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MINDFUL PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Terry Laughlin says we should change the way with think about what we do in the pool

How do you describe your pool activity? Do you do a workout, or a practice? From my teens to early 40s, I did workouts, but for the past 25 years I’ve exclusively referred to swim training as practice, and encouraged others to think the same way.

This choice reflects the central intention I bring to my training, and is more closely related to the practice of meditation than, say, practising a tennis serve. At the same time, my practice is always focused on actions which will improve my performance in an open water event, whether it’s 1.5km race or a marathon.

George Leonard, author of the book Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment defines practice as: “a set of complementary activities, done with consistency, to create enduring positive change in body, mind, and spirit.” Over the next few issues of H2Open, I’ll be making the case for swimming as a practice, and offer suggestions for making that transition from seeing what you do in the pool primarily as a workout.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

We know that most of our readers are fully converted to the joys of swimming outdoors and only venture into indoor, chlorine-filled pools when necessity (or a training schedule) dictates. But it seems that some people haven’t yet discovered our world. They don’t know the thrill of cool water against their skin, the joy of looking up and not seeing a roof but sky and trees. They don’t know how to gauge the temperature of natural water (nice, cool, flippin’ freezing!) or the special properties of river, lake and sea water. When they swim they don’t hear bird song, they hear the aqua aerobics class from the lane next to them. If you know one of these people, please help them by showing them a copy of this magazine. We have lots of inspirational stories and features to help them break out of that chlorine-filled box. What better way to dip into swimming outdoors than wild swimming in our beautiful national parks? Our feature on the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales will guide you to the best swim spots in both parks. Or if you prefer your waters a little warmer, why not head to the Costa Brava, where I explored the coast from the safety of new boat-free areas. We have also been hearing from readers about their epic swims: English Channel, North Channel, round Bermuda and the length of Britain’s longest river. We love reading your inspiring stories, even if your challenges sometimes scare us a little bit... Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming.
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