Chris’s English Channel Swim: Having a Positive Mindset to Overcome Challenges

on June 29 | in Alumni | by Chris Astill-Smith | with No Comments

I can’t believe how fast time has flown by! It feels like yesterday this was all just an idea, but now, the day I’ll swim the English Channel is six weeks away and feels very real indeed. The training is steadily increasing and I’m now spending every weekend at the coast, usually Dover, putting in at least one long four to six-hour swim, combined with two hours each day during the week in the pool.

Here’s a video of my story so far, which was made for Virgin Money:

Keeping My Head Above Water

I knew that the training would be a difficult part of this journey, but actually, what I’ve found most challenging is dealing with numerous injuries and staying positive during these difficult times. I’ve had it all: my right shoulder, my left shoulder, ear infections and now, with the increase in training, I’m enduring elbow pains in both sides. It’s so difficult to judge whether or not to train during these periods. In my head I want to rack up those kilometers, but I don’t want to make the injuries worse. All I can do is listen to others, those that have been through it before, like my coach, and trust their advice. The one take-home bit of advice I’ve received is to stay as positive as possible and know that I WILL complete the channel. Stressing over these things only makes it worse.

Les Roches alumnus Chris Astill English Channel Challenge

In the words of my coach, Tim:

The channel is the easy part, the hard part is everything that goes into making it happen

One Stroke at a Time

Holding onto this positive mindset is not only important during all the training but during the swim itself. I’ve had times during the long six-hour swims where all I want to do is get out and quit and my thoughts are filled with negativity: its cold, I feel alone, my body is in so much pain.

Les Roches alumnus Chris Astill English Channel Challenge

During times like these all I need is the smallest bit of positivity and motivation to keep moving, one stroke at a time. I find this mindset is relatable to a lot of things in life, especially work. Sometimes, when you have a bad day and you feel like the world is against you, you stop to remember at least one thing that keeps you going and crack on with it!

Want to Support My Charity Swim?

I’ve now set up a Facebook page with more regular updates on the final six weeks. Here’s you’ll also be able to live stream the swim: Chris Astill Facebook page

If you’d like to donate to support kids’ charity Dreams Come True, here’s the link: UK Virgin Money Giving

Thanks everyone!

– Chris

Read more about Chris and his charity Channel swim:

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