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Larry Lido
May 14th, 2012, 02:19 PM
Greetings,
This is my first post and I'm preparing for my first race so forgive me if I'm asking common questions that are already answered elsewhere in this forum: i missed them. To organize this thread I'm going to give a little history about my swim background, tell you where I'm at now, my goals, and then finish with a list of questions. Thank you in advance to anyone who takes the time to answer any question.

History:
I grew up swimming a lot as a child. Partly on various swim teams, and partly in open water (lakes and oceans). I'm very comfortable in the water. I stoppped swimming around 10 and didn't pick it up again until I was 16. I swam competitively my last to years of HS and was good considering my experience (probably due impart to the fact that I'm 6'5"), specializing in sprints--mostly butterfly and freestyle.
Now:
For the past few years I've swam OW with a friend 2 or 3 days a week for the duration of the summer. These swims have been pretty relaxed and span distances of a half mile +/- 0.25 miles. We usually take a rest around the middle of the swim, 30 secs-5 minutes depending on daily BS levels. I live across the street from both the beach and a 25m (maybe yards actually) pool but I don't use the pool since the ocean is free and more enjoyable.
The Goal:
I quit smoking cigarettes 2 weeks ago and I need a reason to stay quit. I found it: a 5k OW swim on Sept 29 (about 18 weeks). They are also offering 1k and 2.5k events.This week I started my serious training. 3 swim days alternated with 3 cross training days, followed by 1 day off. Swim training consists of 2 OW distance days and 1 speed day in the pool. Crosstrain day will be Run/Core days (I'm at about 2 miles now barefoot beach running and have body weight resistance exercises for core training after the run. These exercises were taken from a strength training for swimming speed book I found at a book store. I have extensive time to train.
Questions:
1. Is my goal of a 5k race achievable in 18 weeks? This is a jump from .5 miles to 3 miles. Or should I aim for the 2.5k?
2. Can anyone recommend some good OW books to get me focusing better on technique, diet, training plans?
3. Suggestions for tweaking my current training plan? Or completely changing it?
Honestly, I'd rather avoid the pool entirely.
4. I haven't measured my stroke rate yet, but I'm sure it's pretty low compared to OW swimmers. Should I focus on shortening my long smooth pool stroke?
5. Any tips from the veterans out there?
6. Should I join the local masters swim club. Note: I hate pool swimming but could probably use some stroke tweaking.

geog
May 14th, 2012, 09:32 PM
Just go out in the ocean tomorrow and swim 3 miles non-stop, not even 30 second breaks. I am certain you can do it. Just do it and be done with it. As you'll see, 3 miles is nothing.

jaadams1
May 14th, 2012, 10:50 PM
Just go out in the ocean tomorrow and swim 3 miles non-stop, not even 30 second breaks. I am certain you can do it. Just do it and be done with it. As you'll see, 3 miles is nothing.


Shoot, that sound like silly advice. I wouldn't just go out in the open ocean and start off with a 3 mile swim non-stop "like it's nothing". That how people get in trouble, especially if they're alone.

geog
May 14th, 2012, 10:58 PM
Shoot, that sound like silly advice. I wouldn't just go out in the open ocean and start off with a 3 mile swim non-stop "like it's nothing". That how people get in trouble, especially if they're alone.

you are joking, right?

jaadams1
May 14th, 2012, 11:04 PM
you are joking, right?

nope.

Sure I'm a fast pool swimmer, but I only practice ~3000 yards at a time. 3 miles is more like 5000 yards or so, and there's no walls to grab or push off out there in the ocean.

Just my own personal view...don't take it personal please.

geog
May 14th, 2012, 11:16 PM
nope.

Sure I'm a fast pool swimmer, but I only practice ~3000 yards at a time. 3 miles is more like 5000 yards or so, and there's no walls to grab or push off out there in the ocean.

Just my own personal view...don't take it personal please.

for you, a pool swimmer in Washington State with currently 51 deg F ocean waters, i'd not offer the same advice, except that you could easily swim 10k in your pool. Larry, however, is not a pool swimmer. Moreover he regularly buddy swims in Gulf of Mexico, which is now 81 deg F, or possibly within the protection of the long chain of barrier islands. He is familiar with his 0.5 mile route. Swim that six times and you've done 3 miles.

http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/npac_tmap.html

http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/egof.html

hawkssb04
May 15th, 2012, 12:43 AM
18 weeks should be plenty of time to get ready, especially because you already have swimming experience and your training has already begun. It sounds like you have a pretty solid training schedule already. Just take your time in increasing distances over those weeks (to avoid injury). There's a great open water swimming book appropriately dubbed, "Open Water Swimming," by Steven Munatones. It was published last year, so it's very up to date with the latest training techniques. You'll learn a lot from it. Good luck!!

ALM
May 15th, 2012, 04:13 PM
Larry,

I live in Sarasota. Sounds like you are swimming at Lido Beach.

There is a Masters group that does an open water workout every Saturday morning at Siesta Beach. We meet at 7:15am at the blue lifeguard stand. We swim the length of the buoys - some swimmers go down and back (1 mile), some swim it a second or even third time.

We usually have 1-2 people escorting the group on paddleboards. As this is a Masters workout that is covered by USMS insurance, we ask that all participants be registered members of USMS. And, as it just so happens that I am the USMS Membership Director, I can provide you with instructions on how to join!

To join USMS:
1) Go to usms.org
2) Click the red "Join/Renew" button
3) Enter your zip code and click the "Join" button
4) When you are asked to choose a club, you can just choose UNAT (Unattached) since you don't currently swim with a Masters club.

Benefits of USMS membership are listed here:
http://www.usms.org/reg/content/benefits

Also, the Sarasota YMCA Sharks Masters team is hosting an open water swim at Siesta Beach on October 6th. It's called the Tropical Splash swim, with distances of 1k, 2.5k, and 5k.

I hope to see you at the beach!

MickYoung
May 15th, 2012, 04:28 PM
Questions:
1. Is my goal of a 5k race achievable in 18 weeks? This is a jump from .5 miles to 3 miles. Or should I aim for the 2.5k?

3. Suggestions for tweaking my current training plan? Or completely changing it?
Honestly, I'd rather avoid the pool entirely.
4. I haven't measured my stroke rate yet, but I'm sure it's pretty low compared to OW swimmers. Should I focus on shortening my long smooth pool stroke?
5. Any tips from the veterans out there?
6. Should I join the local masters swim club. Note: I hate pool swimming but could probably use some stroke tweaking.


I train each year for a 2 1/4 mile race. Usually I start from near scratch 8-12 weeks before the race. That's isn't really enough to do my best, but it's ok for doing the distance.

If you increase your distance by about 300 - 400 yards each week, that should get the distance under your belt.

I do (or...uh...WILL do) 3 swim workouts a week 1) distance 2) race pace, and 3) sprints. Along with two or three bike or running workouts a week. That worked out pretty well. For me, in my 50's, every other day swimming works a lot better then every day and is more enjoyable, too.

When I'm increasing my distance, I switch between crawl, breast stroke and backstroke. This increases my endurance more than it increases overuse problems.

I suggest being careful about pushing your limits in open water. Minor trouble is quite rare in open water.

If it were me, I would look for a shallow beach where I could swim some distance like 100 to 400 yards straight and have the water waste-level shallow.

That way you can do the last 1000 yards of a new distance for you, most of your pacing, and all of your sprints in water you can easily stand up in. (You can still drown in that water, though, don't kid yourself).

When you start increasing your distance, really, REALLY increase your stretching. After I've done a few weeks of distance (over 3000 yds) swimming, I seem to need the stretching less. Do the stretching as soon as you can after you get out of the water - or else do some shoulder calisthetics for a while to warm up before stretching.

Getting some kind of coashing for your stroke can make a big differnce. You might be able to convin$$$e a coach to come to your open water space to do that, but if not, it would be well worth a few visits to a pool.

If you do decide to follow Geog's advice and just go for the 3 miles in open water without preparation? I suggest you ride your motorcycle very fast in the rain to get to the water, smear yourself with seal fat, smoke a joint, then wait for lightning to start flashing before you go in. Gives the program a certain unity.

geog
May 16th, 2012, 12:13 AM
3 miles is doable for you now, Larry. Swimming it asap is the best way for you to know how far you are from your goal, and let you tailor your training. You'll see that 3 is nothing, and experiencing that will relieve all kinds of stress and clear your mind of junk that is otherwise going to confound your training. I suggest you keep doing a 3 mi swim every 2 weeks, or how ever often you require between now and race day to develop a sense of pace for that distance.

Larry Lido
May 16th, 2012, 02:21 AM
While I have no idea how long it would take me, I have no doubt that I could swim 3 miles tomorrow. The problem, however, remains that I would end up doing half the swim using breaststroke. In the past I have swam longer distances open water by using breaststroke throughout the duration of the swim as a "break" for my freestyle muscles. My breaststroke is pretty fast and I feel like I could do it forever; it keeps up with my regular swim buddies' half mile freestyle pace. That said, my current mindset is to not use breaststroke as I train for this 5k race, but I'm not sure why... Question: should I just see how far I can safely go using any stroke necessary as part of my distance training? Or should I stick to training my freestyle muscles to go for as long a possible? BTW, I want to complete the 5k only using freestyle, but this is probably just an ego thing since I could likely go faster by alternating between the two. Thoughts?

geog
May 16th, 2012, 10:59 AM
3 mi, nonstop, all freestyle, tomorrow. just do it.

Larry Lido
May 16th, 2012, 05:44 PM
Lovin all the input. Thank you. I Went out and did 2k today (with about 30% breast) and it was easy. In fact I think the 2nd K was easier than the first. I don't fear the distance anymore but I'm still going to confidently ease into it. I've decided to jump up to 4 swims a week with 3 run/core days and one day off. One OW distance swim (3k next week adding 1k every week), 2 OW mid dist swims at a stronger pace (2k... At least for next week), and one pool swim (composed mostly of drills and laddered sprints: 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300 and back down). And to my fellow Sarasotian, Jay, where are the practices?
Thanks.

geog
May 17th, 2012, 01:09 PM
nice work on the 2k, Larry! I like the idea of +1k each week for your weekly distance swim, and it ought to allow enough weeks of 5k distance swims to develop a sense of pace, which will be a huge factor in finish time on race day. I suspect the race will be laps around buoys which will not be in-place until race day. Even so, do some swims at the race venue in order to become familiar with the horizon in general as well as with specific landmarks because it can be far easier to sight an inline landmark such as a building or tree cluster than the buoy itself. Is the course going to be the same as last year? is last years course-map available? Starting in late August or September, doing some of these venue swims at the same time of day as the race will let you sort out possible issues of sun glare. After long swims, it is common to have balance issues especially in sand. They are compounded by the change in gait from in-water to packed-sand to loose-sand. So if the race will have a dry land finish, it'd be helpful to practice race-finishes at the end of your distance work outs.

Larry Lido
May 17th, 2012, 05:48 PM
There's already a thread on this race, but here's the link anyhow: https://www.clubassistant.com/club/meet_information.cfm?c=1290&smid=2905

I've been thinking about starting to practice entries and exits, but I haven't incorporated them yet. I'm undecided whether or not to do them on run days or after my swims. I do however love the idea of trying to recreate race day conditions and times. Especially learning what to sight.

ALM
May 17th, 2012, 10:22 PM
Larry,

The Tropical Splash course is the course we swim every Saturday morning.

We meet at the blue lifeguard stand at 7:15am, to be in the water by 7:30am.

The link you provided was for last year's race. This year's race will be held on October 6th.

geog
May 17th, 2012, 11:58 PM
just a couple more notes ...

the race course map from last year has an odd orientation, North does not point up, in fact North almost points down.

the laps are counterclockwise, all buoys will on your left (except the final buoy), so being comfortable breathing on both sides will be helpful.

if the logistics will be the same as last year, the race will start a few minutes after sunrise. in early October, the sun will be rising a few degrees to the South of due East (currently it is rising 22 degrees to the North of East). glare will likely be an issue for some legs, tinted swim goggles might help some.

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=2157&month=10&year=2012&obj=sun&afl=-1&day=1

hope this helps.

sarah_q
May 19th, 2012, 04:57 PM
Is the open water practice at Lido all year long? I am originally from Bradenton and we go down there for vacation over Christmas to see the family. I usually swim off Anna Maria but I'd go down to Lido to have some company.

I'll be there over Labor Day this year and will try to make the swim then.

Larry Lido
May 19th, 2012, 06:02 PM
Shoot me an email with dates if u wanna partake in an OW Lido swim. Me and my buddy swim there consistantly, but our swim times are constantly changing. I'm not a masters member so I can't PM you.
Im.a.lasagna.hog@gmail.com

ALM
May 19th, 2012, 09:23 PM
Is the open water practice at Lido all year long? I am originally from Bradenton and we go down there for vacation over Christmas to see the family. I usually swim off Anna Maria but I'd go down to Lido to have some company.

I'll be there over Labor Day this year and will try to make the swim then.

Sarah - the Masters group practice is at Siesta Beach.