Goodbye MA, hello lido

With her studies behind her and two months until Vachery, Bronwen ventures to the London Fields lido


Back on home soil and with the majority of my MA work now behind me, I’m gradually running out of excuses not to train. And with the Vachery Triathlon now only just over two months away, this is probably for the best.


So I’m cycling whenever I can around town, grateful to be back on my own bike after chugging around on that heavy single speed in Brooklyn. I definitely need to start making time for some longer training rides though, or my legs won’t know what’s hit them come July. I like the idea of doing London to Brighton sometime soon, mostly so I have an excuse to treat myself to fish and chips on arrival… I do love a lardy reward.  

I’m also running slightly more regularly. Running has been my main form of exercise for the last few years, so motivating myself to go out is less of a chore than with the other two disciplines (not least as it involves much less kit-related faff). But the most important thing to report since my last blog is that I’ve finally made it back into the pool.

In the run up to the sprint triathlon last summer, I did most of my swimming at Brockwell and Tooting lidos in south London. The water in both can be pretty nippy outside of summer, meaning that a wetsuit is almost always a necessity… at least for me. But despite the chill I much prefer outdoor pools to indoor ones, and with Brockwell lido measuring 50m and Tooting 90m, they’re both great for long, uninterrupted swims.

But since I’ve moved to North London both are now a little too far away to be convenient for regular training. So I figured it was time to check out my new ‘local’: London Fields lido. It’s a 50m pool so not as big as Tooting but – joy of joys – it’s HEATED. Luxurious! We’re not talking hot tub temperature, but it’s just warm enough to mean that even when it’s a miserably cold day (as it was when I went) you’re still perfectly fine in just your cozzie.

Having not swum for a good few months, I was a little concerned that I’d tire quickly, but apart from getting cramp in my foot on about my fourth length, I soon settled into a steady rhythm. I tried to remember the technique tips I had been given last year in the run up to the sprint triathlon: look at the bottom of the pool rather than forward so your body and legs are positioned higher in the water; rock your body from side-to-side with each stroke and breathe on every third. I focused on those things and before I knew it I’d done 30 lengths (roughly the same distance as the swim at Vachery). I was pretty happy with that as a first outing.

With slight jelly legs I got out, dried off and cycled the short distance home. Once I start stringing together some swim/bike/run sessions I might head back to Brockwell or Tooting lido – that way I’ll get a little extra cycling distance in at the same time. But for now I’m happy to have found somewhere to swim that’s close to home… and warm.


The Vachery Triathlon takes place on 21 July in Surrey, with more info at You can follow Bronwen’s progress here and on twitter at @bronwen_morgan