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 !
  • Nadia,

    I've done some o.w. swims, longest being 5.4 miles. The first time I did 5+ miles, not living near open water, I did all my workouts in a pool, building up to the swim distance. My pool was 25 yards, so while still somewhat hamster-like, it wasn't 10k yards in a 16 yard pool--yikes!

    In terms of time, the swim went pretty well, remaining my best time in that swim to date. However, I did get seasick about 3.5 miles into it. (I decided that stopping wouldn't make me feel any better so pressed on.)

    I had one advantage: the swim was in a familiar body of water--I'd learned to swim there as a kid, so I more or less knew its temperament, and although I hadn't done open water races the year of the swim, I did do some the previous year. This year I did the same swim w/ more open water prep and still got seasick. But having gone through that before, I knew I could do it again. (Maybe it's time for a separate post on preventing seasickness while swimming, but must stop--work calls!)

    Happy swimming!
  • KellieKellie Member
    edited November 2014
    @dpm50, that is a really good question to which I would also like to know the answer: how to avoid/minimise seasickness while swimming. Anyone?
  • Kellie said:

    @dpm50, that is a really good question to which I would also like to know the answer: how to avoid/minimise seasickness while swimming. Anyone?

    Kellie--here's our topic:

    Hope it helps us both!
  • Long pool swims will def help, running is probably worse as you might loose too much fat!! :D

  • andiss said:

    Long pool swims will def help, running is probably worse as you might loose too much fat!! :D

    My problem is that I love both running and swimming and am unlikely to give up either of them. So I figure I'd better improve my swim speed so I spend less time in cold water. ;)

  • Nadia, this is a topic close to my heart. My own experience is that, while it is obviously not ideal, it is totally possible to prepare for certain OW events up to a certain distance (say, 10k) with very little OW exposure, and even with litle swim training, even though other kinds of fairly strenuous training will be necessary. PM me for further details if you want. I agree with Darren: it can be done.
  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    When I trained for Key West this year, probably 90% of the training was done seeing the same bandaid at the bottom hundreds of times. Once the lake warmed up enough, I tried to get in a long swim in open water every weekend the last 6-8 weeks before the race and that helped a ton to get the experience. It's totally doable in the pool, but it can be a monotonous beating.
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli Member
    edited November 2014
    Here's an example:

  • Thanks for posting, Dan--I LOVE this video!
  • I swam my first 10k a few weeks back. I had problems drinking enough because the bottles I had, made squeezing enough out and drinking while out of breath difficult. When the wind picked up I found I was getting hammered every time I tried to sight the next buoy and went off course. Than I ran out of steam and had to force myself the last two k. If your training for on ow event that's long enough to mean you have to feed. Practice that.... A lot..... Somehow?
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