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Thread: Question for Marathon swimmers

  1. #1
    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Question for Marathon swimmers

    I have a question for marathon swimmers...
    I've been prepping for a 10k swim that I'll be doing this coming Saturday. I live in coastal southern New England. I really began training in late Feb or Early March by doing longer pool swims. Once the open waters warmed up enough for wetsuits, I moved outside in late May/early June. I completed a full 10k+ with my kayaker today and practiced feeding/drinking him. I feel ready. In the future, I'd like to maintain fitness for doing swims of this long, and longer. But my question is...how do you maintain fitness for doing swims of this distance through winter? I just don't know if I can handle six months of long pool swims.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Morning Dan! When I'm training and trying to stay in decent shape for training, I try to get in 4500-5500 on a long weekend swim consistently, just to keep the endurance up. If you're able to do that, you should have shorter ramp-up period for next spring's events. There are a few workout forums that have good distance workouts that help get that mileage in and break it up in good chunks. Or you can piecemeal some together to make it work for you.

    Good luck on your race next weekend! Let your arms/body relax as much as possible this week. Just keep loose.
    Kari Kennedy

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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Dan,

    How long did your 10K swim take? That will be part of the determining factor.

    It is not necessary to do alot of non-stop swims as you lead up to 10K or longer. BUT, you do have to put in the volume. When I was training for 10Ks, most of my regular practices were 5-6,000. I would do a longer practice every other week (20 x 400, 40 x 200, 80 x 100) taking only 15-20 sec rest between repeats. This was more than adequate to have my body ready for the distance. You can also do timed swim sets like 4 x 30 minutes w/ 1 minute rest which mirrors your feeding times as well.

    Then, 1x per month, I would do a 2 hour non-stop swim (my 10K time was around 2:20 at the time). This worked even for the 15K swim I did back in 2011.

    If you can find someone to do these with, it will be easier and more enjoyable.

    Good Luck this next week.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Wind and Fly...thanks for the responses. During the cold weather, I did do several of the type of workouts that Wind suggested...4x2000m, 4x :30 minutes, etc....drinking/eating and resting no more than a minute between. It's just those non-stop 5k+ swims in the pool are more a of mental test than endurance test. My 10k yesterday (7/28) was a bit over 3-hours. Time in the open water seems to fly by. Not so much in the pool. Maybe in the pool (winter) I should just swim intervals of time instead of a specific distance. I guess it's the counting of lengths/laps that is so monotonous. So what if I'm off my a lap or two.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Yes, doing some interval training over the winter can help you pick up your speed over distance. Going straight through is good for mental test, but if you're just slogging the miles just to get it done it can be just teaching you to swim at that slower pace. Emily has some great distance workouts (the ones I mentioned in the post above) that you can modify/tweak based on how much mileage you want to get done. I really enjoy her workouts, have saved several that I particularly like, and they really helped while getting ready for Swim the Suck 10m last year. http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay....ly-Von-Jentzen
    Kari Kennedy

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    Very Active Member miklcct's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    I have a similar problem as well. After doing my first marathon swimming this month I'm looking forward to longer races next year (probably at 21 km). However as I live and race in different parts of the world, due to climate reason I will do most of the training in winter when the ocean temperature where I live is only 16C - 19C, which is the expected temperature of the race.

    However, the race in the different part of the world is in August, which I have two problems:

    1. I don't have any cold water to swim in starting from April, which I afraid I will lose my acclimation over 5 months. This year in July when I got into 17C water in my trip I didn't feel very comfortable even after consistent swimming in 18C - 19C over the past winter until March.
    2. As the water become hotter, I'm afraid that I may even have trouble keeping my swim volume and intensity in the final months before the race because I fatigue and burn out very fast in 30C water.

    Speed is not a concern in that race. Is there anyone here who have similar experience racing in other parts of the world with very different climate from where you live?
    Michael Tsang - software developer & orienteer

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    Very Active Member Kurt Dickson's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    I've done 17 marathon swims. I guess everybody is different. My winter volume is not that high (3-4k per day with a 7k or so once per week--not this year). When I get within a few months, I'll try to get out for a 5 miler with a kayaker once per week. As far as cold acclimation goes, I find it impossible living in Arizona. For the English Channel, I got 20 lbs of ice and threw it in the tub (I got up to about 2 hours) but didn't find it helped much. I find for both distance and cold, I just suck it up on race day which is probably not that great of a strategy.

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Congrats on your swim, Dan. That was rough.

    You saw how slow I am, so not sure I'm the one to give advice, but can't pass it up.

    Saturday was my 9th swim of 10k or longer distance, and I'm at 44% DNF rate. And I'm fine with that. I learn a lot from every DNF. But besides that, my personal and professional life is such that I get as much swimming in as I can handle. Some weeks that means 3000 yards total, and some weeks that means 15,000 with 2-3 days of weights. It all depends.

    Some things, though, are constant for me: I try to swim the same number of minutes I think I'll spend in the marathon in the fourth or third week out from the event. For example, four weeks prior to my Issyk Kul swim, I swam 6 hours and 2 minutes for the week. (I had access only to a 7m long pool, so all my training FOR TWO YEARS was on straps around my ankles.) When the event came, I ended swimming it in, you guessed it, 6:02!

    I also in general don't taper. I don't swim enough between events to worry about having to decrease volume. If I have had a good couple of weeks leading up to the event, like 8-10 miles for a few weeks in a row, then yes, I'll reduce that a bit prior to the race. But that's rare in my life.

    Over the winter, I don't do much different. I still aim for 3-4k per swim. One thing I have done differently the past two years is weight-lifting. I found in years back that my lower back was my Achilles heel wrt long swims (~4 hours +) so I set about to strengthen my core. I started in January 2018 and swim season of 2018 I had some great swims. (I lifted 3x a week up to late June then only 2x a week. Started back to 3x a week in October after Swim the Suck.) So over the winter, I put in 3x per week swimming sessions and 3x per week lifting. My swimming sessions anyway are mostly distance tolerance (3 or 4 x 1000 after w/u), that sort of thing. I did start USRPT back in Feb I think, but haven't done that consistently enough to know if it will do anything for me.

    In the end, I do these because I like the challenge. And as long as there are liberal cut-off times like Saturday's, I'll keep doing them!

    See ya next time I'm down at McCorrie!
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Mike

    Thanks for your comments. But I think you're making too much of the time you swam at the Beavertail swim. It was 10k+ and you finished it. That's impressive and all that matters. There really aren't many people who can fathom doing a swim of that distance.

    In regard to McCorrie swims. I hope we can meet up there again before the the end of our open water season. Another friend who swims with me there now wants to do a swim that would go from Island Park (three miles directly north of McCorrie Pt)...south to Second Beach in Middletown....right past McCorrie Pt. That'd be an eleven-plus mile swim. Not much support would be needed (some though) since we'd be along the shoreline the whole way. Not sure if she wants to attempt that this summer or next. All I can say right now is that after Beavertail I'm not feeling like swimming. Maybe next week. And maybe we can do that swim in September. See ya soon, Mike.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member miklcct's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtyson View Post
    Congrats on your swim, Dan. That was rough.

    You saw how slow I am, so not sure I'm the one to give advice, but can't pass it up.

    Saturday was my 9th swim of 10k or longer distance, and I'm at 44% DNF rate. And I'm fine with that. I learn a lot from every DNF. But besides that, my personal and professional life is such that I get as much swimming in as I can handle. Some weeks that means 3000 yards total, and some weeks that means 15,000 with 2-3 days of weights. It all depends.
    44% DNF rate?! I would have already given up the sport already. As you mentioned on the other forum, cut-offs scare me as well and I don't want getting a DNF after a year of training sacrificing all my social life and entrepreneurial plan.
    Last edited by miklcct; August 6th, 2019 at 05:20 AM.
    Michael Tsang - software developer & orienteer

    https://miklcct.com/

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
    44% DNF rate?! I would have already given up the sport already. As you mentioned on the other forum, cut-offs scare me as well and I don't want getting a DNF after a year of training sacrificing all my social life and entrepreneurial plan.
    I learn something from every DNF. Why would I be a quitter? If you love doing something, do it, regardless of your times. Did you win every single orienteering event you entered? If not, why didn't you quit the sport?
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    In regard to McCorrie swims. I hope we can meet up there again before the the end of our open water season. Another friend who swims with me there now wants to do a swim that would go from Island Park (three miles directly north of McCorrie Pt)...south to Second Beach in Middletown....right past McCorrie Pt. That'd be an eleven-plus mile swim. Not much support would be needed (some though) since we'd be along the shoreline the whole way. Not sure if she wants to attempt that this summer or next. All I can say right now is that after Beavertail I'm not feeling like swimming. Maybe next week. And maybe we can do that swim in September. See ya soon, Mike.

    Dan
    I'm looking now at a Tue, Wed, or Thu next week, or the last week of August.

    Um, that 11 mile swim, you talking about that one maybe in September, or do you mean a swim at McCorrie? That swim your friend is planning sounds interesting...are you talking about Bridget?
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by miklcct View Post
    I don't want getting a DNF after a year of training sacrificing all my social life and entrepreneurial plan.
    What? You're sacrificing everything else in your life to swim... as a complete beginner?

    I can tell you for a fact that even the most elite swimmers have lives outside of the sport.

    Sorry to participate in the threadjack, this is struck me as really off.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Granted I only do one 10K per year to go along with a handful of 5K's, but during winter, I only train on interval sets and don't do any long swims. For me, the long swim is more mental than physical prep. Even in the heat of open water season, I only do long pool swims of 5K or greater 3 or 4 times.

    A 5K in a pool is tougher than a 10K in open water mentally, I think. Nothing to do but count laps. Whereas in open water, the scenery changes and I can leave the counting to my Garmin.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtyson View Post
    I'm looking now at a Tue, Wed, or Thu next week, or the last week of August.

    Um, that 11 mile swim, you talking about that one maybe in September, or do you mean a swim at McCorrie? That swim your friend is planning sounds interesting...are you talking about Bridget?
    No, not Bridget. I have a friend/swimming partner in the neighborhood (she's in the SOS group too). She and I frequently swim at McCorrie. She has suggested we do a swim along the shoreline from the McCorrie Point area in Portsmouth, south to Second Beach (aka Sachuest Beach) in Middletown. It's around 11 miles. But I think she's talking about this for next summer.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member miklcct's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    What? You're sacrificing everything else in your life to swim... as a complete beginner?

    I can tell you for a fact that even the most elite swimmers have lives outside of the sport.

    Sorry to participate in the threadjack, this is struck me as really off.
    This is an exaggeration, orienteering still remains my first priority as I was a national team member.

    However, if I am training for trail orienteering and marathon swimming, and learning a foreign language at the same time holding a full time job, it won't be possible for me to have social life or execute any entrepreneurial plan.
    Michael Tsang - software developer & orienteer

    https://miklcct.com/

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    No, not Bridget. I have a friend/swimming partner in the neighborhood (she's in the SOS group too). She and I frequently swim at McCorrie. She has suggested we do a swim along the shoreline from the McCorrie Point area in Portsmouth, south to Second Beach (aka Sachuest Beach) in Middletown. It's around 11 miles. But I think she's talking about this for next summer.

    Dan
    Oooh, oooh! Interesting...
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    No, not Bridget. I have a friend/swimming partner in the neighborhood (she's in the SOS group too). She and I frequently swim at McCorrie. She has suggested we do a swim along the shoreline from the McCorrie Point area in Portsmouth, south to Second Beach (aka Sachuest Beach) in Middletown. It's around 11 miles. But I think she's talking about this for next summer.
    Dan
    What is the SOS group?

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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    The Sachuest Ocean Swimmers group originated about 10 years ago. Mike Garr and, to a lesser extent, I coordinated regular group swims and communications via email and the Sachuest Ocean Swimmers Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SachuestOceanSwimmers/. I am now more involved with other groups but Mike continues to coordinate SOS, which has a devoted following of friends and acquaintances.

    During those first few years there were regularly scheduled 4:30pm and 5:30pm weekday swims at southward-facing Second Beach (Middletown, RI) and weekly Sunday morning swims from First Beach (Newport) to Second Beach around Tuckerman's Point. People also coordinated ad hoc swims at other times via the FB page.

    The group has gradually changed with people now swimming more regularly at Mackeral Cove (Jamestown) as well as a smaller group of people meeting at Second Beach and elsewhere in the Newport/Jamestown area, including the McCorrie Point area (Sakonnet River estuary) in Portsmouth.

    The current regulars in the SOS group largely swim for recreation, mindfulness and the pleasure of each others' company without worrying much about pace or times, as depicted by their mantra "Swim Well Seek Peace." Some pick one or more distance-oriented goals each year to set their sites on, like the Jamestown "Beavertail 10K," which is not a race per se but rather an expedition-type swim consisting of 8 or 10 SOS swimmers with boat support.

    SOS is friendly, welcoming and supportive of others of all abilities. However, if you're a very fast (relative, I know), competitive swimmer or triathlete who likes to go for it every time you get in the water, then you might want to seek a more competitive group.

    There are other open water groups such as the Barrington Open Open Water Nadadores (BOWN) at Barrington Beach in upper Narragansett Bay and the Narragansett Ocean Swimming Enthusiasts (NOSE) at Narragansett Town Beach -- the latter is a beautiful eastward-facing open ocean venue with perhaps the cleanest water around this area. NOSE is the largest OW group in New England that swims regularly (4x week) -- and in midsummer there can be up to 90 swimmers, which allows for pods of various speeds/abilities.

    For more info/links/contacts see http://swimri.org/practice-schedules and scroll to the open water group info at the bottom of the page.
    Last edited by dsayles; August 21st, 2019 at 03:29 PM.

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    Re: Question for Marathon swimmers

    Swimming up/down the Sakonnet River estuary and/or around Sachuest Point can be exhilarating. It is absolutely beautiful and for a strong swimmer not that strenuous on a placid day, but it can be dangerous for even the strongest swimmers if you get caught in unexpected conditions such as contaminated water (nearby beaches are occasionally closed due to runoff issues), suddenly changing winds/tide/surf (for instance if the swim takes longer than planned) or if you are unfamiliar with the rock formations or encounter marine life or inattentive boaters. Train and plan accordingly with appropriate safety support and exit strategies.

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