Week-to-week, my training schedule can get pretty hectic. So on the odd occasion I do get some downtime I like to make the most of it! When I get into ‘taper phase’, which is the days just before a competition, the volume of work starts to reduce and I find myself with a little more time than normal.
Being a creature of habit I like routine and filling my spare time with something that’s productive and entertaining – there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve frittered your free time away! During the taper phase, I find I have a lot of spare energy as well but I have to resist the urge to fill the extra time with activities that could tire me out when I’m in recovery mode to reach optimal level ahead of an event.
The other extreme though, is that I don’t want to be a total slob and just sit in the front of the TV – I tried that once and felt worse for it! It’s not just taper time though – sometimes when I travel I need something to do to kill time. I’ve got a few things I enjoy doing to keep me occupied and happy.
- Reading: I’ve recently joined the Kindle club. I used to buy a few books at the airport on my travels. There’s nothing better than getting lost in a story. I was on the fence about a Kindle, because I’ve always preferred reading from paper than a screen, but I’ve been converted! A Kindle is much better than carrying the weight of several books in a bag, and it’s easy to pick something new to read on Wi-Fi. I read non-fiction, comedies and crime thrillers – the Kindle has really helped me broaden my tastes!
- Colouring: Yes, colouring! I never really thought this would be something I’d enjoy. Fellow Scottish swimmer Kirsty Balfour introduced me to it when I was 16. She bought a kids colouring book and let me join in – I found it quite therapeutic. Now I always get one at Christmas and on my birthday.
- Doodling: This came about from colouring in. I love bright, bold colours and I’m not too bad at drawing, especially cartoons. At the moment I love drawing the Minions, as you can see. Maybe someday I’ll draw my own alter-ego, Watergirl!
- Movies: I like to think I’m a bit of a film buff. One of our favourite family pastimes is to squeeze onto the sofa on a Friday night and watch a movie. I do like to go to the cinema when there’s something good on, too.
- Online shopping: Who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy?! Online shopping is great but the downside for me is that being a swimmer makes my body shape quite unique – so it can be risky to order something online. Something that looks nice on a model online can hang off in all the wrong places! I love buying thoughtful presents for friends & family online too.
Thanks for reading!