Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 43

Thread: what does it take to swim big distance?

  1. #1
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    8

    Question what does it take to swim big distance?

    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.

  2. #2
    Age Grouper in Training jaadams1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wenatchee, WA
    Posts
    1,553
    Blog Entries
    833

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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.
    "Don't be upset by the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do." - K.A. Benthin

    Inland NW Top Ten & Records Chair, and Web-Dude
    www.inlandnwmasters.org

  3. #3
    Active Member geog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    86

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    what open water distances have you swum so far?
    swimith

  4. #4
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    218

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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

  5. #5
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    hudson valley, ny
    Posts
    1,727
    Blog Entries
    155

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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/outdo...cid=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

  6. #6
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    8

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1 View Post
    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......

  7. #7
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    218

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by SenecaSwim View Post
    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.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    hudson valley, ny
    Posts
    1,727
    Blog Entries
    155

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by SenecaSwim View Post
    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

  9. #9
    Very Active Member ViveBene's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,862

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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

    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).

  10. #10
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    8

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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!

  11. #11
    Very Active Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    218

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by SenecaSwim View Post
    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

  12. #12
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    hudson valley, ny
    Posts
    1,727
    Blog Entries
    155

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by SenecaSwim View Post
    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.

  13. #13
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    16

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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.

  14. #14
    Very Active Member geochuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Vancouver British Columbia Canada
    Posts
    6,504

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    One of my favorite Long distance guys Herman Willemse used to say swim 1 hr 2hrs 3hrs never more then 5 hrs.
    Keep it simple George Park
    New swimsuit styles http://www.swimdownhill.com

  15. #15
    Participating Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    8

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    thanks everybody for the feedback and GREAT INFO! I hope to get the opp. to increase my practice yards. I will post any updates.

  16. #16
    Very Active Member Rykno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Vxj, Sweden
    Posts
    690

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by evmo View Post
    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.

  17. #17
    Very Active Member E=H2O's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Lake Oswego, OR
    Posts
    496

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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.
    "If you didn't swallow water in your last open water race, you weren't racing."

    www.bobswims.com/

  18. #18
    Very Active Member Kevin in MD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    463

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member Kevin in MD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    463

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    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.

  20. #20
    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    hudson valley, ny
    Posts
    1,727
    Blog Entries
    155

    Re: what does it take to swim big distance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rykno View Post
    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.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. New USMS Fitness Event: Go the Distance!
    By marysweat in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 110
    Last Post: February 16th, 2007, 01:06 PM
  2. Sprinter, middle distance or distance?
    By Jeff Commings in forum General Swimming-Related Discussions
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: November 9th, 2005, 10:35 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •