With Turtle Mat employee Heather taking part in MCS’s charity open sea swimming event the Big Sea Swim, we decided to offer a helping hand to anyone who is taking part in a swimming event to get the most from their training. Working together with Olympic and Paralympic coach Dr Gary Brickley, we have created a four week training plan for those looking to give their training a boost in the last run-up to their event.
Open water swimming presents a different challenge to our bodies than pool swimming so it is vital to be fully prepared for the day. Whether you are swimming for charity or for yourself, a structured plan in the last stretch before race day can make all the difference:
A lot depends on how much time you have available and if you have access to water. The swims are a great guide to build your endurance going into the race and to develop your confidence in swimming in open water. Ideally you will have someone watching over you or helping to set the pace.
Being prepared for a swimming event also means know what to do on the day and how to best give your body chance to recover afterwards:
On the day preparation:
- Don’t sit in your wetsuit for any longer than you need to. If it’s a sunny day, you can overheat
- Get into the sea for a quick swim beforehand to get used to the temperature
- When you get in the sea for the first time, get your head under early and turn your arms over fast to warm them up and to stretch out in your wetsuit
- Get your bearings of the course, what will you line up with?
- Don’t eat too much before the race, it will be over quickly and you can eat straight after but trying to sea swim with anything in your stomach is not ideal
- Get on someone’s feet whilst you are swimming, this will make sure you don’t have to keep looking up and it will save some energy as the person in front will break the water in front of you.
- When you finish your swim try not to just collapse when you cross the line. Jump back in the sea and swim easy for 5 minutes or so to loosen off your muscles and to gradually drop your heart rate. You may decide to take your wetsuit off and just stretch out in your swimming costume.
- After each session you should ideally be eating within 30 minutes of swimming to make sure you can restore your stores. A mixture of high quality protein with some carbohydrates is recommended. You can of course use sports drinks but something like a milkshake would be ideal. If you have been in the water for around an hour you may sweat up to a litre of water and this may need replacing with an electrolyte drink to ensure you are rehydrated.
- Have a good stretch out on land as well as in the sea afterwards and then look forward to your next big swim. Hopefully you will have hit your goal whether they are completing or doing your best possible swim.
- Have fun!
Our guides were created in conjunction with Dr Gary Brickley. Gary is a senior lecturer in exercise physiology based at the University of Brighton in Eastbourne. He is an accredited sport and exercise scientist and an accomplished swimmer. He has swum the English Channel in a 3 man relay; completed the 26km Lake Zurich swim coming 3rd in the masters category; is currently the Brighton Pier to Pier veteran cup holder; has swum the 19.6km Rottnest Island swim in Perth and also did the 24 miles swim, swimming 1 mile every hour for 24 hours.
Turtle Mat is proud to announce that our very own customer service manager, Heather Scott, will be taking part in this year’s Big Sea Swim to raise money for our partner charity the Marine Conservation Society. The Big Sea Swim takes place on July 12th in Eastbourne near Brighton and swimmers will be clocking up either one or three kilometres in support of Britain’s coastlines.
It is in honour of our 20th anniversary that Heather has agreed to take part in what will be MCS’s third Big Sea Swim event. On getting involved in the event, Heather is looking forward to the challenge but says: “I think it must be at least 30 years, if not longer, since I last did anything like this. You just don’t know what is lurking around and beneath you in open water.
I’m very apprehensive about swimming in the open water. As a child I used to swim long distances outdoors but as I have got older I have preferred the comfort and cleanliness of my local swimming pool.”
To help Heather and anyone else taking part in the event, we spoke to Dr Gary Brickley at the University of Brighton which is located in Eastbourne.
Gary told us: “Both races will take place in Eastbourne which is a clean beach. If you get a chance to swim in the sea before the race it would really help you to get used to the conditions. If not you may be able to do so in a local lake swim. “
He also gave us some expert tips that will improve your training:
- Sea swimming can be choppy and therefore mess up your rhythm – try to breathe when you know the wave is just passing you
- You will be wearing a wetsuit so your legs will be more buoyant and you won’t need to kick so hard
- You may not be able to see all buoys so you will need to get your bearings from other swimmers or by using markers on the land or sea (i.e. the pier)
Gary has also helped us to create a 4-week open sea swimming training plan ideal for anyone taking part in the Big Sea Swim or a similar open water event. With his advice on tackling an open sea swim Heather says she feels fully prepared to meet the challenge of the race and is excited about the day!
Find out more about the Big Sea Swim on MCS’s website here. Turtle Mat is Gold Sponsor of the event and wishes everyone the best of luck on the day! If you would like to support Heather in her challenge, visit her sponsorship page.
Images courtesy of MCS
The English countryside is something we at Turtle Mat love to celebrate and where could be considered more quintessentially “English” than the Cotswolds? In fact, Turtle Towers is perfectly positioned in the centre of the Cotswolds, so it is a region not only close to our hearts, but right on our doorstep.
Summer in the Cotswolds is a season of exploration, celebration and appreciation. Following on from our Outdoor Events Guide for Summer, read on for our top pick of music festivals in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds over the coming months as well as some insider tips for each.
Longborough Festival Opera
Date: various between 24 June – 26July 2014
Where: Longborough, Moreton-in-Marsh
Longborough Festival Opera is set in beautiful country house surroundings with sweeping views of the Cotswolds. It is the perfect place for both seasoned opera-goers and for first-timers to experience their first opera; the highly acclaimed performances and elegant surroundings make for a great summer experience. In 2014, expect performances of Tosca and Barber of Seville. Tosca is known for its high drama while Barber of Seville is a more light-hearted romp.
Insider tip: Arrive early to relax in the lovely surroundings prior to a performance. There is a dining interval where you can bring your own picnic and sit in the grounds or the venue offers a range of catered options. All catered options must be arranged in advance, so call ahead if you are interested.
While the opera itself is indoors, do look at the weather forecast as while they can guarantee a lovely performance, they can’t guarantee lovely weather! Stilettoes and high heeled shoes are best avoided due to the uneven ground of the gardens at Longborough.
Cheltenham Music Festival
Date: 2 – 13 July 2014
Where: Across Cheltenham
The Cheltenham Music Festival serves up an array of classical music performances, from contemporary composers to performances of well-loved pieces. Over sixty events take place during the twelve day festival, with the programme also featuring workshops, film screenings and theatre.
Insider tip: This year marks the 70th year of the Cheltenham Music Festival. To celebrate the festival will feature Town Hall Festival Proms. The Proms will feature some of the world’s hottest classical music stars, including violinist Nicola Benedetti, so be sure to check out these shows if you are at the festival.
Cotswold Beer Festival 2014
Date: 18 to 20 July 2014
Where: near Winchcombe
Though not strictly a music festival, live music is almost as much a part of the event as the beer. Acoustic, brass and jazz music all feature over the course of the weekend festivities alongside Morris dancers, plenty of food, beer, and cider.
Insider tip: Come suitably clad (according to the weather) for outdoor drinking, as it gets crowded inside the Tithe Barn.
And, for someone new to drinking ale: Start at the low strength beers and work your way up to the stronger ones!
Date: 25 July – 3 August
Where: Guiting Power
Guiting Festival is set in the delightful village of Guiting Power, in the village hall, or on the playing field for the outdoor concerts. Having just 140 seats in front and 40 behind the stage, the hall provides a thoroughly intimate atmosphere that is hard to imitate with many summer festivals. Being in its 44th year, the Festival has built up a strong band of loyal supporters, some from as far away as the U.S.A.
The Festival is a registered charity and virtually all the effort required to run it comes from volunteers, with tremendous support for it coming from long-standing sponsors and donors, which allows ticket prices to be kept affordable. Primarily a festival of classical music although there is always one indoor and one outdoor jazz concert and this year an outdoor folk concert has also been added.
Insider tip: If the forecast is good some bring picnics, having a first course before the concert and the rest in the interval. Or if you are quick on the draw there are also very small but reasonably priced post-concert suppers to round off the evening, primarily for musicians and sponsors, laid on at the nearby “Old Vicarage”. You may also want to bring a cushion to supplement those provided for the hard village chairs.
Are you attending any music festivals this summer? Let us know your top picks in the comments below or over on Twitter!
Project Hatchling Innovation Design Competition: Win the Chance to Market Your Product with Turtle Mat
This spring represents a great opportunity for anyone dreaming of seeing their idea become a commercial reality. Turtle Mat is giving one budding inventor, entrepreneur, or designer the chance to have their idea brought to life. Entrants can submit any innovative product idea that they think would be a great match with the Turtle Mat product range.
As an industry-leader, here at Turtle Mat we are looking to extend our consumer offering and share our expertise. As part of the deal, the winner will have the chance to enter into an exclusive arrangement with us and market their product through Turtle Mat, both directly and as part of our nationwide retailer network.
We have also joined forces with D2M Innovation, Coller IP, and Brand Refinery, so the winner will receive full support to develop, protect, market and sell their product, as well as receive widespread PR and media coverage.
The competition opens April 1st 2014 and runs throughout the month of April. After the deadline, twenty candidates will be shortlisted and a final ten will be selected to pitch their ideas to the competition panel, “Dragon’s Den” style.
As our Commercial Director Susan Leaver explains, the competition is an exciting part of our 20th anniversary celebrations: “Turtle Mats are designed and made in the UK and we are passionate about supporting British entrepreneurship. When the Turtle Mat was launched 20 years ago it was seen as an innovation of its day. We want to impart the marketing skills and retail knowledge we have gained over the years combined with the expertise of our project partners, to give the next big idea the platform to succeed.
“We aren’t necessarily looking for a completed concept and would welcome applicants to enter even if their idea was in the early stages of development. That is the benefit of having our project partners on hand, they will be able to support and help develop it into a highly successful consumer product.”
The competition is free to enter and up to three entries can be made per entrant. This is open to those aged 18 & over.
For more information and to submit your entry, visit the Project Hatchling website here: http://www.projecthatchling.co.uk/
…from everyone here at Turtle Towers for supporting our Red Nose Day Sample Sale!
When the final tally was totted-up, we were pleased as punched to have raised £1,603 for Comic Relief and the good causes at home and around the world that they support. Thank you!
Written by Turtle Mat’s Home Shopping Manager, Rebecca Wilson
There’s been a bit of a debate at “Turtle Towers” this week about Britishness. Perhaps it’s the prospect of Jubilee celebrations that have got us mulling this over but the one thing we all agree typifies Britishness is the slightly barmy things we do when the sun comes out (and even when it doesn’t!)
Not only do we have a propensity to fling clothes (and modesty) to the wind when the weather sneaks above 18ºC we also seem to believe ourselves imbued with superhuman powers as soon as the days lengthen (I like to call this May Madness). What other explanation could there be for throwing yourself down a hill after a cheese (unless you were very, very hungry) or seeing shin-kicking as a sport? We are lucky enough that “Turtle Towers” is nestled in the Cotswolds and it seems (whether by accident or design I wouldn’t like to speculate) to be the epicentre of quite a lot of the “crazy” and we love it.
Monday, 4th June 2012 – Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill 2012
Heading out towards Gloucester at Coopers Hill we have the infamous (and now unofficial) cheese rolling on the late spring bank holiday. I have been lucky enough to be there in recent years jostling for position with the German and American TV crews and could only marvel at the recklessness that leads men and women to hurl themselves down a slope with a gradient of 1-in-2 and sometimes 1-in-1 into the waiting arms of the local rugby team.
Monday, 4th June 2012 – Tetbury Wool Sack Races
Even closer to us are the Tetbury Wool Sack Races also held on the bank holiday weekend at the end of May; where teams and individuals carry 60lb wool sacks up a 1-in-4 gradient hill . This is Tetbury’s idea of a fun race! The tradition arises from rivalry between two local pubs – The Crown and The Royal Oak.
Friday, 1st June 2012 – Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks
Finally, an event I attended for the first time a few years ago, Robert Dover’s Cotswold Olimpicks, where the self-explanatory shin-kicking competition takes place. Celebrating 400 years of the Cotswold Olimpicks in 2012 with extended celebrations, villagers and tourists alike venture to a field just outside the centre of Chipping Campden to see all sorts of events, most notably competitors kicking each other’s shins (ouch!) The culmination of this fabulous evening is a firework display and a torchlight walk back into the heart of Chipping Campden where a band entertains the assembled crowd.
We believe the greatest thing about these events (aside from the camaraderie of wincing at someone else risking their limbs) is their support of rural traditions, practices and businesses; whether this be Smarts Farm of Churcham, Gloucestershire – the makers of the much chased Double Gloucester or the Tetbury and Chipping Campden pubs which benefit from increased trade.
Makes me proud that I as well as Turtle Mats are “Made in Britain”.
Written by Turtle Mat’s Home Shopping Manager, Rebecca Wilson