Rise and shine (except the sun isn’t shining yet and neither am I), grab a banana and head to the Life Centre for morning training with my flat-mate, Jess. Technically, I’m lying, my alarm is set for 5:27am, but that just kills the pleasing aesthetic value of this schedule.
Woken up by either Radio 1 or The Essential Michael Jackson CD on the way to the pool, it’s up to the gym for an hour of pumping iron and getting massive. I’m kidding; we’re not that pretentious, but increasing muscle strength and power is essential for improving performance in the pool, so it is tough work.
Straight from the gym into the pool for a two-hour training session. Generally, in the mornings, it’s either an easy aerobic/technique session or a solid kick set that makes walking a real challenge for the rest of the week. After the session we try and squeeze in some stretching to help soothe that painful aftermath.
Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, especially for swimmers who need to recover quickly after a session, but it’s by far the best one. My go-to is a big, hearty bowl of porridge with fruit, but I’ll also make pancakes or avocado toast with eggs which is loaded with protein. I won’t say no to a trip to Boston Tea Party by the Barbican if I feel like treating myself. General rule – breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
My lectures and seminars are normally in the morning around this time, which works out well for me since I have training again in the afternoon. In seminars we do a lot of interesting text analysis and discussing relevant themes that will then help us write assignments later on. The Writing Café in Babbage building is my saving grace when we take a break. When you’ve been awake since half-past five, coffee is a must if you don’t want your brain to turn off in the second hour of discussing Marxism in literature.
A light(ish) lunch at home to fuel me for the next training session. I’ve recently become obsessed with omelettes which are delicious, easy to make and you can chuck anything in to them.
Back to the pool for another two-hour training session because I was getting separation anxiety. Afternoons are normally heart-rate sets that help improve your race-pace and endurance. They’re also fairly gruelling but, sinister as it may sound, if you do it well you get a great kick out of it.
FOOD. It’s the only thing on a swimmer’s mind especially after a tough session. Once I’ve fuelled up I make the most of this time to be productive and do some work, which, for English, is mainly preparing and writing essays. On a Wednesday evening I do kick-boxing with one of the university societies which is not only amazing for letting off some steam and frustration, but it’s also extra gym-work for my training as well.
I know I said dinner like a pauper but that doesn’t mean stale bread and a measly portion of soup. Something that doesn’t require too much time and effort like Bolognese or your average meat and two veg, are firm favourites, and see me through training the next morning. After tea it’s down-time and there’s always something to watch on TV. Jess and I always look forward to Poldark on a Sunday night, for obvious reasons that don’t have anything to do with topless Aidan Turner…obviously…
Bedtime for us swimmers! It might sound weirdly early to some, but we need our eight hours (minimum) of beauty sleep if we’re going to be ready to repeat the whole thing again tomorrow…