View Full Version : Training for 1st 2-mile Ocean Swim

June 19th, 2003, 07:56 PM
Hi. New to the board...I have a few questions:

I am training for a two-mile ocean swim in Southern California at the beginning of August. I have been in the water for about 6 weeks, swimming two days a week, around 2,000-2,500 yds.

My first question: How many yards should I be getting in at each practice? And will stepping it up to three days a week be adequate for the rest of my training?

Also, how much open water training do I need to do before the race? Will 3-4 times in the ocean be adequate? (I used to be a competitive swimmer and an ocean lifeguard...but I haven't been swimming for the last several years.)

I am not doing this to compete, but to finish solidly. Any and all advice is much appreciated! Thanks so much. Hannah

Rob Copeland
June 20th, 2003, 11:12 AM

Since you used to be a competitive swimmer and an ocean lifeguard, you are ahead of a lot of folks in understanding how to swim in the ocean.

Without knowing more about your workouts and previous level of competitive swimming it is hard to come up with a definitive answer to know what it will take to make it. However, I would guess that if you keep up your training at your current pace and throwing in a few open water sessions, you should be able to complete your swim.

Now with this said, bumping up your yardage to say 3,000- 3,500 yards, swimming another day or two a week, and adding a couple of additional open water practices will definitely move you up in the field to a more solid finish. But donít try to overdo it. One of the biggest problems with competitive swimmers coming back for a race is in trying to do too many yards too quickly. This can lead to shoulder problems.

Good Luck

July 1st, 2003, 06:41 PM
Thanks. So I am now swimming 3 days a week in the pool...I am basically doing 2,000 two days a week and 3,000 one day a week. I will move my long swim up to 3,500 next week most likely.

I also got in the water for my first open water swim in a long time. I only did about 3/4 of a mile b/c of time constraints, but am going to try to jump in there this week to do a longer ocean swim. Boy, I forgot how ocean swimming can really feel like you are on a treadmill.

One more thing...I've never done this big of a race...what kind of things should I be aware for the start when it is really crowded? Should I attempt to sprint out of the beginning to get myself a nice place in the middle of the pack? Or should I just hang back so I don't get clobbered?

Thanks for any help, inspiration, etc.


July 1st, 2003, 09:49 PM
Hi hannah,
I see you are a newbie here.. ;0). I encourage you to use the search function here... there is LOTS of good advice
re; open water training from the past...

Good Luck!!!

Rob Copeland
July 2nd, 2003, 08:40 AM
For your first open water race, I would suggest hanging back a bit to keep from being clobbered. Unless you are one of the top 5 to 10 swimmers who are able to break out of the pack, someone starting in the middle of a large crowd can expect to be accidentally kicked, hit, swum over/under/through 10 to 50 times in the first 400 meters. This is in addition to the kicks and hits you inflict on others.

My personal preference is to go to the far left side of the pack (for right side breathers) or to the far right for left side breathers. If you bilateral, choose the side that allows the drift to take you to the turn buoy. You end up swimming a little longer course, but often the energy saved by not thrashing in the pack more than makes up for any lost time.

July 11th, 2003, 02:06 PM
Rob's advice is very good, and particularly if you are doing the Hermosa to Manhattan Pier to Pier. It is a single mass start with 800 swimmers trying to get around the pier at the same time and closest to the pier.

The only other advice I would give you would be to try to find a smaller ocean swim to try before hand. Try one of the Thursday Night Playa Del Runs if you can at Dockweiler Beach or try the swims at Naples Island on July 26 or 27--you can link through the Morton Salt Report. Both are nice intro swims before the mass start that is the Pier to Pier. Good luck.

August 7th, 2003, 07:57 PM
I just wanted to say thanks to those of you who offered your words of wisdom. I did the Hermosa/Manhattan Pier to Pier 2-mile swim last Sunday and it went pretty well. Since I really was just concerned with finishing, my expectations weren't that high. I ended up finishing in 1:13, which was way better than I hoped (thanks to the nice south swell we had that morning). I am definitely going to keep up the training and try to get into some more swims.

Again, thanks for the advice. Hannah