Sure, swimming seems easy enough. Put one arm in front of the other and make rotating movements, don’t forget to breathe, and most importantly, don’t forget a towel to dry yourself with after.

Have you ever thought about pushing yourself one step further though? 

We spoke to the team at who offered their tips on how to get ready for an Ice Mile!

What is The Ice Mile?

The Ice Mile is a gruelling one-mile swim. You’ll need to grit your teeth and plunge into 5°c water, armed with a standard swimming costume, goggles and a cap if you need one.

Sounds good? Well, it is – but before you leap into the nearest iced-over-pond, you’ll want to check out the International Ice Swimming Association. They’ve been working since 2009 to formalise the rules and regulations surrounding the Ice Mile. So, if you want to get this under your belt, you’ll have to go through them and do some proper training. Its serious business, subjecting your body to those extreme conditions and it is dangerous too as cold shock can be deadly.

Where can you do The Ice Mile?

With a water temperature of 0°c, the open water course offers either a 500m freestyle swim or a 1000m freestyle swim and events can be found all over the world, included the UK.

Who can do an Ice Mile?

Anyone can do an Ice Mile… in theory. It’d hardly be a cool thing to do if everyone could blast through it!

According to the International Ice Swimming Association, swimmers must have undertaken a medical examination using an IISA Medical Assessment Form, including an ECG, within six months prior to the swim.

Effectively, you’ve got to be fit as a fiddle, tough as a tack and a little bit crazy.

Start small.

It will take you a while to get used to cold waters.  Try to start swimming in an unheated pool and gradually start to work your way down in temperature. You will find swimming in colder conditions easier after a while and then you can begin to introduce having ice baths for recovery.

A plus side to all of this cold water exposure is that you burn off more fat as a result. Try some cold showers too – you can learn to adjust your body to cold water shock (to a point).

Who has completed an Ice Mile?

296 athletes have completed it to date. They come from across the world, a collection of temperature-resistant swimming elites. So, there are still a few spots before the first 300 are called.

A mile is too much – where can I start?

In terms of competition, there is also a 1km race, cutting over a third of the total distance off, so perhaps as an intermediate step this is the right choice. You’ll be part of the COLD team (ICE reserved for mile-swimmers) and get a certificate to boot.

Understandably this is all pretty late-stage, but swimming in cold waters generally can give you some great advantages health-wise:

1.      More energy

2.      Improved memory recall

3.      Reduced pain if you suffer from fibromyalgia, rheumatism and asthma

4.      Improved immune responses

5.      Burns bonus calories

6.      Improved blood circulation

7.      Potentially a little libido-boost too, just to cap things off!


Got you hooked? Want to find out more? Check out the rules and regulations around the Ice Mile here.