Coaches for Marathon Swimming

jkormanikjkormanik Boise, IdahoMember
edited February 15 in General Discussion

I've diligently searched the archives, but if I missed a thread dealing with this topic, my apologies!

I'm pondering retaining a coach to put together a program for me to achieve my goals for this year and next. For 2015 - an 11 mile open water reservoir swim; for 2016 - Anacapa. My main issue and why I'm pondering hiring someone is to put together an appropriate training schedule for me...

I'd appreciate any thoughts, recommendations, etc.

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  • SteppenwolfSteppenwolf Member
    edited February 15
    Hello forum!

    My first post here after pouring over it since its inception... I am only just starting out with LD swimming and was wondering about marathon / LD swim coaches and/or programmes. What are your esteemed opinions on these and, if positive, have you got any recommendations of any of the above to pass on (especially in the London/SE England area)? I'm aware from reading several Channel aspirants' blogs that quite a few have coaches. What are the merits of these? What do they provide beyond a training programme? I'm quite independently-minded and not sure I'm capable of handing myself over to the tutelage of another, but I appreciate experience is king and I have very little of it in this regard. This summer my 'training' was quite hit and miss, and I pretty much made it up as I went along - and I think was saved by the fact that the tasks were always quite achievable off very little input. I want to go about things a bit smarter next year - and am also stepping up with the challenges my swims will present (20-25k+)- so 'blagging' it isn't going fly anymore...;)

    Any input much appreciated - and keep up the great work and posts on this forum. It really is an invaluable resource!

    Cheers,
    S
  • ZoeSadlerZoeSadler Charter Member
    edited February 15

    @Steppenwolf wrote: I am only just starting out with LD swimming and was wondering about marathon / LD swim coaches and/or programmes. What are your esteemed opinions on these and, if positive, have you got any recommendations of any of the above to pass on

    Hi,
    I'm also in South East England.
    I swim with a Masters squad. The training isn't geared towards marathon swimmers. But I find it makes a real difference for a number of reasons:
    a) Each set is different, so I am motivated to go to sessions and be surprised by the set. I always come home buzzing after Masters.
    b) There are other swimmers in the lane. If I am leading the lane then I work hard trying to stay at the front. If I am not leading then I am chasing. (I definitely work much harder when squad training -I do have a tendency to plod when training alone).
    c) The coach gives feedback on my stroke and is helping me to improve. My front crawl is shocking but we are working on it.......
    d) The coach makes you go off certain times. No extra 5 minute breaks when feeling tired!

    There are loads of Masters clubs in London / SE England.

    My own approach is as follows.
    - Over the winter months (October - March) I train with Masters only. Currently 6-8 hours a week, working on speed and technique.
    - From March I add in a couple of pool sessions by myself when I do longer distance sets of 6K-9K, but drop some Masters sessions.
    - From April I start going outside again in the local lake.
    - From May, Dover training starts under the watchful eye of Freda Streeter and the Dover beach crew. :-)

    I don't have a LD swim coach, other than the training with Freda. However, there are many approaches. This one seems to work for me, given that there is nowhere within 90 minutes for me to swim outside at this time of year.
  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
    edited November 2013
    In general, I would recommend slecting a trainer (someone you cannot BS) and have them set up cross training this winter with core building and aerobic capacity before the spring ow season...get a recongnized swim coach to look at you stroke to help you start making the stroke correction....so you won't injure yourself on these longer swims....in your longer swims in the spring and summer work on your feeding...listen to your body for necessary recovery time after each long swim...watch your mind try to tell you it is time to quit...but unless there is a real problem don't listen to it...a trainer will help keep you focused, motivated and on track.....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • bruckbruck San FranciscoMem​ber

    I've heard of people charging money to provide "online coaching", and it's always struck me as a racket. I certainly see the value in in-person coaching for stroke technique and leading squad sessions, but if you're getting your information/guidance online already, it seems like there's plenty of free resources already out there (including this Forum, Loneswimmer's blog, USMS, etc.).

    Has anyone out there found value in online coaching? If so, how?

  • FrancoFranco Charter Member

    I have used a private coach for the last 5.5 years who post my workouts online. He lives relatively close and is the masters coach at a club about 30 minutes from me. I am welcome at his masters swims but I rarely go. When I go roughly once a year I will get guidance or maybe a video done. He is a good guy and has become a good friend but having someone standing over me does not motivate me. We also have the opportunity to get out in the open water a few times a year and participate in some of the same events.

    The pool where I practice is close to my home and I would rather swim there. They have a masters program as well with a good coach but I don't have any desire to swim with them. They are more focused on meets.

    There are plenty of online resources available but you have to assume the info you are getting is correct and that you are interpreting it correctly. It also takes plenty of time to research.

    I never swam USA, or in high school or college so I had no idea how to create a proper set let alone a long term plan for long swims. For some people this stuff may seem easy but for people like me it wasn't. I set out to find someone who knew how to train endurance athletes and was able to guide me while still giving me the opportunity to train within my schedule at a pool close to my home. Having a personal coach allows me to give him a list of events in the beginning of the year and let him worry about the rest. All I have to do is show up to my pool and swim. I think most of us here are able to motivate ourselves to get to the water or we would have chosen a different passion.

    In short, if you don't know how to really plan for long swims or have someone experienced who can help you, hiring a coach can be a great option. I pay a little more but masters swimmers at my pool pay $45 additional each month and I have seen others charge more based on per swim fee. This isn't much different except you don't have to circle and you can go to pool when it is convenient for you.

    I don't consider it a racket. If you don't know what you are doing and you can afford it, I consider it a no brainer.

    loneswimmerIronMikephodgeszoho
  • jkormanikjkormanik Boise, IdahoMember

    Thanks for your thoughts, Franco!

  • SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest

    I tapped a friend and local "trainer" who worked with elite athletes and had a great track record to work with. I wanted someone near my age (I was 53-54 at the time) to look at the overall Sharko and advise...we looked at aerobic fitness, weight/body fat, breathing exercises, stretching core and other exercises and visualization techniques...I found it most helpful to have him comment on my progress as I became more fit for the big swim...I think we met every other week for an hour and then just a short check-up when I was nearly ready...this was a good idea for me and gave me greater confidence....and as I know now the mind needs to be convinced to do a marathon swim...

    jkormanik

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Swim Smooth just started an online thing recently, I believe. It looks like an app, but I haven't researched it further.

    But, I will say, I love the Swim Smooth system, I've improved with it, and I believe in it (if that's the proper verb). If I were to pay someone, I'd happily pay Paul Newsome & Co.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    I have a virtual coach for MIMS but it started a few years ago when I realized I needed a more structured approach to successfully complete my goals. The coaching is 6 months of weekly workouts and yards. And yes you can find this info online but for me it's worth his expertise, he's accomplished these swims and so far so have I wih his coaching and my drive.

    IronMike
  • I use coaching. As someone said above if you can afford it and are not sure of what you are doing, it is a very smart idea. My Coach is local, but he tends to send me my workouts. Since I've been injured, we have been working one on one, and I've now seen way too many videos of my tail end in a variety of swim outfits. (who knew it was possible for my stroek to look like something from the movie "Stayin' alive?")Because we have worked together for so long, he is very good at reading my barometer- better than I am- and adjusts a lot of stuff based on how tired I seem or what not. It works for me. I'm a bit nervous these days though because while he's coached a lot of triathletes, he has not done that much work with the long swim, so we are now learning as we go along, luckily I don't pay him a ton.

    jkormanik
  • tbalditbaldi Member
    edited February 15

    Anyone have any good recommendations for Chicago based marathon swim coaches? I have spoken to Marcia Cleveland and I am aware of her. Looking for other options to explore.

    Thanks!

    Copelj26
  • Amanda Hunt lives in Chicago and is a marathon swimmer. I don't know her "handle "here but someone does.. or pm me for her email.

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach www.suziedodsswimcoaching.com

  • Thanks! I have actually met her when I swam Big Shoulders. I will reach out to her. Thanks!

    suziedods
  • Copelj26Copelj26 ChicagoMember

    I don't train with Marcia but I do swim with her on occasion, she is a good resource for reference and generally open to giving her thoughts. I know she is training for something at the minute so I think her focus might be elsewhere. You could also check out Chris Layton.

  • SamSam Member

    Any recommendations for a coach in the North of England (preferably Yorkshire)?

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    I've coached several swimmers over the years and never charged for my time. I would ask for airfare and lodging if we were traveling to an event. My mindset is that I can bail out if the swimmer goes off the rails and wants to mix in some cyclocross, for example. I just had my tenth back operation last week from when I got hurt destroying my back. The only thing I charge is that the swimmer be part of the team and don't forget about the team effort it took to be successful. The person I coached hasn't talked to me in years, and that's what breaks my heart. Our friend Dave Parcells died that day swimming TBMS in 2007, and there are lots of times I wish i could have traded places with him.

    If you ever need help, just send me an email.

  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    Jennifer Dutton ( @jendut ) is a fabulous coach in the greater Boston area. Just yesterday, she ran a video clinic for five of us that made a big impact in just an hour. I've always told visiting swimmers, if you give her 50 yards, she can tell you exactly what's suboptimal about your stroke and most importantly how to fix it. She's a great resource I highly recommend!

    JaimieCopelj26IronMikeminaBridget

    Stop me if you've heard this one... A grasshopper walks into a bar... https://elainekhowley.com/

  • How about an open water long distance coach in the Denver area? I am getting ready for a couple of long swims this summer/fall--longest being 12 miles open water. I have some general ideas about how to train for these events, but I also don't want to blow it by not getting focused soon enough. Thanks!

    ssthomasBridget
  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    @sarah4140.... I think you know someone who would be happy to help. :-)

    molly1205JustSwimBridgetlakespray
  • suziedods said: Amanda Hunt lives in Chicago and is a marathon swimmer. I don't know her "handle "here but someone does.. or pm me for her email.

    Contacted her. Thanks!!!

  • Copelj26 said: I don't train with Marcia but I do swim with her on occasion, she is a good resource for reference and generally open to giving her thoughts. I know she is training for something at the minute so I think her focus might be elsewhere. You could also check out Chris Layton.

    Thanks. I actually took a lesson with Marcia. She is great! Just getting some other options as well.

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    swimmer25k said: I've coached several swimmers over the years and never charged for my time. I would ask for airfare and lodging if we were traveling to an event. My mindset is that I can bail out if the swimmer goes off the rails and wants to mix in some cyclocross, for example. I just had my tenth back operation last week from when I got hurt destroying my back. The only thing I charge is that the swimmer be part of the team and don't forget about the team effort it took to be successful. The person I coached hasn't talked to me in years, and that's what breaks my heart. Our friend Dave Parcells died that day swimming TBMS in 2007, and there are lots of times I wish i could have traded places with him.

    If you ever need help, just send me an email.

    Something people don't know is that I got hurt coaching in 2007 in Tampa Bay. I live with that injury everyday of my life. It's ruined my swimming career as an athlete, so I've turned to coaching. Call me sometime just to chat.

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