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Thread: training for marathon open water swim

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    training for marathon open water swim

    I am preparing for stage 1 of the 8 bridges swim in the Hudson River. It is 18.3 miles. I have been doing 4,000 yards 5 days a week, then, adding a long swim on the weekends. I plan on adding yardage to that long swim each week. My question is, what should be my yardage/mile goal for the last long swim before the race? Would it make sense to swim 2 a days? I live in Pittsburgh, Pa, so, open water swims is not an option until May...any suggestions for preparation would be welcome. Thank you. Judy

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Hi Judy. Good luck to you! That's going to be a heck of a swim. You can do it! I've done a few long swims over the past few years and have had success in a couple different ways training.

    When I did Swim Around Key West, I gradually built the miles with long swims on the weekends, just like you're doing. I'd go up a bit each weekend for 3 weeks, then the 4th weekend, cut it back by about half. For instance, my Saturdays would be 4k, 5k, 6k, then back down to something like 4.5k and build up again the next 4 week cycle again. You can also consider doing it by time where you add another 15 minutes or so each week until you build up. For Key West, which is a 20k, the max I went up to was 16k/4ish hours about 4 weeks before the race, then tapered. You might want to consider getting up to 5-6 hours on your longest swim before taper.

    Another option, like you'd mentioned, is to add workouts during the week. This last race, about 8 weeks before the race, I started doing 2x/days twice a week (Tues/Thurs). My coach had me doing speed on those mornings and easy distance in the evenings. They'd total around 6-7k/day on these. And then on the weekends, we'd increase the yardage on Saturdays, but not as drastically.

    Overall, you should plan for a set weekly yardage total, and break it up however it makes sense. And looking at all the yardage you'll be doing, you should probably consider giving yourself 2 rest days/week. I take Fridays off before the long day, then always Sundays. You don't want to injure yourself with overuse.

    I have a Samsung Galaxy and it has an app built into it that measures heart rate. Every morning during heavy training, as soon as I woke up, I'd take my resting heart rate (RHR) before getting out of bed. My normal rate is in the low 50s and I could tell when I was getting to the point of overtraining when the RHR was getting into the upper 60s/low 70s. Those days, it was a slog and the miles were useless, so I learned that the body was telling me to take a rest day. You might consider tracking it if you can to find out your own patterns.

    Good luck to you. And enjoy seeing that same bandaid at the bottom of the pool 180 times.

    One last thing. Google Marathon Swimmers Forum. There is a lot of great information out there about feeds, training, the race itself, etc.
    Last edited by flystorms; March 7th, 2017 at 09:50 AM.
    "If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it." - Jonathan Winters, actor and comedian

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Thank you, for all that great info; it is helpful. I tend to be head strong, so, it is important that I remember to rest and recover! I like the idea of checking heart rate, too.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    You impress me greatly! Good luck in you quest! My longest was 5 miles.

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    judy,
    you need to be talking with people that do those kinds of events.

    those that have done english channel or race around manhatten island or similar

    not those of us that pee in the pool.

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Thx! But 5 miles is nothing to sneeze at! Congrats to you as well!

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    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    I cringe at the very thought of swimming in the Hudson. I grew up at a time when the river was an open sewer and one would not even go near the water's edge for the stink of it. And I was 150 miles upstream from NYC. It only got worse as you went south. It can still be a bit dicey in spots but everything below Tappan Zee gets washed by the tides.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Have you posted in the open water forum?? They might have more info for you to use.

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    I swim in the rivers of Pittsburgh, Pa...so...guess the Hudson doesn't daunt me in that way!!

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Thank you, I will do try that avenue! You all have been great! I am new to this forum-posting-stuff!

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    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    I haven't actually DONE the swim yet, but I am starting to train for longer distances. Not quite as long as 18.3, but 6.2 is fairly measureable. I think it depends on how the rest of your week is scheduled with the mileages you need to get up to for your long swim. I was reading some more experienced open water swimmers saying you can double up with good results if doing a swim in one chunk is tough to schedule, so 6 miles Saturday morning, then 6 miles Saturday evening is a possible strategy. But I don't know what the preferred strategy is. If I tripled my current plan, to get to your end goal, it would put me at a 15.3 miles long swim for my peak week (it's actually about a 9,000y swim for me). However, I plan on doing one steady easy open water swim (once the weather is tolerable) PLUS one long aerobic interval pool swim most weeks. So, in my peak week, I'm also doing an 8,000 yard pool swim, which is an amount almost equal to my long swim. I think at this point though, you might not want to think about what mileage you need to hit vs. what mileage you can hit during your peak week. Meaning, if you are at X miles right now for your long swim, don't just ramp up to what the ideal target is, ramp up only at a rate where you can handle the training without becoming over trained. Hopefully by now, you've figured out how much yardage or intensity you can add per week without breaking yourself. Stick with that.

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Don't forget to develop your feeding strategy too. Swimsuit Addict did that swim a few years back and blogged about the swim and her training. You should be able to bring it up in the usms blog section.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Thank you...good luck to you with your six mile swim!

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Thanks, I will check out her blog!

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Hi Judy,

    I'm not sure if you have yet, but I'll second the suggestion to post on Marathon Swimmers Forum. There are a few people there who are training for various stages and their advice can be invaluable. Search the archive there as well for training tips.

    Have a great swim, it's a fantastic event, I did Stage 6 last year and had a blast and am wait-listed for Stage 7 (basically zero chance of getting in).

    Lyn

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Quote Originally Posted by m2tall2 View Post
    ... But I don't know what the preferred strategy is. If I tripled my current plan, to get to your end goal, it would put me at a 15.3 miles long swim for my peak week (it's actually about a 9,000y swim for me). However, I plan on doing one steady easy open water swim (once the weather is tolerable) PLUS one long aerobic interval pool swim most weeks. So, in my peak week, I'm also doing an 8,000 yard pool swim, which is an amount almost equal to my long swim...
    Michelle, which 10k are you doing? And yes, your peak should be around 8500-9000, then do a 2-3 week taper that works for you. Good luck!
    "If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it." - Jonathan Winters, actor and comedian

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Thank for the reply..a lot of good info...have added one 2 X day per week with a long one on the weekend and one day that I don't swim, I have added a dry land...you all have been so helpful..thank you.

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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Oh, wow..thanks, Lyn. Yeah, I got waitlisted for stage 6, then, I saw an opening in stage one and quickly entered it..hope you get off the waitlist!

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    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: training for marathon open water swim

    Quote Originally Posted by flystorms View Post
    Michelle, which 10k are you doing? And yes, your peak should be around 8500-9000, then do a 2-3 week taper that works for you. Good luck!
    Thanks! I'm doing Kingdom Swim in Newport VT. I've been hearing wonderful things about it and it sounds like a lot of fun.

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