Are BLDSA Windermere and Loch Lomond good races to prepare for the English Channel?
I'm looking at the longest races in 2021 by BLDSA. Those are Windermere (17 km) and Loch Lomond (35 km), scheduled 1 week apart (!!!!!) with Loch Lomond coming first. These races do not cost a lot and there are good reviews so I'm taking them into consideration to formulate a plan for 2021.
I have a few questions:
1. Are these races good preparation for me for a channel attempt in the same year? I have asked people before that, a Windermere one-way is a good preparation, however for a two-way it is even harder than swimming the channel. Can anyone here who have swum the Windermere before his/her channel attempt in the same year share his/her experience? I'm still doubting that a lake swim can be hard because, in my opinion, there are no tides, currents and swells in lakes so it should be easier to a sea swim with the same distance, so I am thinking a Windermere two-way / Loch Lomond can be done in order to build up my confidence before I swim the channel. Am I right? Also, how cold are the lakes in late August / early September?
2. These races are only 1 week apart. Is it a good idea to attempt both (i.e. the 35 km Loch Lomond then the 17 km Windermere)? Obviously if doing both the former 35 km will be my A race which will push my "zone" of long distance swimming. How long do I need to recover after doing a 35 km race?
3. My channel attempt is scheduled in mid-September. Are doing these races a good final preparation before my attempt, or will they be too close to my channel attempt without enough time to recover?
4. The key difference between channel swimming and these two race are that, channel swimming is not a race. So what's the main difference between training for a channel swim and training for a swim race of similar length (e.g. Loch Lomond))?