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  #1  
Old 12-16-2009
madvet madvet is offline
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Default 2-week swim contest

Every year Madison Masters has a contest that involves who can swim the farthest in the 14 days after Thanksgiving.

Last year, my first year, I did 101,000 yards. I thought I would have first place for sure. But someone else did 103,000 yards. Third place was 60,000.

This year, I was able to do 120,000. And that was with no swimming on 3 of the days -- 2 at the beginning, and 1 in the middle due to a blizzard.

The last 2 days I swam 18,000 yards and then 17,000 yards. Yes I was tired after that. But, other than a little fatigue then, I had no soreness, aches, or strains.

Last year, I had strained a shoulder before the contest started, so my main challenge was how to swim without putting much pressure on that shoulder. This year, I didn't have an injury to worry about, but I was very careful to follow proper form so I didn't cause an injury. This year, I mainly focused on streamlining and quietness.

For these long swims, it works well for me to monitor my times in 1000 yard intervals. Last year, my intervals started at 20 minutes, and the last couple of days were 23 or 24 minutes. This year, my intervals started at 17:30 and at the end, even after swimming almost 10 miles straight, my interval was 19:30.

I am not super in shape. Actually, I took a break from swimming from the end of August until this contest started, and I had gained 20 pounds. But swimming long distances like this is mostly about knowing how to swim efficiently and TI has helped me with that. During the long swims I never felt fatigued or out of breath. I only took a 5 minute break every 5,000 yards, no resting otherwise.

I have thought about entering one of the races at longer distances (10K or 25K). In general, Terry has not recommended training at long distances for open water events, but maybe if I am going to do one of these long ones I should do practices at 10,000 yards per session. I am not sure how many times a week would be optimal. In the past, during most of my training I focus on drills and focusing on form. I usually don't keep track of my distances, but I rarely go more than 3,000 yards or so.
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Old 12-16-2009
naj naj is offline
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"I have thought about entering one of the races at longer distances (10K or 25K). In general, Terry has not recommended training at long distances for open water events, but maybe if I am going to do one of these long ones I should do practices at 10,000 yards per session. I am not sure how many times a week would be optimal. In the past, during most of my training I focus on drills and focusing on form. I usually don't keep track of my distances, but I rarely go more than 3,000 yards or so."

First off, congrats John on a well deserved accomplishment. Man, 120,000 yards! Holy Cow, why don't you just swim to Hawaii while your at it hehe! If your going to a 10K (Like I recently did) its more about time in the water. How long can you stand the cold water. Sure, the distance is important, but i never did more than a mile or two to train and I was fine.

Also, if its in the ocean or a Bay get a good tide that can push you along. You'll still have to work but it's a lot of fun when your humming by landmarks and such.

If your in a lake more than likely you'll need to log some serious yards in the pool. A two-mile swim in the lake could take upwards an hour and a half, less buoyancy, and hardly any current. I'm preparing for a 10 mile solo across the width of Lake Tahoe. That will take me somewhere between 8-10hrs.

But whatever you do, just keep time in the water as the biggest thing (at least in my opinion), but don't neglect any aspect of open water training. Terry's book and Penny Lee Dean's are excellent resources for success in open water!

Naji
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  #3  
Old 12-17-2009
sasquatch sasquatch is offline
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Default less yardage more focus

I followed Terry's advice...last summer I set a goal to complete a 10k swim in Deer Creek reservoir near Provo, Utah. Between work, family and other commitments I could really only count on practice time from 5:00 to 6:30 each morning. I sometimes did some longer sets on Saturdays (I think 5,500 m was my longest) but typically swam 4-5 days a week for that 1.5 hour block and usually did a mix of drills/tempo trainer to get in 3,500-4,000 meters each time.

My goal for the 10k (my first open water race) was to finish in 2:45 or less. On the day of the race water temp was ~70, but wind, waves, rain, hail and snow (really) greeted us throughout the swim. For safety reasons most of the participants were pulled out of the water but 6 of us were able to finish the 10k. After veering off course several times my finish time was 3:15 (winner was ~2:20) but all things considered I was very happy with it. My shoulders were tired that afternoon/evening, but the next day I felt normal, just like I did each morning between my practice swims, and ready to go again.

I would love to have the time to put in 10,000 yd a practice session, but based on my experience I don't think you need it to complete a 10k race (competing might be a different story). If you practice how to use your energy efficiently you can stretch your distance when the time comes for it.

Last edited by sasquatch : 12-17-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2009
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
I would love to have the time to put in 10,000 yd a practice session, but based on my experience I don't think you need it to complete a 10k race (competing might be a different story). If you practice how to use your energy efficiently you can stretch your distance when the time comes for it.
The question of how far you should swim is one I answered by suggesting a "mojo standard" in my blog.

That focused more on how far in a repeat or set. How far in a practice can be influenced by your goal, the time available, and, well, physical issues. Personally a 10,000 yard pool session is not in the cards anymore. I get calf and foot cramps after about 3000 scy these days.

But in my book Extraordinary Swimming, I answered the question this way
Should I Increase Yardage?
A key principle of TI Training is that the primary reason for swimming more yards is to increase your opportunities to imprint efficient movement. You can make such a choice either to accelerate your learning process on a particular skill or deepen your muscle memory and make it more immune to breakdown as you swim farther or faster. Will fitness also increase as you do so? Yes it will, but your swimming will benefit most if skill improves along with fitness. So if increased yardage causes you to compromise the quality of your strokes, perhaps you shouldn’t do it. A mantra to guide you in all such questions is” “Never Practice Struggle.”
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2009
madvet madvet is offline
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Default Optimal distances

One thing I learned from my experience last year:
to get in enough yardage (last year), during the contest I skipped drills and went right to swimming. Fine. But then for the next several months after that, I got the "long yardage" bug and stopped any drilling. I wouldn't say I did not do "purposeful" swimming, I try to always do that. But I didn't slow down, take breaks, take time to have fun. After a couple of months I got so I felt really burnt out after swimming. I do this to relax and enjoy myself, I don't want to feel more stressed after getting out of the pool than I did before I got in.

So, I took a break for a couple of months in March through May. It turned out to be bad timing for my season. I spent most of the summer trying to get back in shape and trying to recover that "purposeful swimming" mindset. I went back to the basics and focused on drills. In July I did my fastest 1000 meter open water swim yet.

This time, I will be sure to not get overenthused about long yardage and focus on purposeful swimming with a mind to taking my streamlining and balance lessons I learned during my "long haul." And getting back to making my sessions relaxing and relieving stress instead of causing stress. Whether that includes a few 6,000 or 10,000 yard sessions I don't know yet.

My goal in doing this is as Terry said, to imprint good movement through many repetitions -- not to "pound out the yards." Thanks everyone for relating your experiences of the longer distances.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2009
Rhoda Rhoda is offline
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My only focus right now is to maintain a specific stroke count range and not go over it. If that means single lengths, that's what I do. No lap counting at all right now.
I'm hoping to move up to longer distances next summer as well, but I want to do it as efficiently as possible, & am willing to take as much time as needed to get there. I tend to get sloppy when I only add up increasingly longer swims.
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