View Full Version : If I can do them (5k/10k) so can you...

September 3rd, 2007, 07:57 PM
I completed all five postal swims in 2005 and have completed three of the five so far this year. The killer for most people contemplating the postal swim series is clearly the 10k long course swim. It's essentially the swimming equivalent of a marathon.

Note, however, I don't think you need the kind of training for the 10k postal swim that you'd need for a marathon (you're not working against gravity for one thing). Consider my "preparation". I swam the 5k on 7/20 (1:32:02, 5:53 faster than in 2005) and the 10k on 8/31 (3:13:37, 7:50 faster than in 2005). I believe I swam a lot less this summer than I did in 2005. I didn't keep a good log of my workouts during 2005, but I was clearly working on building up to those distances, especially after kind of burning out in the 5k.

This year, thanks to the magic of Go the Distance (thank you once again Mary Sweat!) I've been tracking my workouts very carefully. July and August provided 62 possible days to swim. Two of those days were the two events. That left 60 possible days of practice. Of those 60 days I didn't swim on 27 of them. During the two months I only swam longer than 4000 yards seven times. Two of those were the swims themselves. You can hardly accuse me of "overtraining".

I worked a lot on technique this year. Besides improving my stroke a lot I believe it gave me things to think about when I got tired. Heck, I think I might have improved my flip turn significantly just from all the practice I got swimming the 10k! I also went into both races with plans. I split each one up into 500m chunks and had target paces in mind. My first 100m in the 10k was 1:45 (even doing open turns *). I immediately knew I was going way too fast and slowed down to a better pace immediately. In 2005 I probably would have just kept churning away and burnt out later.

So, if I can do it, you can too. Think about it for next year...

Skip Montanaro

(*) I treated the first 200-300m as a warmup and did open turns to loosen up my back before switching to flip turns.

September 4th, 2007, 08:03 AM
Good for you for doing them all! I admire anyone who does that. I love your challenge but will have to pass. i did the 1 hour a few years ago and ended up with major shoulder problems. It scared me away from future long, long distance things. Best of luck to anyone doing them!


September 4th, 2007, 09:49 AM
Congratulations, Skip. Awesome achievement:party2:

Personally, I have NO interest in doing this -- see the first reply wrt shoulders. Plus, I just don't wanna do it...And since this is masters, I don't have to.:banana:

Carl Spackler
September 7th, 2007, 03:45 PM
I've lurked on the board for a few years now and have gotten lots of good advice here. I thought I would post my experience with the postal swims.

I've been doing the 1 hour and 3k postal for a few years now and decided this was the year to do all 5. I'm also 3/5 of the way done and looking forward to finishing the last two off as soon as September 15 comes around. I don't swim in many meets and really like the Postal events to have a goal to shoot for each year. I also agree that more Masters swimmers would be able to do the 10k than think they can. I started out doing a 1 hour straight swim once a week (already had some base training from doing the 1 hour swim) and just added 10 - 15 minutes every couple weeks.

I started increasing the swim times in March and did the swim the last week in June. Ideally I had wanted to get training swims up to about 80- 85% of the 10K distance, but ended up stopping at 7000+ being my longest swim due to some tendonitis in the elbows and wrists that kept flaring up. I think ramping up the distance slower may have prevented some of that, but I'm not sure. I'm 52, so the joints don't heal up as fast as they used to.

My drink of choice is Hammer HEED ( a powder mixed with water) , a couple good chugs every 45 minutes, and I also did a couple shots of Hammer Jel for the 10k.

I also purchased a SWIMP3 player to cut down on the boredom of the long training swims. I've seen several threads about them here, and I liked mine alot. I see they have a new one that adapts to any type of goggle, and that was one of the downsides of mine, the goggles were not adjustable across the nose. The sound is pretty good though. I don't use them for anything but long slower swims though. Once you pick up speed the sound starts to get garbled a bit and they'll start moving around a bit on harder turn pushoffs.

Other swims that helped me get ready for the postals are doing LOTS of 100's or 200's about 5 seconds under your goal race pace, with about 10 - 15 seconds rest max. Thanks to whoever suggested that originally, I think it was in the USMS magazine in an article about Postal swims. I did sets of 30 x 100, or 20 x 200. I think this helped to keep my legs from cramping in the 5k and 10k. Either that or my workouts have been way to wimpy before. :-) Typically in the 3k and 1 hour my calves and/or quads and/or feet cramp up due to all the turns in the 25 yard pool. I'll find out if it really works when I do the 3k and 6k with all the stinking turns. I have cramped in every 3k and 1 hour postal if I went for it hard, but this is the first year I've tried the long sets of 100's and 200's. Other tips I've tried over the years are being well hydrated and doing lots of stretching. I'm always well hydrated and still cramped, and the stretching had no affect either. I basically think for me it is a simple matter of training harder. If you do a set of 10 100's and then rest for a few minutes, you lose the cumulative effect that you will get by doing 30 in a row.