lakes during the early spring. Your immediate family and friends will love going with you, even if they worry a little about you «drowning» as you set off into the open water.
Seven: remember that you burn up lots of calories and need nutrition after these training events. Treat them all to a great meal as part of the expedition.
Eight: make sure they all turn up for the event and that you have lots of photographs of yourself looking ecstatic at the finish. Treat them to a great meal.
Nine: Reveal a massive reduction in your blood pressure and maybe even some weight loss. Announce that you have never been healthier or fitter in your life (or words to that effect).
Ten: Announce that you have signed up for an even more arduous event in 12 months time. After all it would be a shame to lose that fitness or waste all that equipment you’ve purchased..
Note: outdoor swimming may also involve acclimatisation to cold water. The principles are similar.