Nanaimo Ocean Swim - http://www.viendurance.net/nanaimo-ocean-swim/
Niek, I'm sure it can do for some, but as the original poster is already regularly swimming in 10C, for an impressive time too, that should be more than enough acclimatisation to counteract any cold(ish) shock you might get when entering 12-13C water.
I fully take your pooint about the forum being a place to share ideas and to say what works and doesn't for each of us as individuals.
I dont make a big song and dance about those whom I have helped in their Channel preparations other than to make an observation that many newbies come to Dover with their heads full of ideas about what they have to do - kit, diet, weekly meterage and other stuff - having read and "researched" a load of stuff thats out on the web. Having once been a newbie I know how desperate people are for the next bit if good info.
I have tried to preface my posts, or put them in context of just one person's view on what has worked for them (ie me). As I keep saying, its a free world, but when posts come across as implying "you should" or "the only way to xyz is.." then we must, as old hands, be careful on how we present it to the newbies. If any of my posts suggest the "only way is the Jim way" then that's just plain bad posting by yours truly.
An awfully big quiet unspoken majority make their marathon swims with quite simple tried and tested (BY THEM) approaches, and I'd always like to be able to point a newbie at that weight of opinion too.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
Make yourself cold, for as long as you can handle. That's the secret. Oh, and train like a beast. If you aren't training enough for the swim you want, then don't do it, as you don't deserve it. Give it the respect it requires - everything you got. "
wouldn't a cold bath make a lot more sense than a cold shower?
So over the winter I have done a cold shower experiment. I would start with a warm shower and slowly drop the temp in over the course of the shower until it was on full cold. After doing this for 5 months now I am able to start my showers a lot colder and stay at full cold for longer. P.S. Never shave in a cold shower.
I have over this same time been ramping up my pool milage and even hit the hot tub once a week or so. I have also lost 7kg over the winter too.
So how does this relate. The lake I swim in is currently at 9C and I am able to swim in it for at least twice as long as this time last year (longer when the sun is out); despite having less body fat. So my personal conclusion is that the cold showers work.
The biggest downside is my wife won't shower with me anymore.
@SalishSea, what lake are you swimming in? It's been pretty mild on the island this winter. Thetis is 12c right now. I haven't checked the straight lately. I imagine it is around 10c.
I always do what I can to get ready for cold water. I have been jacket less for the past month, don't wear socks and sleep with my window open. I love cold showers. I think the help with cold water training, but even better is they at a fantastic way to recover after a long swim. Glad to hear they helped you.
Let me know when you're headed down island. Would love to meet up for a swim.
Surfing in cold water with a thinner wetsuit def helps with getting used to cold exposure - you usually end up spending more time in the water 1.5 - 3h
if It's 7-9C and I don't wear gloves I will loose the function of some of my fingers in one hand due to sitting around waiting for set waves.
Here's some norwegians that must have got adpated fairly quickly
If, as some people seem to say, cold water adaptation is mostly psychological then surely the "what ever works for you" is more applicable here then with other swimming related topics. i.e. if you believe cold water showers make you better prepared then by definition they probably do.
On a personal note I would like to state that I will never willingly have a cold shower and as my wife and daughters can testify I am not pleasant to be around when they have used up all my hot water. ;-)
@msathlete I am down in Victoria every couple of months we will try to set something up. Are there many other OWS down there? As for which lakes. Brannen Lake until the power boats come back and Westwood Lake here in Nanaimo.