Preparing for your ice mile


With a full schedule of potential Ice Milers already booked in this winter we have chosen to make our second weekly winter swimming post about the preparation required to get ready for an ice mile attempt.


We hope you’ll enjoy the read and if you’re booked in with us we have fun during your training and stay safe, the team are looking forward to seeing you.



Ice Mile Attempt Information – Start preparing now

Swimmer’s to do list:

    • Get your GP to complete a medical form (which includes getting an ECG done, these are now valid for 6 months)
    • Return your completed medical form to your ice mile centre at least one week prior to your Ice Mile attempt, you can also upload the forms onto your IISA page.
    • Once you’ve successfully completed your attempt fill out the IISA online registration, you will need to pay your IISA registration fee.
    • Arrange for at least one Supporter who will be tasked with helping you pre- and post- swim, and in monitoring your recovery, ideally this shouldn’t be a family member but a training buddy who has seen you cold.



Swimmers Kit:

PRE-SWIM you need to remain warm prior to, and right up to the start of your swim.  We suggest that you come warm to stay warm.  Here are the minimum items that you will need:

    • Warm and water-proof clothes
    • Sturdy shoes/boots or wellies
    • Coat/ Swimzi / Dry Robe

SWIMIISA rules state that you can only use the following items.  (NB.  Jammers or shorts must not pass below the knee)

    • One swim cap
    • One swim costume or pair of shorts
    • One pair of goggles
    • ALSO ALLOWED – nose clips, ear plugs and tow-float – although none of these are compulsory

POST-SWIMyou need to be prepared to get dry and warm in a controlled manor, slow and steady is safe.  You should, by now, know exactly how YOU best recover from a low temperature swim.  The following is a list of items that we have found useful in aiding good recoveries:

    • Swimzi, Dry robe or Towels
    • Warm hat(s) – don’t be afraid to use multiple
    • Warm clothes – lots of layers are better than one thick layer
    • Gloves
    • Warm footwear – some prefer slippers or Ugg boots rather than trainers
    • Hot drinks – warm drinks must be available at the centre- but if there is something that YOU like YOU need to bring it… (NO alcohol)
    • Chocolate – useful to get your metabolism active again, which aids the recovery process
    • Hand warmers
    • Sleeping bag
    • Blanket (at least one)
    • A complete outfit change for once you have recovered


    • After exiting the water your Supporter will place your Swimzi or Dryrobe (or other warm/dry wind-proof jacket) around you.  Do NOT remove your swim cap until inside.  Once the swim cap is removed replace it with a woolly hat.
    • You should be escorted inside by your Supporter(s) and kept out of the wind and elements.
    • Once inside the changing rooms your Supporter(s) will strip you of all wet gear, and gently pat you dry with a towel or use the Swimzi / Dryrobe.  Scissors should be available to cut off your swimming costume in extreme cases.
    • Your Supporter(s) should dress you with loose fitting jogging bottoms, loose fitting t-shirts and a warm jumper, and then replace the Swimzi / Dryrobe around you. (Use a DRY Swimzi / Dryrobe where possible).  We suggest that putting on underwear is not crucial at this time – it’s far more important to be warm than ‘decent’!
    • Your Supporter(s) should then place a pair (or two) of socks on your feet, and put your footwear on.
    • Once dressed you should be given small amounts of warm drinks – this is not negotiable!
    • Your Supporter(s) should occasionally give you chocolate (or something) to help your metabolism kick-in.  This is not negotiable!
    • Throughout the recovery process your Supporter(s) should be engaging you in CONVERSATION…  You should try to answer all their questions – however silly or simple they seem to be!  Your answers help will help them to gauge your recovery
    • To aid your recovery further you could be asked to get into a sleeping bag, this should be in your kit.
    • Once you have regained some of your core warmth and awareness, your Supporter(s) need to encourage you to walk around with their support.  This, again, is not negotiable!
    • After your Ice Mile attempt we STRONGLY suggest that you do not drive…  You will be very tired and your aptitude and focus will be slow for a couple/few days after the event.
    • Once your body temperature has settled, which may take from 30 to 90 minutes after your swim, you may still be open to AFTER DROP – a sudden drop in your body’s temperature arising from the cold blood in your extremities beginning to re-enter your core organs, this is normal.
    • You should during your recovery AVOID using artificial methods of warming up such as hot showers, cranking up your car’s heating (or your central heating) – the recovery process needs to be done progressively and naturally.  Lots of layers, hot drinks and food, rather than sitting on a radiator…