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View Full Version : New here. Need input/guidance on training.



Blueskygirl
October 16th, 2012, 01:29 PM
I'm new here, and I know that I am in the minority on this forum, but was directed to this forum when looking for answers to open-water swimming. I live in Dallas, TX and for the most part grew up here with the exception of living in St. Croix for four yrs when I was a young teen. I haven't been back since I left and am making it a goal of mine to swim in the Coral Reef Swim they have every year in October. (i wanted to when I was younger but my mom wouldn't let me. ; ). They have a one-mile, two-mile, and a five-mile (that last one is to Buck Island). Though pretty much all of my childhood was spent in the water, whether it be the ocean, lakes, or rivers (my mom was a Scuba instructor), I am not a technical swimmer at all...never taught correct strokes or anything like that. I really would like to train for a 2-mile though, to start...but not sure of the steps I would need to take to do that. Also, my endurance is nothing right now (I said I'm in the minority here, right?) and part of this goal is a goal to get into better shape. I also have mitral valve regurgitation, which is fairly mild but has increased my heart rate and lowered my stamina considerably. I am planning on seeing a cardiologist to hopefully get on meds for that though. Is it unreasonable, knowing all this info, to train for a 2 mile for next year?

MickYoung
October 16th, 2012, 02:17 PM
I haven't been back since I left and am making it a goal of mine to swim in the Coral Reef Swim they have every year in October. (i wanted to when I was younger but my mom wouldn't let me. ; ). They have a one-mile, two-mile, and a five-mile (that last one is to Buck Island).

I am planning on seeing a cardiologist to hopefully get on meds for that though. Is it unreasonable, knowing all this info, to train for a 2 mile for next year?


In my fifties, after not having swum more than 2000 yards since I was in Jr high, I trained for a 2.25 mile race in about 10 weeks. Most years I train for that race - one year I did not train nearly enough and the wind and weather were ugly, so it was touch and go, but I made it. (2:29:12, with a 2:30 official time to threaten but not enforce cutoff)

Whether you can do it depends on what your cardiologist says. No one here is is likely to second guess that. OTOH, there are plenty here with cardiac issues who manage to train, swim, and race.

If your cardiologist is not familiar with swimming, an estimate is that 2 miles swimming is equivalent to 8 miles running.

I did a masters thesis on statistics of cardiac parameters. A sentence from the literature(I forget the cite) is "Sedentary men in their 40's who begin an exercise program show measurable cardiac changes in as little as six weeks." Basically, if you need to change your cardiac parameters with exercise to do this race, 6 weeks is the tiniest increment of change. You'll likely need a few of those increments.

A few session with a coach could help a bunch too.

Blueskygirl
October 16th, 2012, 03:43 PM
Thank you so much for your reply!

TUTs_mama
October 17th, 2012, 03:54 AM
There are a lot of good books out there to give you an idea of what to expect. I am currently reading "Lessons from Alcatraz" by Joe Oakes and Gary Emich, and "Open Water Swimming" by Steven Munatones.

Obviously, you are going to want to talk to your cardiologist before starting any type of exercise program due to your medical condition, but I would be really surprised if he was not 100% on board with your swimming. My sister was diagnosed with a lung condition as a result of a premature birth and being on a respirator. Her respiratory doctor fully supported her joining the swimming community (she has since quit, but I digress...)

I had read the best approach is to make small distance increases on a monthly basis. So if you can comfortably swim 1/2 a mile now, do so 3-4 a week for 4 weeks. The next month, add another fraction to the equation, whether it be 1/4 or 1/2 mile and follow that new routine for the next 4 weeks. With a year, the goal of a two mile swim is completely in your reach!

Another note, I recently made the switch from distance in a pool to OW (love it!), but there is a big difference between the pool and OW. The best thing I ever did was find a group of local (and crazy purist) swimmers in my area who OW 3-4 times a week. Very helpful information from these guys, and plenty of encouragement :angel:.

geog
October 17th, 2012, 11:33 AM
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mitral-valve-regurgitation/DS00421

According to the Mayo Clinic, mitral valve regurgitation can 'act up' just from being horizontal, even without exertion. Forum advice and books on pool-swimming or open water swimming will NOT be safe to follow unless you factor in your particular condition, what ever that might be in actuality (even the most considered opinion from a qualified heart/exercise specialist can be flat out wrong, even when coming from a world expert). Moreover, a diagnosis is just a categorization and that a categorization might be a poor fit even though it might be the medical establishment's best fit for you. The bottom line is that you will need to find out for yourself (by direct experience) how your body responds to 1) prolonged exertion, then 2) prolonged exertion while horizontal.

It will be nearly impossible to safely test those 'waters' in open water because when things go south out there, they tend to go south quite rapidly, often with dire consequences, even with 1st rate oversight/escorting.

I urge you to use dryland training to test how your body handles prolonged heavy exertion. Test your body's physiology in that much safer environment. Use jogging, biking, treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine or whatever your preferences might be to build your aerobic endurance on dryland. Confine your swim sessions to the highly controlled environment of a pool with a coach who knows your condition, and work solely on swim technique until you are in good aerobic condition via dryland training. At that point, add endurance training to your pool sessions.

merely my two cents, of course.