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Thread: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways?

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    How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways?

    So a quick history. I've been a competitive swimmer for most of my life. Outside of stopping for a few years post shoulder surgery when I was about 21, I've always kept it up. I liked swimming in lakes etc, but never competed open water.

    Older now (61) and my back is really messed up, with nerve issues disc degeneration scoliosis etc, which really put a dent in my ability to swim and cross train.
    I had severe leg pain due to nerve issues in my back, which I managed with Ai's and CT guided injections.

    In the past I have always enjoyed open water swimming, when we traveled to the Caribbean etc. Especially if it is choppy or the surf is going. Never competed in OW. I think even as a kid I rarely entered the 1500 free.
    Still in 2018 I traveled to Brisbane for the Pan Pacific Masters and instead of simply doing in-pool races, I decided to enter the 1K open water on a whim.

    The first day I went to practice on the beach, the waves and current was so strong, I could not get off the shore. Fast forward a week on competition day the ocean was calmer. Even so two people were taken away by ambulance (one knee, one ankle) from getting smashed by the waves at the start.
    Even though the waves and current were wicked, I found it exhilarating and loved it.


    Lucky for me I was able to find a good physio, orthopaedic surgeon, and neurosurgeon. I postponed my surgery until after that competition

    Shortening the saga, I am almost 5 months post lumbar surgery and doing really well. I am convinced that if it were not for swimming, I would not be as far along in recovery as I am. (did easy flip turns 2 months postop)


    This past month we traveled to Turks, and thanks to my brand new apple watch, I was able to track my time and distance for the open water swims and swam 2.5-3k almost every other day. I loved it and really challenged myself. I got faster every day but didn't realize how much better in shape I was getting until I got home.

    When I jumped back in the pool, after only 2 weeks (which was supposed to be a vacation) my Asthma was better, my fitness was better than I have been for probably 6-7 years.

    SO How do you all replicate that open water feeling and intensity when you train in pool or elsewhere? Do you do anything else, and other fitness work?

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    With a wall happening every 25/50 yds/mts it's difficult at best, I'd say. BUT, I have been thinking about trying to convince my pool manager (I also lifeguard there a couple shifts per week)...to try having one or two sessions a week where we take the lanelines out, float a small buoy ten feet out from each corner, and just swim circuit laps that don't require stopping at a wall and doing a flip or open turn.

    Dan

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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    With a wall happening every 25/50 yds/mts it's difficult at best, I'd say. BUT, I have been thinking about trying to convince my pool manager (I also lifeguard there a couple shifts per week)...to try having one or two sessions a week where we take the lanelines out, float a small buoy ten feet out from each corner, and just swim circuit laps that don't require stopping at a wall and doing a flip or open turn.

    Dan
    I like your suggestion Dan.

    That would be fun, but they'd probably want us to rent the whole pool. It's tough enough dodging breaststrokers in the fast-lane or people who have poor lane etiquette when they open up the 50m lanes.
    I just find that I am a bit lazier in the pool and don't push myself as much as I did OW.

    The masters club I used to belong to, if they did middle or long distance workouts (that I like/need) probably their attendance would drop. Most other people hate doing the more monotonous swims.

    I just wondered if anyone has had success replicating the intensity with running or cross fit or anything like that.

    Cheers

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    I"m a big fan of Coach Emily's High Volume workouts on the workout forum. You can tailor them to get the mileage you need for OW and distance. She does a good mix of straight through as well as longer sets with speed built in. They'll get you ready for anything.

    As far as trying to simulate OW, it's so hard. When I lived in TX, I'd try to work out in the lane right next to the kids because they cause so much splashing and churn, it replicates the waves and bounciness of the water well. If you're able to do that, even for an hour or so, it helps. Also, something you might want to consider is not doing turns off the wall, but flipping or changing direction just before the walls. You'll short yourself a bit of distance each lap, but it gives you some work on building back your speed from a near stop.
    Kari Kennedy

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    There's info out there on the Internet under "pool open water swimming" or POWS. USMS has an old article on it somewhere. Steve Munatones wrote about it in his book, Open Water Swimming.

    Back when I was coaching triathletes we'd occasionally take out one of the lane lines from our two lanes (LCM) and place a buoy or a coach (me floating on a kickboard) at the far end and make the triathletes do buoy turns. When I was out there floating, I'd move so that the triathletes could practice sighting.

    If you can get your pool to agree to remove some lane lines, like @ForceDJ states above, you can set up a POWS course. Even if you can get one lane line out and swim next to some other swimmers, you'll get some of that feeling of the waves, as @flystorms says above. Also, if you can get someone to swim with you and you guys have the entire lane, do some buddy swimming. One of you starts and immediately the other one does, and the second swimmer keeps their head between the shoulders and hips of the first swimmer, swimming right next to each other. Do a length or lap, then switch who is in the lead. That's good drafting practice. You can also do it on each other's toes and again, if you're the only ones in the lane, then you can also practice passing.

    Another thing to do if you're alone: On the "far" end of your lap, don't push off the wall. Flip a couple yards before the wall, then you have to get your momentum again. You can also start long sets not pushing off the wall: hover yourself in the water horizontally, basically scull in place, then when you start, kick like crazy to get going, just like in an open water swim race.

    Good luck!
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

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

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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by mjtyson View Post
    There's info out there on the Internet under "pool open water swimming" or POWS. USMS has an old article on it somewhere. Steve Munatones wrote about it in his book, Open Water Swimming.

    Back when I was coaching triathletes we'd occasionally take out one of the lane lines from our two lanes (LCM) and place a buoy or a coach (me floating on a kickboard) at the far end and make the triathletes do buoy turns. When I was out there floating, I'd move so that the triathletes could practice sighting.

    If you can get your pool to agree to remove some lane lines, like @ForceDJ states above, you can set up a POWS course. Even if you can get one lane line out and swim next to some other swimmers, you'll get some of that feeling of the waves, as @flystorms says above. Also, if you can get someone to swim with you and you guys have the entire lane, do some buddy swimming. One of you starts and immediately the other one does, and the second swimmer keeps their head between the shoulders and hips of the first swimmer, swimming right next to each other. Do a length or lap, then switch who is in the lead. That's good drafting practice. You can also do it on each other's toes and again, if you're the only ones in the lane, then you can also practice passing.

    Another thing to do if you're alone: On the "far" end of your lap, don't push off the wall. Flip a couple yards before the wall, then you have to get your momentum again. You can also start long sets not pushing off the wall: hover yourself in the water horizontally, basically scull in place, then when you start, kick like crazy to get going, just like in an open water swim race.

    Good luck!

    Thanks for the resources and suggestions.

    Luckily enough there is a local outdoor pool that is very long (swam there today as my usual pool is closed for maintenance)
    It's kind of a long ways, but it was a good swim. The length is 137m. Unfortunately it's only open for another week. No waves to contend with, but a good pace pool.



    T

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    Very Active Member Sumorunner's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    I live in northern New York state, so our open water season is 12-16 weeks. One must become enured to pool workouts or simply quit the sport. OWS is a seasonal treat I dream about for 3/4 of the year..

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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Jack, don't quit! Use the rest of the year to stay strong for your OW season. Don't give up! I like to put a spring OWS on the calendar to have something to look forward to through the winter, even though it's pool training. Miami has a nice 5k/10k race in April-ish.
    Kari Kennedy

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Another option is to get a swim tether. This allows you to swim constantly, for hours if you wish, without any turns to break your rhythm. The downside of tethers is there is a different feel for the water when swimming in place then when swimming through the water.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Another option is to get a swim tether. This allows you to swim constantly, for hours if you wish, without any turns to break your rhythm. The downside of tethers is there is a different feel for the water when swimming in place then when swimming through the water.
    I trained for two years in a 7-meter pool on a tether, resulting in my successful crossing of the second largest alpine lake in the world, Issyk Kul, in Kyrgyzstan. Only 8.5 miles, but at just over 5000 feet elevation (gasp for breath!). Tethers work. I'm a big fan. (Still use them in hotel pools when traveling.)
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

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

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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Copeland View Post
    Another option is to get a swim tether. This allows you to swim constantly, for hours if you wish, without any turns to break your rhythm. The downside of tethers is there is a different feel for the water when swimming in place then when swimming through the water.
    Great suggestion, for sure.



    Quote Originally Posted by mjtyson View Post
    I trained for two years in a 7-meter pool on a tether, resulting in my successful crossing of the second largest alpine lake in the world, Issyk Kul, in Kyrgyzstan. Only 8.5 miles, but at just over 5000 feet elevation (gasp for breath!). Tethers work. I'm a big fan. (Still use them in hotel pools when traveling.)
    That's amazing. Do you have any links for the swim tethers? I assume they hook up to your waist as opposed to feet?
    I really like the idea of a tether for hotel pools etc. That is a really helpful suggestion!


    I am going back to the 137m pool tonight, and as many days as I can get in until it closes on the 15th. I have an eye surgery booked in 1 1/2 weeks so that will keep me out of the water for at least a week post surgery.

    Thanks everyone for your input, it's been a super-helpful thread.

    Cheers

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by riptide View Post
    That's amazing. Do you have any links for the swim tethers? I assume they hook up to your waist as opposed to feet?
    I really like the idea of a tether for hotel pools etc. That is a really helpful suggestion!
    I used these. They hook to your feet. Only thing I'd suggest is if you're a barely-kicker (like me) then these are easier to use with a pull buoy.

    Here's my review from many years ago.
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

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

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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by riptide View Post
    I assume they hook up to your waist as opposed to feet?
    They have tethers that attach at the waist and those that attach at the feet. I much prefer the ones that attach at the waist, these allow you to kick normally and don't artificially elevate your feet.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    I have been thinking about trying to convince my pool manager (I also lifeguard there a couple shifts per week)...to try having one or two sessions a week where we take the lanelines out, float a small buoy ten feet out from each corner, and just swim circuit laps that don't require stopping at a wall and doing a flip or open turn.

    Dan
    The pool mgr gave use the tentive go ahead for this...pending her approval of the dates (in early Oct). Our plan is to set the 25m pool up in such a way that one circuit lap is equal to between 55m and 60m. With all the lane lines removed, and several buoys marking the course, the circuit will be the 2m width of a traditional lane, using lanes 1 and 6 for the length of the pool, and across the ends of the pool. That should be wide enough to allow passing. It will take about +/- 27 laps to complete about a mile (1609m). The first one or two sessions are going to be on an invite only basis with a dozen or so swimmers just so we can see how it goes. In addition to the posted swimming pool rules, I came up with a few other rules that we'll want followed for this evolution. I'd also like to hear any other suggestion any of you might have to make this work better.

    ** In addition to the posted "Swimming Pool Rules" please observe the following rules for circuit lap swimming **
    - Check for oncoming swimmers before entering/re-entering the circuit.
    - Swim only in the designated direction.
    - You may swim any stroke/style. But, be cognizant of your stroke/kick near others.
    - Stay to the RIGHT except to pass a slower swimmer on their LEFT. Before starting your pass, look to ensure you are not being passed. Make sure you have sufficient space in front of the swimmer before moving back to the right in front of them.
    - Resting/Stopping: For personal safety, you may stop at any time. For general resting, or intervals, immediately move to the "infield," or to an extreme corner, so as not to interfere with the smooth flow of continuous swimming.
    - You may swim laps in the 'infield' if you feel that the pace of swimming on the main circuit is too fast. Please do not interfere with the continuous flow of swimming on the main circuit.

    Dan

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    Re: How ro replicate Open Water training in pool, other ways

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    The pool mgr gave use the tentive go ahead for this...pending her approval of the dates (in early Oct). Our plan is to set the 25m pool up in such a way that one circuit lap is equal to between 55m and 60m. ......

    . Please do not interfere with the continuous flow of swimming on the main circuit.

    Dan
    Sounds like you have fairly cooperative pool manager, that's awesome!

    On the home front, today was the last day of opening for the 137m pool. The weather has been poor/rainy so I only got in two more swims. Tuesday was butterfly, today I got in a really well paced swim. I really enjoyed this pool. Hope to swim there more consistently next season.

    I really benefited from the big pool and open water swims.

    I have eye surgery late this coming week, so that will keep me out of the water for a week or so, then an appointment with my orthopaedic surgeon. I am 5 months post-lumbar surgery now, so outside of a few questions, I am hoping for the all clear to ramp up training.

    Oh and the swim tether arrived so I am looking forward to giving that a go.

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