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-   -   1.5K Olympic Open water Achievable? (http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/showthread.php?t=3414)

pennelldj 05-14-2012 04:11 PM

1.5K Olympic Open water Achievable?
 
Hi, basically I need some advice as to whats realistically achievable.
I have a place on a triathlon, olympic distance, this year, as a challenge to myself.

I literally can't swim, or couldn't but have been learning the past 4 weeks. I can't even swim a full 25 metres length in the pool yet, so want some advice as to whats achievable.

My dilemma is that, in 4 weeks I have to notify the triathlon if I want to defer my entry for next year. The triathlon is September 23rd, so basically want peoples honest advice as to whether its achievable or not in the timescale?

Any advice welcomed

Darren

Zanna 05-14-2012 05:15 PM

I would say this is achievable, but am concerned that after 4 weeks you cannot go 25 yards. Are you saying that you cannot maintain the freestyle for 25 yards (probably a breathing issue) or are you saying you cannot complete 25 yards in any fashion?

Perhaps, you should aim for a sprint distance, with a pool swim for your first endeavor.

When I was learning, I found that it was important to get to the pool at least 4x a week, even if for only twenty minutes. Going 2x a week for long sessions just did not give equivalent results.

pennelldj 05-14-2012 05:26 PM

Hi, yes its a breathing thing for me personally, sounds silly, I can doggy paddle lengths but i think its a breathing thing that stops me as I seem to be gasping for air.

Yes common sense is saying to do a pool based sprint, but then I feel like I've failed my big challenge.

andyinnorway 05-14-2012 06:39 PM

Its achievable if you want it to be, but obviously that may mean 12 hours a week for you or just a couple. It also depends on your other commitments etc etc.

My inclination would be to go for it, isn't that the point of triathlons really? that it is a physical challenge? The nearer you get to the date the better your focus will be.

I entered the great london swim last year and until 2 weeks before I was resting every 200m. Then in the last week of training my brain understood that I had to swim a mile and my body and brain got together and I managed.

Sometimes we need to set time specific goals.

What do you have to lose, your entry fee if you have to quit before getting to the bike?

Chrissie Wellington only entered her first triathlon as part of a work challenge, having been an average squad sprint swimmer at university. She won that, entered and ironman a short time later and broke the world record so feed off that sort of inspiration. all the best.

tomoy 05-14-2012 07:20 PM

I got to a mile, swimming 1-2 times/week, learning from the Freestyle DVD, in about 1 year. Mid 40's, 5'11", 170 lbs. I'm pretty coordinated and pick up sports quickly. I think your age will determine a lot.

So yeah, if you're youngish, can get into the pool 4-5 times/week and are disciplined, take a lot of videos and post them regularly for review here, you might make it. But beware - the fatality rate of triathaloners hitting the water is relatively high as sports go. The challenge mindset, testosterone, adrenaline, lack of experience all add up. Challenge yourself but be smart.

Ladyfish 05-15-2012 12:07 AM

Don't Rush It
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by pennelldj (Post 28088)
Hi, basically I need some advice as to whats realistically achievable.
I have a place on a triathlon, olympic distance, this year, as a challenge to myself.

I literally can't swim, or couldn't but have been learning the past 4 weeks. I can't even swim a full 25 metres length in the pool yet, so want some advice as to whats achievable.

My dilemma is that, in 4 weeks I have to notify the triathlon if I want to defer my entry for next year. The triathlon is September 23rd, so basically want peoples honest advice as to whether its achievable or not in the timescale?

Any advice welcomed

Darren

Hi Darren,

You must realize that there is a HUGE difference between being able to cover the race distance in the pool vs doing the same distance in a TRIATHLON! I teach open water skills to triathletes and my most common customer is a person that has had a traumatic experience in their first triathlon swim because they simply were not prepared for the rigors of open water swimming in a mob. I suggest you slow down and:

1. Set your sights on a super-sprint or sprint distance first.
2. Lean to swim (focusing on TI technique using the Perpetual Motion DVD, this forum, and if at all possible, a TI workshop) so you can cover at least 1.5 times the race distance nonstop, in comfort in the pool. This alone would take several months for an average beginner without a swimming background.
3. Read "Fearless Swimming For Triathletes" (sorry about the plug but this is my job!) and take an open water triathlon clinic in your area, several weeks before your race.
4. Assuming you have no panic issues in open water, swim the race distance in open water ( with a friend) with your wetsuit on, twice before race day...............THEN you will be ready.

This advice is conservative because the swim is a big problem in triathlons and non-swimming athletes simply don't understand what they are getting into. Here is a clip of the Ironman World Championship swim to give you a flavor of what it can be like....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5-Qtwv1BdI. Your race won't be as bad of course but please, do take this seriously.

ewa.swimmer 05-15-2012 12:24 AM

I have seen an ultra marathoner go from barely swimming 25 yds to swimming a mile in 5 days at a TI Open water camp in Kona a couple of years ago. If you are in good physical shape I think your goal is possible but not on your own. You need regular feedback from a TI coach.

grandall 05-15-2012 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pennelldj (Post 28088)
Hi, basically I need some advice as to whats realistically achievable.
I have a place on a triathlon, olympic distance, this year, as a challenge to myself.

I literally can't swim, or couldn't but have been learning the past 4 weeks. I can't even swim a full 25 metres length in the pool yet, so want some advice as to whats achievable.

My dilemma is that, in 4 weeks I have to notify the triathlon if I want to defer my entry for next year. The triathlon is September 23rd, so basically want peoples honest advice as to whether its achievable or not in the timescale?

Any advice welcomed

Darren

Hi Darren,
I do admire your courage!
My advice isn't meant to be a discouragement but more of a helpful opinion. I totally agree with Ladyfish's assesment.

First step - Learn to swim - 1-balance, 2- streamline, 3-propulsion.
Note- By swimming well you will swim efficeintly and conserve energy.
Enroll in a open water clinic.
Take some lessons from a coach.
Practice swimming in open water with other swimmers never alone!
Have a realistic plan/strategy to meet your goals
Do a Sprint Tri (usually 1/2mile swim).
Do some pool races with the Masters - another way to add to your racing expereince.

Good Luck in your journey and have fun!

The Bear 05-15-2012 10:55 AM

It can be done
 
I started off at the first of the year in the same boat. I was 50 yrs. old, fit for running and cycling, but couldn't swim 10 meters without stopping and being completely out of breath.

I focused on swimming during 13 weeks of lessons and practice, making sure I got myself to the pool at least 4 times per week. The first thing was to learn balance in the water. Everything else came easier after that. Breathing was still the hardest thing to learn. Ironically, breathing came easier after I tried to learn on the "other" side.

I was able to swim 1200 meters in just under 30 minutes after this 13 weeks. I'm gearing up for a half IM at the end of the summer.

Good luck.

Janos 05-15-2012 06:05 PM

Hi Darren, will you be doing the swim leg in a wetsuit? it is imperative that you train in one if you are. Use the pool for technique and distance, and practice slowly. You can conserve energy in the race and make up time on the bike or run. If you are swimming in a suit, you will have the advantage of being more buoyant and more slippery, but being higher in the water does take some getting used to, when you first use one. Good luck.

Regards

Janos


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