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SenecaSwim
March 4th, 2012, 11:45 AM
I have been swimming for some time now. I usually do about 4000 yards four days per week. I have never done a long distance swim. I'm not sure why but I have been tossing the idea around in my head to swim a 30-38 mile Fresh water swim at the end of August. I'm not concerned about the time it takes. I'm thinking I would need a support crew, nutrition while underway, lights etc. etc. I would appreciate any feedback and insight you could lend regarding workouts to build up, experiences, recommended suit, food, etc. etc.

Lets hear it.

jaadams1
March 4th, 2012, 12:25 PM
Hmmmm...simple math just doesn't add up.

4000 x 4 days a week = 16000 yards

16000 / 1760 yards (mile) = 9.09 miles per week

And you're planning to attempt a 30+ mile swim at one time in 6 months from now?? Honestly, you either need to change this goal swim, or you have to have a serious increase in pool/OW practice time.

I've never done a long distance swim like that, but I can tell you that 4000 yard practices a few days a week won't cut it for a 30 miler swim.

4000 yard practices will barely get you ready for long distance pool swims.

Need to up your swimming distances, and get time training in the outdoor OWs as well.

geog
March 4th, 2012, 12:50 PM
what open water distances have you swum so far?

evmo
March 4th, 2012, 01:27 PM
Based on your username, I'll take a wild guess that you're aiming to swim the length of Seneca Lake? You might want to get in touch with Dave Barra (username chaos) who (I think) will be swimming a few of the Finger Lakes this summer.

A reasonable rule-of-thumb is to aim to swim your target distance every week for at least several months. For a 35-mile swim, that's about 61,000 yards per week. That's a lot of swimming; but then, a 35-mile swim is a very long swim.

It's certainly possible to do a marathon swim on less than the [target distance per week] rule of thumb. I've done it myself. However, I'd say it's generally a bad idea unless you're a very experienced long-distance swimmer or have very efficient and technically sound stroke technique, resistant to injury.

A cold-turkey 35-mile swim is pretty ambitious. Why not try a 10-mile swim first and see how it goes? Or turn the 35 miles into a 3-4 day stage swim?

--------
www.freshwaterswimmer.com

chaos
March 4th, 2012, 01:27 PM
The short answer:
TRAINING
There are lots of different ideas about this, so... to be clear these are my opinions only.
I averaged 35,000 - 40,000 yds per week for a year and a half to prepare for a marathon swim season. I know others who have had success with much less, and I know some who do a bit more. Everyone I know includes long swim sessions in their training so they may experiment with feeds, recovery, mental fatigue, etc. I would want at least a 15 hour swim in the bank and probably a "broken swim weekend" (2 consecutive days with the total being equal to the number of hours I expect the swim to take. ex: saturday 9 hours, sunday 9 hours) before attempting Seneca Lake... work up to it.

I've done a little research on the Finger Lakes myself, so I can say I don't think there will be any assistance from wind or currents... at least not anything to count on.

Train in colder water than you expect to encounter. Nights can be cool, even in the summer. Air temp can cool down a swimmer more than you think. Have hot/warm feeds available. You will need an easy system for your crew to follow.

Read Blogs of Marathon Swimmers.

Find training buddies. PM me... I know a couple of people in your area (I think)

Yes you will need lights; for yourself and your crew (kayakers? boaters?). For the swimmer I recommend adventure lights... green. http://www.adventurelights.com/outdoors/products.asp?sid=5&cid=37&ccid=84&S=0&O=5 one on the head and one on the tail.

Practice night swimming WITH YOUR CREW... include feeds, communication, etc.

Decide how you want to do the swim... Traditional Channel Rules, or wetsuit

Make sure your crew is up for the task... add a few hours to your anticipated swim time and consider that they will be on a slow moving boat for the duration.

Lots more to consider, but

SAFETY PLAN
PERMITS
INSURANCE
SANCTION

SenecaSwim
March 4th, 2012, 01:35 PM
Hmmmm...simple math just doesn't add up.

4000 x 4 days a week = 16000 yards

16000 / 1760 yards (mile) = 9.09 miles per week

And you're planning to attempt a 30+ mile swim at one time in 6 months from now?? Honestly, you either need to change this goal swim, or you have to have a serious increase in pool/OW practice time.

I've never done a long distance swim like that, but I can tell you that 4000 yard practices a few days a week won't cut it for a 30 miler swim.

4000 yard practices will barely get you ready for long distance pool swims.

Need to up your swimming distances, and get time training in the outdoor OWs as well.


Ya this is the problem. My work schedule is difficult to get around. It can be a challenge just getting the 4 days in. What kind of practice numbers do you think would be inline with a swim of this magnitude? 20 miles per wk? Do you use a equation to derive this?....i.e: if your goal is X you should swim Y? As stated above I'm not concerned with the time in which this is completed rather the endurance to complete the swim. The practices that I do now are a typicall mix - like a highschool practice...sprints, distance, etc. etc. I have done a few days of 3 hour swims. Typically I end these due to time constraints rather than fatigue.

When I look up distance swimmers, or at least a few, I get perplexed at the mix of findings. The "Big Man" in the river Martin Strel, Diana Nyad etc. etc. It is amazing to me to see the differences in body, age, work out routines......

I don't know a lot about distance. Thats why I'm asking......

evmo
March 4th, 2012, 01:47 PM
When I look up distance swimmers, or at least a few, I get perplexed at the mix of findings. The "Big Man" in the river Martin Strel, Diana Nyad etc. etc. It is amazing to me to see the differences in body, age, work out routines.

Pay no attention to the "big river man." I'm not sure what sort of "training" is required to swim down a river in a wetsuit, but it's probably not relevant to a 35-mile lake crossing.

chaos
March 4th, 2012, 01:55 PM
Ya this is the problem. My work schedule is difficult to get around. It can be a challenge just getting the 4 days in. What kind of practice numbers do you think would be inline with a swim of this magnitude? 20 miles per wk? Do you use a equation to derive this?....i.e: if your goal is X you should swim Y?

Your practice goals should be to eliminate all variables.

Your statement "I don't care how long it takes" is good attitude, but should not be considered a substitution for being "prepared" for how long it might take.

There is no such thing as a leisurely 38 mile swim.

If you can't schedule the training volume, I would consider some shorter swims this season. There are quite a few organized events available. In the 4-10 hour range... here are 7 www.8bridges.org

... or other Finger Lakes (non-events)

SKANEATELES - 16 miles
OWASCO - 11 miles
CAYUGA - 40 miles
SENECA - 38 miles
KEUKA - 20 miles
CANANDAIGUA - 15.5 miles

ViveBene
March 4th, 2012, 02:18 PM
If you want to drive east a few hours, several swims of different lengths are planned in the vicinity of Lake Memphremagog, VT, on Canadian border:
www.kingdomswim.org (http://www.kingdomswim.org)

Marcia Cleveland's book Dover Solo, available for purchase on the website of the same name or on amazon, details some of the training and planning that go into long swims.

Mallory Mead, the USMS online open water swim coach, has an exemplary record. You might get some tips on the type of pool work to do by following her daily workouts (requires USMS registration to view).

SenecaSwim
March 4th, 2012, 03:51 PM
Thanks for all the input. I should have clarified...
38 miles is ambitious for sure! No question I will def. begin with shorter attempts.
"should not be considered a substitution for being "prepared" for how long it might take". SO true.

One of my concerns especially in the Finger lakes is the window of opp.. Depending on the spring it can take the water a while to warm up. not to mention the current/chop etc. etc. For any great distance I imagine sustaining core temp is crucial. Opinions regarding water temp, type of suit, etc. etc.

Also,not to jump the gun here but I am curious, what are nutritional options while underway?

Thanks again for all the info, Keep it coming!

evmo
March 4th, 2012, 06:26 PM
what are nutritional options while underway?

Almost infinite. Different strategies work for different people. But there are a few best practices - e.g., liquids generally better than solids, maltodextrins generally better than simple sugars, too many calories generally a bigger problem than too few.

Find out what has worked for others and adapt it to yourself. Google is your friend. For instance, if you search for "marathon swimming nutrition," the first four results lead to articles I've recently written on this subject.

Personally, I like Maxim (or equivalent unflavored maltodextrin) spiked with fruit juice.

Whatever you decide, the important thing is to practice it well beforehand, preferably multiple times on long swims. If you intend to do a 38-mile swim in 6 months, it's already pretty late in the game. Many people spend years preparing for even a 20-mile swim, much less 38.

-------
www.freshwaterswimmer.com

chaos
March 4th, 2012, 09:18 PM
Opinions regarding water temp, type of suit, etc. etc.


Most marathon swimmers adhere to the rules established by the CSA and CS&PF... One textile suit, cap, goggles, grease.

My opinion is mostly in line with that of Mr Zoring's on page 4 of the latest Swimmer Magazine.

Train (whenever possible) at or below the temperature you are likely to encounter for your swim. Increase exposure incrementally. Get a crew that knows what hypothermia looks like and knows what to do if they have to pull you.

Underwater9
March 5th, 2012, 10:51 PM
I did a 20 mile swim race after I was swimming about 20 miles/week the 2 months prior (I was doing significantly more than that before then though). It was a pretty intense swim - especially mentally.

There are so many factors that go into a marathon swim (especially one 30+ miles). If you are doing 4k a few times per week, I would say chances are very high that you wouldn't finish because your body literally just wouldn't be able to function for that long. The slower you swim, the longer it will take as well.

As for nutrition, one of the best tips I received was, along with my regimented intake of fluids and calories, to have treats as well. Whether it is candy, chocolate, or literally just anything you enjoy - it will be key to surviving the swim mentally. It is something to look forward to, because believe me, you'll need that. It can get real depressing halfway through a ten hour race.

As for regular intake, I'd say get some fluid and calories every 15 minutes.

geochuck
March 6th, 2012, 10:40 AM
One of my favorite Long distance guys Herman Willemse used to say swim 1 hr 2hrs 3hrs never more then 5 hrs.

SenecaSwim
March 6th, 2012, 10:36 PM
thanks everybody for the feedback and GREAT INFO! I hope to get the opp. to increase my practice yards. I will post any updates.

Rykno
March 7th, 2012, 08:46 AM
A reasonable rule-of-thumb is to aim to swim your target distance every week for at least several months. For a 35-mile swim, that's about 61,000 yards per week. That's a lot of swimming; but then, a 35-mile swim is a very long swim.

that was good to hear. I am planning a "long" swim in aug. 21.5km. once the lake ice melts i will start swimming outside 3-4 times a week with 3-4 pool swims. from april through May I should be up to 20km a week. in june and july even longer if I can find enough swimming partners.

E=H2O
March 7th, 2012, 12:01 PM
I probably swim less distance leading up to my swims than most. I do that because I have a compromised shoulder that puts a limit on it. (Actually I should say that it used to, because marathon swimming has actually improved my shoulder). However, I put a lot of hours on my bike trainer doing 2 hour interval workouts.

Kevin in MD
March 7th, 2012, 03:13 PM
You had one rule of thumb earlier about swimming the race distance weekly.

Another rule of thumb is that you should have swum 60% of the distance of the swim at least once.

Dover Solo is a good reference, Penny Lee Dean's book on open water swimming is also good in terms of seeing how much swimming you'd be looking at.

For my own part, I have gotten a lot of good out of two particular diametrically opposed workouts.

1. Long swims underfed. Something like 10k intentionally without any food or sugar before practice and then with only 100 calories pr so per hour during. This is to replicate the depletion, low blood sugar and low mental state you will inevitably feel on race day.

2. Long swims practicing nutrition exactly. I am continually surprised by how many people don't do this. mix up exactly what you will use on race day and drink it in exactly the amounts you intend to drink on race day and at the same intervals. Start with 1.25 calories per pound per hour as a first guess on how much will work for you. I use maltodextrin mixed into gatorade, others have their own favorites.

Good luck,come on out to some of the other open water races, it's fun.

Kevin in MD
March 7th, 2012, 03:15 PM
You had one rule of thumb earlier about swimming the race distance weekly.

Another rule of thumb is that you should have swum 60% of the distance of the swim at least once.

Dover Solo is a good reference, Penny Lee Dean's book on open water swimming is also good in terms of seeing how much swimming you'd be looking at.

For my own part, I have gotten a lot of good out of two particular diametrically opposed workouts.

1. Long swims underfed. Something like 10k intentionally without any food or sugar before practice and then with only 100 calories pr so per hour during. This is to replicate the depletion, low blood sugar and low mental state you will inevitably feel on race day.

2. Long swims practicing nutrition exactly. I am continually surprised by how many people don't do this. mix up exactly what you will use on race day and drink it in exactly the amounts you intend to drink on race day and at the same intervals. Start with 1.25 calories per pound per hour as a first guess on how much will work for you. I use maltodextrin mixed into gatorade, others have their own favorites.

Good luck,come on out to some of the other open water races, it's fun.

chaos
March 7th, 2012, 04:45 PM
I am planning a "long" swim in aug. 21.5km.

I might see you there if the event director will wave the mandatory wetsuit rule.

geog
March 7th, 2012, 08:44 PM
i thought for sure that masochism would appear in this thread :angel:

mjtyson
March 8th, 2012, 05:32 AM
I will never, ever again do a swim with a wetsuit. Did my UK 10K in September, and the scars are still there on my chest (it was sleeveless). Sucks.

SenecaSwim
March 11th, 2012, 11:51 PM
1. Long swims underfed. Something like 10k intentionally without any food or sugar before practice and then with only 100 calories pr so per hour during. This is to replicate the depletion, low blood sugar and low mental state you will inevitably feel on race day.

2. Long swims practicing nutrition exactly. I am continually surprised by how many people don't do this. mix up exactly what you will use on race day and drink it in exactly the amounts you intend to drink on race day and at the same intervals. Start with 1.25 calories per pound per hour as a first guess on how much will work for you. I use maltodextrin mixed into gatorade, others have their own favorites.



Underfed....thats interesting. Let me ask..have you ever had a situation in which your blood sugar plummets while underway? Yikes, that would kind of suck. I'm sure everone is different but what is the rule of thumb for recovery from a issue like blood suger or the likes?

Yesdoc
March 12th, 2012, 03:12 AM
I am a very experienced marathon swimmer and can recommend that you will need to train much more to swim 38 miles, regardless if it is current assisted.

When I train for my own swims or when I coach/help/train with other swimmers, it is VERY necessary to swim at LEAST 60-75% of the length of the swim before you attempt it.
In fact, most of the marathon swimmers I know (and I know most of them), do at least 3 or 4 swims of 4-8 hours each in building progression before taking on anything over 18-20 miles.

I train about 35K-50K yards (a bit more for England) per week for at least 6 months prior to a marathon swim and will do at least 3 swims of over 6 hours during that time.

My rule of thumb is to train for AT LEAST 6-8 months for a swim of over 15 miles (I coach at least 12 months to build up muscle memory and to ensure easy recovery), and that for a swim over 20 miles, which will usually take in the 7-10+ hour range, a swimmer should have done at least 2 swims of 6 hours or more in the prep up to the swim, but not closer than 3-4 weeks before the "big" swim. (The more experienced of us can turn around marathon swims of 8+ hours in as short as 2 weeks, but the shoulders can get fried if the conditions are rough in either swim)

Remember, it's not really if can you make the distance, but that you make it with strength and preparation and don't destroy your body/mind in the process.

Those of us who do multiple series of marathon swims are very, very, very aware of training in ALL KINDS of conditions. It's amazing how one's stroke will change in wind, chop, waves, swells, currents, etc.

So in short, SWIM A LOT MORE, and then you'll be ready.

The swim will be there next season, and you'll be so much happier if you are prepared. I see too many aspirants fail who think they are ready and it can be mentally tough for them in the end when they discover in the swim, that they are not.

And then there is the training for feeding, for the mental aspect and sensory deprivation.

Also figure out if you can pee and swim, etc...

Don't take a long swim lightly, as your body and mind will both need preparation well in advance.

Finally, find an experienced marathon/open water long distance swimmer who is experienced in the swim you are attempting (or something similar). You'll find that most of us in are willing to help anyone who wants to try one of these long swims.

Best of luck and hope this helps.

Best swimming
Scott (English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island, Tampa Bay 24 mile swim, Seal Beach, etc, etc, etc)

chaos
March 12th, 2012, 08:29 AM
Let me ask..have you ever had a situation in which your blood sugar plummets while underway? Yikes, that would kind of suck. I'm sure everone is different but what is the rule of thumb for recovery from a issue like blood suger or the likes?

I think most marathon swimmers have done at least one training session to push themselves beyond the bonk. I think the EC training groups call it something like "total body confusion".

Its really only through trial and error that you will find the ideal cal/hr for yourself. Pre swim nutrition/hydration can also factor heavily into the odds of a successful swim.

geochuck
March 12th, 2012, 08:48 AM
3 Tablesoons of Glucose powder and a light soloution of Tang in 6 onces of water every hour was what I used along with the odd salt tablet. Is this why I have diabetes?

Kevin in MD
March 12th, 2012, 11:46 AM
Not medically low, but the low blood sugar due to depletion of glycogen reserves, yes I have had that happen many times in every sort of endurance activity I do. It varies in strength but yes, I have had it happen. It took me about 6 years to realize that the mental and speed related ups and downs in long events are related to blood sugar. That when you feel like doing nothing but stopping and then get that hit of gatorade or other food, you can't even remember why you felt that way ten minutes ago.

But once I figured that our and started to deal with it in training and got realistic with nutrition, things got much better for me.

Kevin in MD
March 12th, 2012, 11:48 AM
Not medically low, but the low blood sugar due to depletion of glycogen reserves, yes I have had that happen many times in every sort of endurance activity I do. It varies in strength but yes, I have had it happen. It took me about 6 years to realize that the mental and speed related ups and downs in long events are related to blood sugar. That when you feel like doing nothing but stopping and then get that hit of gatorade or other food, you can't even remember why you felt that way ten minutes ago.

But once I figured that our and started to deal with it in training and got realistic with nutrition, things got much better for me.

geochuck
March 12th, 2012, 11:53 AM
Kevin I was told that glycogen was replenished when taking vitamin E by Dr Shute years ago. I took 3000 units of E everyday when training and competing in marathon races. The Dr also said not to over do the cosumption of Iron.


Not medically low, but the low blood sugar due to depletion of glycogen reserves, yes I have had that happen many times in every sort of endurance activity I do. It varies in strength but yes, I have had it happen. It took me about 6 years to realize that the mental and speed related ups and downs in long events are related to blood sugar. That when you feel like doing nothing but stopping and then get that hit of gatorade or other food, you can't even remember why you felt that way ten minutes ago.

But once I figured that our and started to deal with it in training and got realistic with nutrition, things got much better for me.

orca1946
March 12th, 2012, 12:51 PM
Please do shorter events to build up to 38 miles!!!
We don't want to read about you in the bad news open water section!!!:badday:

swimthegoodfight
March 12th, 2012, 04:30 PM
I think someone emphasized temperature training. You will need hours-long swims at a temperature reflecting anticipated water temperature.

I saw at least one of chaos' pre-swims for the english channel. He seemed to follow his feeding protocol religiously in anticipation of his marathon swims. He ignored the temptation to skip feedings to better his time in individual races, and race fellow swimmers.

He was, and is, intensely goal-directed. He began and finished Tampa Bay, Catalina and the English Channel in the same calendar year.

I am not convinced you have to do 50K weekly or have to do a 75% swim, but there are so many parameters affecting any open water swim. You will have to be able do pool time and open water swimming for 4-, 6- and more hours. You will know yourself better than anyone on the board.

Best of luck and good swimmin'

chaos
March 12th, 2012, 05:53 PM
Scott (English Channel, Catalina Channel, Manhattan Island, Tampa Bay 24 mile swim, Seal Beach, etc, etc, etc)

Welcome to the forum Doc.

What does 2012 have in store for you?

I've got a swim (or 7) that I think you would enjoy................

Yesdoc
March 13th, 2012, 01:29 AM
Chaos
I am considering Gibraltar Strait, Tsuguru Channel, Boston Light, Loch Ness and many others over the next 2 years....................................likely an attempt at Cook Sttait and North Cnannel are in the mindset for 2012-2014 to complete the Ocean's 7 andthen the Still Water 8

chaos
March 13th, 2012, 08:07 PM
Chaos
I am considering Gibraltar Strait, Tsuguru Channel, Boston Light, Loch Ness and many others over the next 2 years....................................likely an attempt at Cook Sttait and North Cnannel are in the mindset for 2012-2014 to complete the Ocean's 7 andthen the Still Water 8

I like the idea of knocking off a bunch of big swims in rapid succession. I suspect it won't be long before we see someone go for the O-7 in a single calendar year. Logistics would be the biggest obstacle.

geochuck
March 13th, 2012, 08:11 PM
Are you guys swimming for pleasure?? I only swam distance races beause there was prize money.

chaos
March 13th, 2012, 08:22 PM
Are you guys swimming for pleasure?? I only swam distance races beause there was prize money.

there is no prize money for old folks.

I swim because I can.

Chicken of the Sea
March 14th, 2012, 10:10 AM
there is no prize money for old folks.

I swim because I can.

Chaos, I think of it as reverse prize money. I give the prize money for people brave enough to let me swim.

swimmer25k
March 15th, 2012, 10:35 AM
The simple answer to this question is that all you need is the determination to make the commitment to train, the refusal to quit when it hurts, and to be honest with yourself.

16000 a week is not going to be enough yardage to get the job done. When I'm gearing up for a big swim I'll routinely hit 60-70K per week in only 6 workouts. I'll save the very long swims for the weekends when time is not at a premium. In a marathon you can not stop, sit down, or coast your way through it. You need to put in the time in order to get used to the time.

Train in the open water as much as possible. It is a different feel than what you get in the pool. Swim when the water is cold, rough, and/or in bad weather. What will you do on race day if the conditions aren't nice and calm? Go home? Of course not. (Make sure to have an escort for safety.) I'm not a huge fan of 5-6 hour OW swims because I feel that you are in an area of diminishing returns and open yourself to over-use injuries and other problems. I feel just as crappy after a hard 3 hour swim as I do after an 8 hour race. That's just my opinion. 3 hour pool swims with occasional feed brakes are killers that will tell you a lot about yourself.

Relish adversity. If you have a big swim like the English Channel coming up, make sure that it isn't your first marathon. You'll want to know how your body and mind will react when things aren't going well. I suck in hot water and found out the hard way (1995 Pan Pac Trials in Lake Lanier). I wish I had more experience before one of the biggest swims in my life.

Never quit. I've been pulled out of three races in my career. Two of them were against my will. If you quit once, the second time will be easier.

Just a few thoughts.

Chris

swimmer25k
March 18th, 2012, 02:01 PM
Here's a link to my Channel swim on Youtube. There are about 15 minutes of it still to upload, but this is most of it. A lot of the techiques in training and racing that I've used in the past are shown here. Probably the most important one is how I feed during a swim. Talking with your crew only wastes time and prolongs your success.

Here you go:

2001: Chris Derks' Swim Odyssey - YouTube

geochuck
March 18th, 2012, 02:09 PM
Very good stuff. I enjoyed your storey.

evmo
March 18th, 2012, 09:15 PM
What do the long distance pool workouts look like when training for marathon swims?

Animal Sets (http://www.marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/5/the-animal-set-thread)

John.mercer
March 23rd, 2012, 09:47 AM
Thanks for the link ... Interesting site.

After I posted, I realized there was a 'workout' category in the forum ... Lots of good information.

zero
May 24th, 2013, 07:04 AM
Scott, great info. I need some help on training to swim in the south pacific ocean 44 miles.