Active Blu - Open Water Venue.

Active Blu - Open Water Venue.

Friday, 11 December 2015

12 hours in the water - Swimming up stream....

12 hours in the water - Swimming up stream....

What a team of swimmers have decided to do to support a community. 

Keswick 2015

As many of you know the North of the country has been badly effected by the floods. As Active Blu is based in Cumbria and Lancashire with many of the squads families, friends and businesses have been effected by the horrendous floods. 

The Coaches, Squad and 315 Health Club staff and members are joining together for a 12 hour swim at their venue in Lancaster. 

The plan to have 4 lanes and 4 groups swimming non stop for 12 hours......This is to raise funds to support those effected by the floods and bring people together to support the community. 

On 19th dec 2015 at 8am we start this challenge - We have 4 teams of people coming together and swimming for 12 hours. 

Lane 1 - Active Blu coaches - Emma, Tom and Paddy will take it in turns to swim from 8am - 8pm - Ouch. 

Lane 2 - The Active Blu Swim Squad have a team that will try and swim further then the coaches.

Lane 3 - 315 Health Club Staff - Ceri, KJ and Glen - Who have been badly effected my the floods will take it in turns to see how far they can swim over the 12 hours.

Lane 4 - 315 Health Club Members and Staff will get together to take on this challenge to try and beat the staff teams distance.

This is BOUND to get exciting....!!!

This will not be an easy day - However will support those that have been affected by the floods and will raise funds to help in a small way.

Please support us in any way and if you would like to join the Active Blu Swim Team for the 19th Dec at 8am - email me now -

Or if you fancy doing a similar event with you club I would love to hear about it. 

Keep Happy and Safe

Thank you for your support

Emma Brunning

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Lots of news....

Whats been happening!!

Time goes by so quickly.... its important we stop now and again to appreciate, celebrate just how much we have achieved this year, its also a good time to thank all those around us that have supported our challenges and aspirations.

Abingdon - 3 day course 2015

I realised that looking back, the last time I posted was in May. Well it has been a busy 7 months, however I think as someone that likes to support and educate people I will write and share much more - at least on a monthly basis. For now lets have a quick catch up as some exciting things have been happening.
Active Blu Venue 2015

Open Water Stuff....
The 2015 Open water swimming season was a great success - Not only seeing record numbers take to the water in Active Blu sessions on Windermere, but the Great North Swim saw over 10,000 swimmers take the plunge into the Lake and events all across country saw a massive increase in popularity. A massive thank you as always to the Active Blu safety team - They are legends, supporting the swimmers so much in the water. A team that gives more then they need. Thank you.

Exciting news for coaches - British Triathlon and Swim Smooth designed the New Open Water CPD  which we are just finishing in the next few months - This will support newly qualified and existing level 2 and 3 coaches to gain valuable experience and answer any questions you may have about coaching in the OW. This will go live in summer 2016.  Watch this space.

Chicago Worlds - 2015

USA Trip....
Chicago - I was lucky enough to head out to Chicago in Sept for a month to spent time at the ITU worlds supporting the USA para dare 2 tri team. It was an amazing trip and I was inspired daily by the individuals that competed. Some using a race chair for the first time to those that have qualified for Rio and are training hard to see what can happen in 7 months time. I got to work with some amazing athletes and they certainly taught me many things about my coaching and the power of a supportive team, they are a great charity / organisation - Worth having a look at what they do. I am still wondering how I use what I have learnt back here in the UK, but I am certain I would like to do more in this area.
Para - Elite race on its way

This is a must - Take 5 mins to watch who I was working with. - Dare 2 Tri. 

Lizzie and Joe ready for swim. 

Level 3....
Exciting personal news - I started my level 3 in January 2015 and last week I heard I had finished all my work and passed it - So I am delighted to announce I am now a level 3 British Triathlon coach. I would like to thank all the tutors and specialists that made the course so worth while.
Coach Ed days - Lancaster

Active Blu....
The coaching team at Active Blu just keeps getting bigger. We Now have Paddy and Sarah that do an amazing job of coaching the squads when I am away from base. We have Tom that also helps with the squads but has started doing Video Analysis too - If interested to book in with Tom check this  out. Toms Video Analysis  I must thank these 3 amazing coaches as with out them I would be able to keep developing and learning and leaving the squads in such great hands - Thank you.

Coaching in Lancaster

Swim Smooth Coach Education Manager. I have had this position now for just under a year and this allows me to train, support and mentor coaches across the world as they train to be certified coaches. I have meet some world class coaches in Perth this year - who are soon to be announced as new Swim Smooth coaches and I fly back out to Perth in Jan to run the certification programme for 12 more international coaches.

Swim Smooth Coaches. 

The first ever Swim Smooth CPD - In Nov all the certified coaches across Europe came together in London for a day to develop and share practise. It was a great day not only to meet everyone again, but as Paul had come over from Aus and Adam was also there we looked at new methods of coaching, business development and shared lots of stories and findings from the pool deck and open water. Thanks to all the coaches for attending.
Abingdon Coaches - 3 day course

2 x 3 Day Swim Smooth Coach Education Courses. This year we ran 2 coach ed courses one in Oxford at Abingdon and the other in the North at 315 Health Club, Lancaster. They both saw 100s of coaches apply and 20 coaches selected for each of the courses. They were both very successful and the caliber of coaching was a pleasure to see. It certainly was a fun few weeks.
Lancaster Coaches - 3 day course

Active Blu Squads - Well what can I say and I may be biased - But they are amazing, not just because they continue to make improvements with their swim times and efficiency, but because of how supportive they are to one another. It is truly an wonderful group of people, I feel so privileged to be part of it.  Geeky CSS facts - We have seem some of the biggest losers dropping 17 sec per 100m for 1500m over a 10 week period... WOW !! But then having done this over the following 10 weeks they dropped a further 12 sec per 100m ....what a year and thats just one example - Well done team and I look forward to celebrating your success at xmas. :) Remember to book your place fro 2016 squads - New swimmers / Triathletes welcome.
Showing the squad - What their pacing is like - Whats holding them back. 

Going forward...Come get involved or if you are stuck for a pressies for a loved one this are a few ideas:

In the new year we have NEW Squads, Clinics and Video Analysis Date LIVE NOW:
2016 Swim Day clinics
Thursday 6.15am
Sunday 5.15pm
Sunday 6.30pm
Video Analysis with Emma
Video Analysis with Tom

What ever you have been up to this year - Make sure you celebrate your achievements and if you have dreams and goals for next year make sure you make them happen. I would love to hear what you have planned. Exciting times.

For now take good care and Just keep Swimming

Best Wishes


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A moment in time...Are we as good as we can be?

A moment in time....Are we as good as we can be?

I have just finished working with the International Coaches in Perth, Australia. Where I have been coaching, tutoring and mentoring them over the two week period.

New Coaches stepping out the comfort Zone on pool deck. 

It is now a few days after they have all left, which has allowed a bit of time for reflection not only upon the 2 weeks supporting the Coach Ed programme but also on my own professional development.

Sue Oldham - Always inspiring - always setting her next challenge.

It got me thinking 'am I as good as I can be'? I imagined if I were, what would that feel like, look like and what would I see. Could this be even possible!!

Shelley Taylor Smith - Talking to the coaches about being realistic and whats really important in life. 

Then my thoughts turn to my athletes and the conversations I have with them about their achievements and occassional disappointments. Do I as a coach support them as well as I can?

Great North Swim - 10,000 swimmers take to the water - To race or give it a go. 

When I say support others - It means just that, I think one of the first steps to being as good as you can be, is for individuals to take ownership of their learning, coaching or training. Do not get me wrong this does not mean they need to know everything, nor does it mean doing everything themselves....But there is a significant difference between the people I work with that take that responsibility for their own goals and desires and the ones that may not have got there yet.

Active Blu training day - Trying something new - Why not

Working with the coaches over the previous weeks, watching them and talking to them about their personal goals for their businesses, home life and overall work/ life balance has been inspiring. It made me realise that all these coaches have done the above and taken responsibility to getting where they want, but also have been realistic about it. 

Watching athletes training hard. 

What I mean by realistic is that they have a goal or challenge, but they have taken into consideration all the factors in their life. Thinking about the time they have free, their family commitments and other elements they needed to consider.

OW skills and a lot of fun

Often I talk to people and they feel they are slightly under performing - But when it comes down to it, they are also managing a family, work, education and much much more. Obviously this differs dramatically from one person to another and although you can admire and learn from others around you, something to consider when trying tot achieve the same goal is the unique differences that make us so special.

OW training Night - Active Blu

People are so inspiring and we should celebrated our achievements more - To manage everything in life is hard, but to achieve goals no matter what they are, when we have so many other things going on around us is truly what makes the world we live in so magical.

My only option to protect myself from the stingers - To funny. 

So going back to the question: Are we as good as we can be? The answer may actually be Yes - In this moment in time I am as good as I can be!! If this is the case thats an amazing place to be.

Doing things beyond comfortable 
I think as a society we give ourselves a hard time, pushing ourselves to achieve and when we do, potentially thinking it was not good enough.

So lets still set goals, challenges and aspirations, but break these down in a way that suits your life,  and celebrate each and every step as you go.

Taking that step. 
I hope this offers you the freedom to do things your way. By this I mean what ever suits your lifestyle, meets your needs and creates the moments you will hold on for for ever. 

Coaching across the world - Sands Beach Resort. 

Be honest to yourself and genuine when reflecting upon your needs and what you want in life -  it will give and allow you a more realistic picture of what is ultimately achievable. 

Pip and Emma - Showing everyone how its done. 

Celebrate lots - ENJOY and I look forward to seeing you all in the water soon.

Windermere 2015
Dream Big


Friday, 1 May 2015

Summer Training - The right mix....

Summer Training - The right mix !!

I have been out in Perth now for two weeks supporting the New International Swim Smooth coaches with the certification programme. It has been an amazing opportunity not only to meet another great bunch of coaches and swimmers, but to also try and capture the culture of training out here in Perth.

Getting the right Mix - RED MIST - This morning Friday 1st May 2015

I have been talking to many of the swimmers, coaches and visiting athletes - asking them about the importance of the "Right Mix" when training.

Open Water Training at Claremont

Across the board it seems thats that they all highlight the need to break the training up. Keep it Simple and make it manageable.

Open Water Training in the pool 
At Swim Smooth we often talk about the Three Keys to training:
Coaching CSS

1. Fitness - CSS / Endurance.
2. Open Water Skills and Practice.
3. Technique.

Often in the UK when the weather gets warm enough to hit the Open Water people tend to neglect the pool sessions. Although we want to make the most of the good weather, try NOT to neglect the pool as it is here that you can monitor and manage your training well, making those slight weekly improvements in your performance. 

The pool environment allows you to swim with a focus and at a pace / speed designed to challenge yourself within the sessions aim. 

However try to get involved in an Open Water training group as this will allow you to develop all those skills you need when racing in similar conditions - the chop, swimming close to others, sighting, drafting and the list goes on. Seeing a boost in confidence and performance when racing or taking part in OW events. 

International Coaches. 

If you get the RIGHT MIX over the summer you will still make those time improvements you are looking for in your times.

The Right Mix:
1 - Open Water Sessions / skills
2 - CSS / Endurance
3 - Technique

Keep it Simple.
Enjoy what you do.

I head back from Perth in 2 weeks to start the Open Water season on the 21st May, if you are looking for support, skill development, OW squads or just a social group to swim with - feel free to email me at 

I look forward to seeing you all very soon - Enjoy :)

Windermere - Start of season. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The birds are singing, the evenings long....

So its nearly time,

The weather is warming up, the birds are singing louder then you have ever remembered them doing so and the nights seem like they go on forever - This can only mean that spring is here.....

Active Blu Venue - Windermere

Time to think about getting the wetsuit out, looking around for events and joining a training group. 
However more importantly do not put off your desires and goals for another year. Take the plunge, sign up for the challenge and smile, because you are that one step closer.

Great North Swim Training Day.

If you are a seasoned athlete or a total beginner in the open water the start of the season can be tricky, Working out the right time to go, knowing what the water temp is and where you will be safe to swim are just a few of the questions you may have. 

Active Blu Venue - Windermere.

I would suggest talk to your local Triathlon club or local open water venue and they will take the pressure off for you, by doing the hard work. 

Safety boats, Kayaks and Coaches. 

Most open water swim venues will be starting structured swim sessions within the next month, dependant on water temp and water conditions. I would suggest if it is your first time, be safe and go to an organised session where they have coaches, advice but most importantly a safety team.

Coaching from paddle board

Open water venues should be checking the water quality to make sure it is safe to swim, providing full safety cover - which basically means if you need any assistance whilst out on the water they will have an Emergency Action Plan which they will put into place, as well as a session by session risk assesment - This is the very minimum you should expect. You can always ask to see the paper work if unsure. 

fab safety Team 
At the moment the water in the Lakes is still a bit on the chilly side and will still be a good few weeks until the water has warmed up some. Even if its a warm day remember the water takes a lot longer to warm up. On Windermere we are starting on the 21st May as it is normally to cold before this date for the average swimmer at the start of the season to train effectively. 

Everyone is signed in and out the water. 
However you can start preparing....

A few top tips:

  • Make sure you have a wetsuit that fits you well - Too big and you will get cold quickly - Too tight and you will feel very restricted. 
  • Swim within an organised group, especially if it is your first time. 
  • ALWAYS make sure you have a safety craft with you. Even you stronger swimmers. 
  • Remember you share the waters with others, make sure you can be seen and swim smart.
  • Check water quality and if where you are swimming is safe
  • If in Doubt - Stay Out. 
  • Look after each other and most importantly....

Remember to have fun :)

Active Blu Training. 

Have a great season and stay safe.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

3 years on....

3 years and going strong......

I have always enjoyed coaching Triathlon and Open water swimming, however 3 years ago I decided to start my own business and Active Blu was born - It feels like no time at all from when I first stood on the edge of Windermere wondering if an open water coaching business could possibly be sustainable.

Active Blu Open Water Venue

 However my love for the sport and passion for giving it a go won over any doubts and before I knew it Active Blu had its very first open water and video analysis sessions. From that very first moment I always new I was starting something I would enjoy for a long time. Do not get me wrong it was not always easy and along the way I have learnt many lessons. My biggest learning over the 3 years is to listen to your head and heart and if they are both saying go for it.....Make or Take the opportunities offered - no matter how scary it may seem. 

Active Blu - Wild Training room

First Open Water Session

The first year was amazing, with people supporting me from the very first session of the season to the very last. What I leant very quickly was to surround myself with lovely, positive people and with people like that around you how could you not succeed. I have to say with out the support of my friends and team - None of this would have been possible. 

3 Years ago - Kendal 
Before I knew it I was heading out to Perth to train with Swim Smooth - let the fun and learning began!! 6 months of coaching, training and racing...
Early morning Squad sessions

The experiences I received whilst out on the pool deck every day for 6 months was amazing, working with everyone from the elite to age group athletes all wanting to improve. 

Coaching squads, 121 and open water, opened  my eyes to what was possible to achieve. 

and so the story continues....

Squad Coaching

Active Blu also
developed some Coach education workshops.
Club workshops, open water and Faults and
corrections - Proving popular with coaches. 
Once back in the UK Active Blu continued to develop the swim squads, 121 sessions and into another open water season. My desire to continue to work within coach education led me to training as a Triathlon England Tutor and Mentor which I throughly loved and look forward to many years of supporting more coaches and clubs around the country.


In October - I was again invited out to Perth, this time to support the Swim Smooth coach education programme, we had a new set of coaches from across the world coming out to train in the beautiful waters and climate that Australia has to offer. 
Video analysis

I spent many months meeting enthusiastic coaches and athletes from all across the world - Much learning took place about cultural differences in coach education and development. As well as creating life long friendships and experiences.

Rotto Solo
Pool Deck mornings. 

 I headed back to the UK in Dec and again had another fantastic year. Supporting athletes and coaches and generally loving what I do. The Open Water season had so many sunny days and so many great memories...It was hard not to have a permanent smile on my face.

Active Blu Venue - Windermere
Last swimmers of the Season - Finishing their laps

Now into 2015 I am preparing for the 4th open water season - We have many exciting training events planned for the season. However before this starts I have taken a part time position as Coach Ed manager for Swim Smooth and have a quick trip over seas to make to support the International coaches.
Squads at 315

I know this is an overview of the many things I have done, but wanted to write something to capture the journey and encourage every single one of you out there to take the chance and give something a go this year.
It may be a dream or a goal you have always wanted to try, I suggest take that first step, tell someone you want to give it a go and then seek support you need to achieve it - Take those small steps and you will get there.

This is a great opportunity to thank all the many people that have always been there for me, showed support, believed in me and saw my passion for what I wanted to achieve. 

To my friends and family, the safety crew and coaches, my colleagues, tutors and mentors and of course all the athletes I am lucky enough to meet and train along the way. 
Let the fun continue....