Due to my slow start to this year and swim training, the reality is I needed/need to pick up the pace relatively quickly. This leads to a lot of time spent swimming currently.
When it comes to training for marathon swims, there are a couple of schools of thought that I have tended to follow historically.
- You can swim in a day what you can swim in a week
- It is a good gauge to swim ¾ of the distance of your longest event, in advance during training
To begin with lets discuss option 2:
In the past my longest event has been 25km, so I went a little over board and swam more than ¾ in training last year and did a 23km swim in the pool or 14.3 miles versus an event of 15.5 miles. On that day of training, I probably spend about 7 hours in the pool (I can go back and check my data if anyone really wants to know). I don’t know how many of you have ever spent that long in a chlorinated/chemical box but the after affects are not always positive.
Afterwards I generally sleep in our guest room, for that night due, to the congestion that the chemicals create and during the waking hours, my face is red and blotchy (no that is not my Irish complexion), I sneeze, my eyes and nose run and I spend the day sniffling. This is also often the reason I attempt to do long swims at night by starting at like 9pm and going until 2am, however that is also not always practical.
So the reality appears to be, that this year, it is not entirely practical or possible for me to manage a 27 mile pool swim in advance of the event. Instead I am mentally advising myself that the solid base swimming over 12 months plus the past experience will make up for this.
Now back to option 1:
In reality I am in no way a fast swimmer (I am methodical, apparently I swim smoothly and thus far have had the mental ability to just keep turning my arms over in events) with an average of a little over 2 miles every hour. So this means for every 4 miles of training, I am spending minimum 2 hours in the pool, this excludes the travel to get there, the changing to swim, the staring at the water before getting in, the pee breaks (I may pee in open water but still feels like the wrong call to pee in the pool).
Now I want to get to a situation where I manage option 1, by swimming 60,000 meters/60km or 37.3 miles in a single 7 day period. This equates to spending roughly 19 hours in a single week swimming. I don’t know about everyone else but the idea of finding 19 hours of “leisure” time in a week is challenging. I have to work, I want to spend time with my better half, I want to spend time with my dogs, I want to eat (a lot when swimming this much) and I want to sleep. But right now I know no other way to prepare so I will keep going with this approach.
So over the past 7 days I have swam 45,000 meters or 27.96 miles. It has become a common refrain, from the faces at the gym who also swim, to comment that a) do I now sleep there b) why do I do this and c) to ask whether today is a short (5km or less) day or am I going to be there into the wee hours.
My aim for this week is to finish the week (Sunday) with 40-45km for the rolling 7 day period. I am hoping not to go backwards a little on the mileage but some work items pulled me away from the pool for an extra few outside of work events.
Aim for next week is 50km, aim for the last week of April is again 50km. If I stick to this schedule I will have swum over 100 miles in the month of April. I am writing this down to also attempt to keep myself accountable to this “single week, single day” option as it does seem like the only viable confidence building plan for this year. Now I just need to find the time to get it all done
A somewhat adequate swimmer