Pacing tips for 20k race?

allanl16allanl16 Member
edited April 3 in Beginner Questions

Hey guys, hope you had a good weekend. I was wondering if you had any pacing tips for a 20k (12.5 mi.) race.

I'm doing Swim Around Key West in June and although training is going well, I'm worried I need to kick up the pace a bit. Currently I can average about 1:40ish/100m for about 1-2k at an almost effortless-pace. Unfortunately the race is much more than 1-2k and although my main goal is to finish, I don't want to finish last (or not meet the cutoff time x_x )

Thank you all so much! This forum has been beyond helpful and I already have a word doc full of notes!

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Comments

  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member

    Useful advice:

    do some 10km sets (e.g. 5 x 2km or even 10 x 1km) , and see how your pace drops off. Good practice for feeding and general swimming a long time.

    Silly Theories about 20km Swims:

    There is a theory with some Rottnest channel folk (which is a similar distance) that your expected time is your 400 time in a LCM pool.

    This is based on the highly scientific(*) calculation that 20km is 50 x 400m, add in a 20% fatigue fudge factor you get 60 x your 400m time.

    (*) Not actually scientific

    In your case, a 1:40/100m sustained pace suggests that your 400m pace is no worse than 6m40s, and thus your expected 20km time is 6h40m or less, and thus under the 8 hour cutoff :-)

    The above though is basically bollocks if you don't actually train, and ocean conditions can completely blow it out but in the absence of other data points (i.e. experience with other long swims) it is a starting point for discussion.

    IronMikeallanl16evmoBridget

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • JustinJustin Member

    Hey Allan, Im also doing the Key West race in June. I like to do a lot of pull and light kick swims, I can hold 1:10s per 100y doing freestyle pull for the first 2 miles, I think pulling helps because you can give your legs a break and I feel like I do not get tired as fast, it also builds up arm strength. I think the best ways to pick up your pace would be doing 100,200,400 sprints for time which should help increase paces. When I swim 5-8mile swims with no stops my splits are a bit slower but I never get tired. I think your splits are good and you shouldn't have to worry about not being able to finish or finish last, a benefit of this swim is that it is clear water and you'll be able to see all the other swimmers so after the first mile or so you'll probably be at pace with others who pace the same as you, which gives you someone to race against. When I swim or see others in front of me I always swim faster even though I don't really feel like my speed changes, I think having others to see gives you more of a push and faster times.

    allanl16Bridget
  • allanl16allanl16 Member
    edited April 5

    Justin said: I think the best ways to pick up your pace would be doing 100,200,400 sprints for time which should help increase paces.

    Thanks Justin! Definitely going to add 100,200,400 sprints into my sets. I think that would benefit me much more than the 25m sprints I've been doing since I'm no longer competing in short races.

    Are you located in South Florida by any chance? I'd definitely be up to swim in Key Biscayne or SoBe!

  • allanl16allanl16 Member
    edited April 5

    dc_in_sf said: Useful advice:

    do some 10km sets (e.g. 5 x 2km or even 10 x 1km) , and see how your pace drops off. Good practice for feeding and general swimming a long time.

    Thanks! I'm confident my 100m pace could be much quicker but I've only been focusing on doing the longer sets with good form and putting pace in the backseat. Will definitely do some 10km sets and experiment with my pacing. Thanks again!

  • JustinJustin Member

    Allan, no problem and I wish I lived in Florida, I live in Maryland.

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    allanl16 said:

    I'm doing Swim Around Key West in June and although training is going well, I'm worried I need to kick up the pace a bit. Currently I can average about 1:40ish/100m for about 1-2k at an almost effortless-pace.

    Based on these numbers, your speed wont be an issue. You won't miss the cut and you won't finish last. In fact, you should start in the second wave (I didn't catch which Key West swim you were doing, but one has split waves based on pace).

    The issue will be whether or not you can hold your pace (or something at least close). I'd recommend you get used to swimming LDT (a long damn time). If your swim is in June, I'd start this weekend with a long damn swim: the sole point of which will be to swim a long damn time. Weird/unexpected things happen after a couple hours of swimming. It is good to experience them now, rather than during your goal event.

    Here's a drill I do when swimming a long damn time:

    10 minutes (90 second break)

    20 minutes (90 second break)

    30 minutes (90 second break)

    40 minutes (90 second break)

    50 minutes (90 second break)

    60 minutes (90 second break)

    Then back down. I typically skip a step or two on the way back down. Not part of the plan, it just happens. I get really damn bored when swimming a long damn time.

    Also, if you're not used to swimming LDT, pay very close attention to your body. Especially if you're over 40. Small pains become big problems. Stay within yourself and build gradually. I"ve wiped out entire seasons/years because of fighting through the pain. I do not follow this advice. But I recommend it...

    IronMikeLynneJustSwimallanl16curlySoloSarah4140Camillebluemermaid9tortuga

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    Spacemanspiff said: The issue will be whether or not you can hold your pace (or something at least close). I'd recommend you get used to swimming LDT (a long damn time). If your swim is in June, I'd start this weekend with a long damn swim: the sole point of which will be to swim a long damn time. Weird/unexpected things happen after a couple hours of swimming. It is good to experience them now, rather than during your goal event.

    Also, if you're not used to swimming LDT, pay very close attention to your body. Especially if you're over 40. Small pains become big problems. Stay within yourself and build gradually. I"ve wiped out entire seasons/years because of fighting through the pain. I do not follow this advice. But I recommend it...

    LDT, I like it! I call this sort of thing "time horizontal." Def need time to get the body used to being horizontal for hours upon hours.

    Camille
  • allanl16allanl16 Member
    edited April 5

    Spacemanspiff said:

    Also, if you're not used to swimming LDT, pay very close attention to your body. Especially if you're over 40. Small pains become big problems. Stay within yourself and build gradually. I"ve wiped out entire seasons/years because of fighting through the pain. I do not follow this advice. But I recommend it...

    Thank you so much! Can't wait to swim for a LDT.

    I am indeed swimming the one with 2 waves and was hesitant so swim in the second wave so thanks for the feedback. Regarding pains, do you recommend any band/weight movements to strengthen the shoulders and elbows? I'm 21 but occasionally get small pains on my right elbow and shoulder due to years of playing baseball and never properly warming up.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    allanl16 said: I'm 21 but occasionally get small pains on my right elbow and shoulder due to years of playing baseball and never properly warming up.

    Properly warm up. ;)

    Signed, IronMike, a swimmer with elbow arthritis

    allanl16
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited April 6

    I've done about 30 escorted swims 15K and up and been around Key West four times.

    I used to break Key West down into four segments.

    1. Smathers Beach to Fleming Cut: Mostly Oceanside with clear water until you hit the cruise ship docks. The water gets progressively deeper until Fleming cut. This should be the "coolest" water you'll see all day. The easiest part of the swim.

    2. Fleming Cut to the top of Sigsbee Park (aka Dredgers Key): the tide will pull you in pretty fast and will try to push you south of where you want to go. Water here is usually pretty clear with lots of grass on the bottom. Water here is starting to warm up and the wind will be in a different direction to your heading.

    The fun part....

    1. Sigsbee Park to Cow Key Channel: The water is only a few feet deep and a sandy bottom. The Sun will tear you up here if you forgot to put suncreen on your front side. Depending on your start time and speed; Cow Key Channel is a total bitch. The entire Atlantic Ocean pours through the narrow channel making it the great equalizer in the swim. Have your crew aim to the right of the channel (Holiday Inn?)

    2. Cow Key Channel to the finish: two options...

    A. Stay way to the right once you come out of the cut. There should be a "trough" there that you can ride along the sea-wall and shorten your swim. Beware of sunken pilings and other debris left behind from the last hurricane.

    B. Stay left and go around everything.

    These will be the longest two or three miles of your life. Cow Key Channel will destroy you if you go into it without having saved your legs. Once you finish that turn to the right, things are pretty basic.

    The best advice I was ever given (from Karen Burton) is to "start off easy and slow down". Don't worry about your pacing, IMO. If you've put the training in, you'll be fine. There are a thousand ways to approach training, so I'll reserve comment. Don't worry about what your pace is, because it doesn't mean squat after seven or eight miles. Go with what feels right. You're setting yourself up for disaster if you feel that you need to maintain a certain pace. Don't let a stopwatch, stroke count, or heart rate monitor dictate what you do. If you do, I guarantee that you'll fail.

    Before the 2000 TBMS, my main competition was doing pace 100s in the hotel pool at the starting line. It didn't mean squat in the wind and waves while puking all over himself two hours into the swim.

    Make sure to hydrate and have a salt replenishment system in place. For most of my swims I would feed every 12 minutes (each feed was only a few seconds. There's a video here somewhere showing how I did it.) If you're not peeing every so often, you're getting yourself into trouble. I fed every 8 minutes in Key West.

    Respect the distance.

    Lastly, every second you stop to look around and/or talk to your crew; you're wasting valuable time. Let them set the course. Have them on the side you breathe to amidships to your escort. You shouldn't be in front of them because "who's guiding who"? You shouldn't be behind them because it makes you feel like you're being dragged.

    Best of luck,

    Chris

    SpacemanspiffJustinSoloIronMikeallanl16tortuga
  • allanl16allanl16 Member
    edited April 7

    swimmer25k said: I've done about 30 escorted swims 15K and up and been around Key West four times.

    I used to break Key West down into four segments. ........

    Chris, I am beyond thankful for your reply!

    Few additional questions:

    1. Did you have your nutrition in a big jug and have your kayaker fill up your bottles when they were empty? Or did you just have them carry a bunch of bottles?

    2. What products did you use? I'm currently ordering a bunch of sample packs to see what works best (and more importantly, what my sensitive stomach can digest). I was thinking of making my nutrition consist of water and whatever nutrition mix I go with.

    3. Did you wear a cap? I'm assuming the weather and water will be really warm so I was thinking of just cutting my hair down and going cap-free.

    4. Should I take anything for seasicknesses as a precautionary measure? I normally don't get seasick but wouldn't want it to derail my race.

    Thanks again!

  • allanl16allanl16 Member
    edited April 7

    IronMike said: Properly warm up. ;)

    Do you have a routine? Lately I've been doing some movements shown here before I swim

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    allanl16 said:

    swimmer25k said: I've done about 30 escorted swims 15K and up and been around Key West four times.

    I used to break Key West down into four segments. ........

    Chris, I am beyond thankful for your reply!

    Few additional questions:

    1. Did you have your nutrition in a big jug and have your kayaker fill up your bottles when they were empty? Or did you just have them carry a bunch of bottles?

    2. What products did you use? I'm currently ordering a bunch of sample packs to see what works best (and more importantly, what my sensitive stomach can digest). I was thinking of making my nutrition consist of water and whatever nutrition mix I go with.

    3. Did you wear a cap? I'm assuming the weather and water will be really warm so I was thinking of just cutting my hair down and going cap-free.

    4. Should I take anything for seasicknesses as a precautionary measure? I normally don't get seasick but wouldn't want it to derail my race.

    Thanks again!

    My kayakers carried everything on-board already mixed and ready to go. Three or four gallon-sized Thermoses with Gatorade (I'm low tech) chilled with lots of ice. Another with just ice-water, and one with Ultra-Fuel or Gatorload. Maybe a banana or two. I had a small Powergel flask mixed with some water to dilute it out living inside of the ice water cooler. When it was time to feed, my kayaker would paddle a little ahead of me and fill up a cup of whatever it was time to drink. The cup was in a string for easy retrieval. You can see how I did it in my video posted in the video thread below.

    I've only wore a cap when it was cold out, or required by the race director (it wouldn't last long). Key West is way too hot to wear a cap unless you plan on filling it with ice to cool yourself down.

    I'm a cramper. I've led part of Key West each time I swam it and never finished higher than third (3X). I discovered "Success Caps" later in life and they helped a ton. For a 20K I was more attentive to trying not to cramp than actual nutrition.

    Definitely train with the products you've ordered, so you know how you'll do with it on-board. Because the water is so hot and the long distance, your body WILL reject pretty much everything you put in it. When I hit this point, I would go with plain water to "reboot" my system.

    The only significant chop you should see will be wind driven. You'll get smacked around a bit, but giant swells aren't the norm. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    I used to get my haircut about a week out of a hot saltwater swim, so I wouldn't get too chafed. I once got it cut a few days before and the new growth absolutely tore me up. The back of my neck was pretty raw.

    For chafing I liked "Sport Slick". It comes in a shampoo-type tube. I would squirt it under my arms, behind my neck and where your pull buoy lives.

    Practice with new ideas and try to keep it simple.

    Chris

    allanl16JustinSolo
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    The questions and answers here are like an encyclopedia. Thank you very much for all this information.

    Solo
  • allanl16allanl16 Member
    edited April 8

    swimmer25k said: For chafing I liked "Sport Slick". It comes in a shampoo-type tube. I would squirt it under my arms, behind my neck and where your pull buoy lives.

    Practice with new ideas and try to keep it simple.

    Chris

    Wow I cannot believe chafing didn't cross my mind! Once again, thank you so much Chris and everyone else that replied. I'm positive your input will make an impact

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    allanl16 said:

    swimmer25k said: For chafing . . .

    Chris

    Wow I cannot believe chafing didn't cross my mind! Once again, thank you so much Chris and everyone else that replied. I'm positive your input will make an impact

    This better cross your mind! Early and often. Chafing is a serious consideration on any OW swim, much more so in salt water! Armpits, face, shoulders/chest, crotch. Here is a good thread on this topic; http://marathonswimmers.org/forum/discussion/comment/844/#Comment_844

    IronMikeBridgettortuga

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    I'm really curious about this chafing issue. Does it just happen to people with muscles or extra "insulation"? I can't find any areas of friction on my body. I don't have the aforementioned muscles or insulation. I haven't done a 10K yet, so I'm wondering if this is something that shows up once you get to real distances. 5 or 6K hasn't produced any chafing for me.

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    My first chafing was in a 5K in Cyprus, under one of my arms. After that, a 10K in a river in the UK. Put that triathlete wetsuit slobber crap all over my body. Didn't matter. Got chaffed from the farmer John straps.

    After that, I switched to Desitin, and the chafing stopped. I have to slather myself under the arms, all over the neck, and in the manly nether regions.

    For me the chafing is most annoying in the days after the swim when everything I wear seems to rub on the hot spots.

    If you've not chafed, @curly, count yourself lucky.

    Bridget
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member

    curly said: I'm really curious about this chafing issue. Does it just happen to people with muscles or extra "insulation"? I can't find any areas of friction on my body. I don't have the aforementioned muscles or insulation. I haven't done a 10K yet, so I'm wondering if this is something that shows up once you get to real distances. 5 or 6K hasn't produced any chafing for me.

    Chafing is a function of your particular stroke, body, swimsuit, salinity of the body of water and time.

    Some folk have contact points due to their stroke on their shoulders (see horror photo in this thread on chafing), I personally have a hot spot on my neck due to the way I breathe on my left side (though thankfully not as extreme as that photo). Learning where your hotspots are is an important part function of doing long swims in saline water during training.

    Salinity of the water will affect chafing, I can general swim about an hour to an hour and half in salt water before getting any chafing, whereas in a pool I have only every seen very mild chafing after 4-5 hour swims. Swimming in lakes and estuaries will likely produce less chafing than the ocean. I'd be curious to hear from folk who have swum in extremely high saline environments like the Great Salt Lake and the Dead Sea as to their experience.

    I get more chafing in a square leg or brief swimsuit than I do in jammers, and I believe that swim suit chafing is a more serious issue for folk swimming with suits with straps (I recall reading that at least one well known female swimmer was of the habit of swimming topless on occasion to avoid chafing issues).

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • MoCoMoCo Worcester, MAMember

    Also, never wear a slightly loose-on-top suit in saltwater. ever. (thankfully it was only 2 miles. if it had been longer, I think there would have been blood)

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    My worst chafing is from razor stubble on my face rubbing my chest/shoulder (like in the picture, above). I have to shave right before swimming on anything longer than 5 hours. Anything longer than 8 hours and I'm just going to get shredded. At SCAR, I had to keep swimming day after day with my abrasion getting larger and deeper each day. I have permanent scars on both shoulders now, which I proudly refer to as my "SCAR scars"

    JustSwimChrisgreene

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved Tides that I tried to swim against Have brought be down upon my knees Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member

    Salt water is super-abrasive and Key West was the race I've been torn up the most. The back of my shoulder/armpit (mostly on the right) where the lats and triceps meet was my Ground Zero for chafing. The back of my neck was also a hot-zone. I usually raced wearing a jammer, so my thighs didn't rub together. However, the seams would sometimes tear into me. (Brace yourself for TMI as I bear my soul. We're all friends here.). One of the seams in the crotch of an old Aquablade jammer tore a little bit. The hole had the width no more than a pencil. During the swim (a three hour workout on Fort Lauderdale Beach) a small amount of skin found its way through the hole and began to chafe. It swelled up and went through the hole even more. The combination of warm salt water and Lycra was a recipe for a massive amount of pain and an embarrassing wound. I had to go around doing the "farmer's walk" for a few days. Who knew?!

    Soloallanl16
  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember

    allanl16 said: Hey guys, hope you had a good weekend. I was wondering if you had any pacing tips for a 20k (12.5 mi.) race.

    I don't want to finish last (or not meet the cutoff time x_x )

    Hi- I've only skimmed the comments so far, but wanted to jot this down before I lost the thought-- I've done 25 miles over the past two days, and my mile pace shifts from 34 minutes to closer to 45- for now. I hope to decrease my level of "slow down" over the next few months through more attention to in-swim fueling and some speed work. My current priority has been getting the miles done, knowing I can do them in less than ideal circumstances (a few hunger pangs, limiting breaks for food and such that involve getting out of the pool, since in the early build up phase, a break led to leg cramps). Also, I did a 7.5mile swim once where my support bag of food got lost, so I had to make it on two power bars and water. I was fine, but I'm pokey. (The boat crew that linked up with me was a bit edgy about it.)

    Chafing. HUGE issue- especially since you will be in salt water. Much as I have always mocked nose clips, I use one now due to allergies, and while I am ok in salt water, after a few hours in St. Croix several years ago, the inside of my nose was on fire. Now, I will swim a few miles in the ocean without it, but pinch it on for longer swims. Now, I am using a pool, since my local lakes are still either iced over or recently thawed. I have been using A&D as a way to control chafing where my suit straps rub, where my armpits rub during strokes, where any seams are on my suit, and along my neck. Desitin will be my SPF and anti-chafe of choice this summer. Slob it on. Wash off with baby wipes. Embrace your inner infant. ;-) A&D is also diaper rash cream, but clear and less freaky looking for indoors. It won't be as harsh as vaseline on your suit fabric.

    As for being last- Been there, done that, got the applause of all the fast people! (And I like to think that in the ocean, the sharks will be full by the time I wander by.) Yes, my second open water race was in a river- 2 miles up, 2 miles back. At one point, a kayaker came alongside me and said, "The Coast Guard says they are going to let you finish." Gulp. ;-) I can relate to wanting to meet the cut off, since it was devastating last summer to start a 10K and finish a 7.5K when I didn't make the cutoff for the last loop.

    Have a blast!!! I'm prepping for Lake George, in NY- 32 miles. (Anyone in the area want to help with boat support??)

    (Much sympathy for all who have related chafing crises. Ouch.)

    Niekallanl16IronMike
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    I swore by A&D when I was a high mileage cyclist, great stuff.

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember

    Agree with a lot that's already been said. When I did the race a few years ago, we froze all the bottles except two (needed them right off the bat) and took them out as we needed them for feedings/water. They'd melt perfectly and stayed cold throughout the race. We took surgical tubing, tied carbineers to each end, then attached one end to the kayak and the other to a loop on each bottle for feedings. If the bottle didn't have a loop, we created one with the Velcro wire ties you can find at Home Depot. For feedings, you need to practice in the long swims on what you'll eat/drink and when so your body is ready for it. I used UCAN and water, alternating each every 20 minutes. The heat doesn't bother me nearly as much as it does some other folks (poor 25k!)

    I didn't want the mess of Desitin and used SolRX44 waterproof out of Australia and it worked perfectly. Not a burn except for a small spot on my bum where I missed.

    Make sure your kayaker is adequately slathered down and kept fed/watered as well. They're your key to survival. Oh, we rented a Hobie kayak which also had little penguin-like fins on the bottom where she could continue moving forward without paddling. This came in super handy as she pulled feedings out of the cooler when she couldn't paddle. Also, if they happen to produce a gummy bear or two to pinch between your cheek and gums, it provides a nice change from the salt water flavor in your mouth.

    GOod luck and let us know how you do!

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member

    flystorms said: Also, if they happen to produce a gummy bear or two to pinch between your cheek and gums, it provides a nice change from the salt water flavor in your mouth.

    This is very interesting, thanks for the idea. I'm gonna try it in a training swim soon, but probably with beef jerky. ;)

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