Going to an OW event without OW training / Running & swimming

Nadia_BBNadia_BB Member
edited February 2013 in Beginner Questions
I want to participate to open water events (5 to 10 km) but I have very little experience in OW (1500 (triathlon relay) and 2 swims in the sea of up to 2,5 km this summer beside the shore ). I'm pretty sure I would not have the opportunity to train in open water. My workouts are only pools 25 yards or 25 m.
I am looking for advice, similar experience ...tips or alternatives

And another question :) What type of running sessions can help swimming training ? Are threashold running series good or unnecessary?
Thanks in advance !


  • My own opinion, I'm sure there will be other views of this, is that you need to swim in open water to prepare for open water swimming.

    Long pool training sessions are very useful for lactic threshold & overload training, good to have you ready for the distance but no substitute for the unpredictability of open water, whether it's the temperature, course changes, feeding or most importantly water conditions and weather changes that often occur.

    Also there is quite a step to 10k from 2x 2.5k training swims. I can only recommend that you do your best to get at least one long open water training swim in.

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I have a little different take. Due to circumstances, I didn't get any OW practice before my first 10k. However I did get some OW races in. I did a 1-mile, a 2k, a 2-miler and a couple 5k.

    I did, also, many many brutal long pool swims. I say brutal because 10,000 yards in a 16.66 yard/length pool is hellish. ;)

    What I'm saying is that it can be done if you don't have access to OW. But by all means, if you do, then get outside and swim!
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Charter Member
    Last year, I met a girl who did her first open water swim in April. It was a 4K. Before that, she'd never swam more than a mile continuously. In May, she did 6 10-mile open water swims, two of them on consecutive days. She swam fly for the last 1K or so of the last one.

    She's a really great swimmer--Olympic trials in 2008. She was in great shape, but she didn't do anything special to prepare for those distances or for open water.

    That's the most dramatic case I've seen, but I know several really good swimmers who have done almost nothing to prepare for open water swimming or marathon swimming.

    I, on the other hand, am a slow (but ambitious), adult-onset swimmer. I did at least 10 5-10 mile open water training swims to prepare for a 10-mile swim. Plus 3 organized open water events (7 miles, 8 miles, and 10K).

    My training was great for mental toughness, but HORRIBLE for speed.
    +January 2012, 1 month before training started: 3,510 yards for the 1-Hour Postal Swim (30 minutes/mile)
    +May, organized 8-mile swim I "wasn't prepared for": 34 minutes/mile.
    +July, solo 6-mile swim, towing a bunch of crap on the Swimmer Buddy thru hellacious wake in hot water on a 110-degree day: 51 minutes/mile
    +July, August, September: The horror continues. 31-38 minutes/mile for long open water swims. 34-37 minutes/mile for long pool swims
    +October, Swim the Suck 10-mile: 30 minutes/mile with a small current assist.
    +October: Stopping this insanity, switching to lower volume, higher intensity training so I can get faster and get off suicide watch.
    +October, 3,000-Yard Postal Swim: 51:33 (30.12 minutes/mile). Recovering, but still slower than I was in January
    +January 2013, 1-Hour Postal Swim: 3,700 yards (28:23/mile)

    So the bottom line is that I don't think you *need* to practice swimming in open water, especially if you're a great swimmer. For most people, experience with crazy conditions, hours of hot or cold water, the taste of salt water, the way goggles feel after 4 hours is helpful. In moderation.

    I'm not talking about channel swims here, BTW.

  • Thank you all for your answers.
    I am so happy to haer i can still aspire to OW without opportunities to train in OW :)
    But i also hear i should go progressive and try as much as possible to participate to OW events. Thank you loneswimmer for advice.
    @ironmike, i can be determined but 10,000 yards in a 16.66 yard... is quite crazy...yes it's brutal ... i will no more complain about a 25 yard pool :)
    @ WaterGirl thanks for sharing... and good luck for coming swims and challenges !
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Charter Member
    edited February 2013
    @nadia_bb - If the challenge is to go from pool to open water, then I am under the firm belief the majority of the issue is the mental training, versus the physical training.

    For those of us (me included) who train 100% indoors for 7-8 months out of the year (the other time I have a flat-water lake) it can be quite a challenge. I recommend training which encompasses a large amount of pulling (both a buoy, and parachute) - about 25% of your training. I have found the increase in upper body strength will help you fight through the waves.

    Believe me, I have fought some of the toughest seas out there with nothing but pool training. It can be done, but you have to have much more confidence in yourself that it can be done since we do not have an ocean to train!

    YOU CAN DO IT :)
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
  • Nadia_BBNadia_BB Member
    edited February 2013
    @ForeverSwim It's a pity i can't like 10 times your message :) Thanks for the advice !
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