View Full Version : new to long open water swimming

May 16th, 2005, 11:18 PM
I have some experience with open water swimming via triathlon (many swims in the 1500-2000 range, and have done the Grand Cayman mile swim twice.) I want to try some longer swims, maybe a 5K length. I am doing 2500-2800 meters with my masters swim group, 3X per week. I feel that I probably need to up the ante a bit, but how much? (I also am biking competitively, getting in 150-180 miles per week.) And should I be doing some continuous swims, rather than the intervals of 100-300 that our coaches typically set out for us. I am not a lifetime swimmer, but have been at it for several years. Do my 100 meter repeats on 1:55 or sometimes I can manage 5 or 6 on1:50. Age 51
No experience with cold water swimming to speak of, so I am considering mainly 75-80 degrees F as ideal. Any advice would be appreciated.

Leonard Jansen
May 17th, 2005, 08:25 AM
Given your pace for the 100's, you have to expect that in a 5k, you will be probably in the water for 1:45 or more. Therefore, it wouldn't hurt to work your way up to an occasional hour or so of straight swimming on top of your current workout schedule. Make sure your technique is efficient and relaxed, regardless of speed. This would probably be enough to get you through the race, although no world records will be set. :D

On race day, if the organizer doesn't provide any aid stations, stuff a GU (or other) gel packet under your cap and eat it after 45-60 minutes. If you can also get water from a safety boat/kayak to wash it down, all the better. (DON'T LITTER WHEN DONE - STUFF IT BACK UNDER YOUR CAP OR GIVE IT TO THE SAFETY BOAT PEOPLE.) However, make sure that you can tolerate GU (or whatever) by trying it during your longer practice swims.

Not sure where you are swimming, but water at 75 degrees or over is hard to come by here in the NJ/PA area, so you may want to head south.

You WILL make it as long as you are smart about it.


May 19th, 2005, 12:30 AM
I Agree, do some longer straight up easy paced training. However keep up with the interval training and especially drills. Understand how your balance works as if the weather is bad and you have waves, you will really appreciate the drills. I use drills that I adapt for waves so I can either surf or cut through them without the waves crashing into my arms.
Make sure you spend some time in the open water to get used to sighting. It isn't always the best conditioned swimmer who finishes first, rather the better conditioned swimmer who holds the best line. (You would be amazed at the range of line in an open water swim, some swimmers swim way more than they need to!!)
If you are going to use a wetsuit, train in this in the open water as well. (find out the temp of the water so there will be no surprises. IF it is a jump from a dock or boat start, then make sure you can do an efficient Giant Stride entry. Don;t get your head wet, rather get the body wet first and scull until you have got used to the temp, then put your head in and get used to that. If you dive in and the water is colder than expected you can hyperventilate which is a natural vaso vagal response to cold water. Everyone is different, so make sure you know what your body will do in cooler water)
Train with the fuel that you will use, and find out when and how much to take. For example on a 5km race if it will take you 1hr 45, take a couple of gu's at the 45 minute mark. Make sure you are well hydrated before the race begins and rehydrate and eat following the race.
Good Luck. Happy training.

May 19th, 2005, 05:27 PM
When we swam accross Lake Ontario in 1964 the swimmers were spread 13 miles apart, I headed for Scarboro Bluffs, Abou heif headed for Port Credit.

Training 1hr, 2 hrs, once or twice a day, lots of 100s 200s and 500s. at race pace. I do not think you should train faster than you are going to race. Be sure to take off 1 day a week.

May 19th, 2005, 10:37 PM
Thanks for your responses. I do have some open water experience, and I do have navigational problems (tend to go to the left) and undoubtedly swim further than those who keep a good line. I usually do train at a much faster pace than I would attempt a 5k swim at, doing shorter intervals. Why would it be important to train at a slow pace? I don't usually have time to get in more than 2800 meters, as our master swim is only 1 hour. If I slowed it down more, I would be doing even less distance.

May 20th, 2005, 12:18 AM
You will hear from others who say do intervals at higher speeds than you are going to race. My belief is that you swim at race pace when you are swimming distance races. I am saying if you want to average an 18 min mile for your race you should swim your 100s in 61.36 sec on 5 sec rest, which would be race pace. What would be the sense in swimming 51 sec. If you are to swim a 20 min mile - 68.2 sec with a 5 sec rest. 24 min mile - 82 sec with 5 sec rest. There is nothing wrong with swimming faster but in a distance race we want to fall into automation, to swim without thinking. 2800 meters is almost 3 k.

Runners running a mile run the last 440 as fast or faster than their first 440. You will never find them doing 9 sec plus 100s when they run repeat hundreds.