I joined the USMS FLOG (love the acronym...) at the end of January. I am excited about the prizes for various milestones! However, I noticed some people are already at 100 or 200 miles for the year. Holy moly! I thought I swam a lot! Are any of these people reading? Why such high yardage? How do you structure your week? Singles, doubles?
I'm not a member of USMS this year yet, so I'm not on the GTD list, but as of my count, I have just passed 100 miles as of today. I am at exactly 102.7. I do about 1 to 2 doubles a week, but I'm really getting my extra yardage from Sundays. So far this year, I haven't taken off any Sundays. I have always heard from most people that Sunday should be the one "break day" of the week, but I'm actually really liking this 7-day swimming week.
However, my yardage is going to take a nosedive on Monday, because taper time begins!
I swim with a USA-S age group team, and we average 5500-6500 per workout. I swim once a day, Mon-Fri, and sometimes get a Saturday practice in as well, depending on if I have to be at work for overtime. I like the OT for the $$$$, but I also like my swimming too. I'm currently at ~97 miles. Those over 200 miles for the year...who knows???
There are many possible reasons for people completing so much mileage so far. I was formally a member of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club in San Diego, CA. The vast majority of those swimmers are not only USMS members, but they are also channel swimmers. Many of them will easily knock out 5 ~ 10 miles a day during their weekday swims. Then, they knock about 20+ mile swims over the weekend. Some of them will knock out the same kind of mileage in the pool when the ocean is inhospitable. I also swam 5 miles a day in the pool when I was in San Diego as a member of the 500 mile club at North Island, where I used to work. The Master's swim clubs in San Diego are intense, so you can easily put in the miles there too. I know I have mentioned the situation that I was mostly exposed to in San Diego, but I had the opportunity to meet swimmers from around the world through the La Jolla Cove Swim Club. Also, there were lots of triathletes that had to put in the mileage. Anyway, I hope some of my explanation was helpful.
I know someone who is already over 100 miles for the year (he doesn't do GTD because he's not really a computer person). He does some meets and some open water, but really he just swims to swim. He just likes it for its own sake. He usually swims seven days a week. On weekdays, he gets in about 4000 yards and on weekends he frequently gets twice that or more in on both days. The part I think that is the coolest about this is that he only learned to swim about five years ago. Before that he couldn't swim a stroke.
"Librarians are hiding something." - Stephen Colbert
I'm almost at 70 miles for the year, and would have more but I started doing meets on the weekends. Before, I would do a couple of miles 3-4 times per week, throw in a couple of 2000-yard days for recovery, and then have a big monster day where I swam 4-6 miles. The mileage racks up pretty fast when you swim 7 days/week and one of them is a long-distance day. But looking at some of the workouts on the USMS blogs (like James's, for example), my schedule seems pretty light.
Ah, yeah I know someone in that La Jolla group. Good to know they're Channel swimmers; I had the idea that people were putting in that sort of mileage training for masters meets...
352 x 100 on 1:20 would take 469.20 minutes to complete, or 7.82 hours.
There are not that many pools around here where a person can get a lane where he or she doesn't need to circle swim and swim continuously for nearly 8 hours. More power to them, and more power to your swimming facilities out there, but I must say I find this a little hard to believe.
I also find myself wondering if at least some of the more prodigious mileages posted on GTD are "guestimates" of Open Water distances and/or done in one of the Endless Pool treadmill kind of thingies where exactitude is difficult to know for certain.
This said, my friend John Kuzmkowski, in first place overall as of yesterday (John Kuzmkowski M59 ALMT 303.69) swims all his yards in the Greensburg YMCA. Moreover, he is obsessively "moral" about his counts. If he loses count, he always goes back to the previous lap count rather than assuming he's done an extra one. His longest single day yardage to date, I am fairly certain, is 17,600 yards, or merely 176 x 100. His pace is slower than 1:20--I would guess he averaged somewhere between 1:30-1:40, and I think he split it up into a morning and an evening swimming session. Assuming he stuck to the slower, 1:40 pace, he could have completed (still prodigious) amount in 4.88 hours, or a bit under two, 2-and-1/2-hour sessions that day. This strikes me as a little easier to believe.
But who knows?
Maybe our east coast swimming nutcases are less nutty than your west coast swimming nutcases?
I agree with you Jim! But I imagine if you swim with an age group team, like I do, and many others, that you can easily get in 6-7,000 in a single workout (about 2 hours) So I suppose that's 5 miles a day. But how many grown ups with jobs, kids and mortgages have time to train more than that? Even triathletes limit their swim time because they have to run and bike! And perhaps you're right on the second part - those California guys might be a little off their rockers!
People who spend 2 hours a day practicing an instrument don't get asked, "Do you read?" "What do you do about work/life balance?"
Yes, the CA "nutcases" swim the Catalina Channel, the English Channel, the Maui Channel, etc. They love the challenge!
I will make the general point explicitly: people who decide to engage in an activity daily (especially a skill-building activity, though that is not under discussion here) and use their time efficiently in such pursuit are not nuts, psychos, skimping on their family's needs, have issues, and so forth, as this and another recent thread implied. I regret that Go the Distance should inspire such a conversation.
Just some quick calculations--let's say these top 1% folks are swimming two hours a day, seven days a week. That would conceivably be in the ballpark of 8000 yards a day (assuming they are swimming mostly free, and swimming moderate paced sets) and 56,000 yards a week. At 56,000 yards a week, that would put these folks at ~364,000 yards on the year (6.5 weeks x 56,000 yards). That comes out to ~207 miles year to date. That seems pretty achievable to me. To note, I'm not one of those folks, seeing as I'm only sitting at about 60 miles so far.
Still, going back to John K, his results seem pretty out there. He hit 200 miles on 1/30, and hit 311 on 2/13? 111 miles in 14 days? That would imply that he averaged ~13,950 yards a day. While that is certainly theoretically feasible, I personally find it a stretch to think that someone can spend 3-4 hours (or more, depending on their pace) in the pool day in and day out.
We've got an English Channel, former pro OW swimmer on our team, and a very heavy day for him tops out at around a 14,000, and he can't hit yardages like that every day. His average workout is around a 10,000, I believe. On the other end of the spectrum, the longest pool workout he's told me about was a 22,000 (10x1000, 8x1500), but he did that years ago.
Not to disparage any of the high mileage GTD swimmers, by any means! I just find it very peculiar that they can devote as much time in the pool day in and day out as their recorded distances would seem to require.