Training for Robben Island, South Africa - 7.4km

oopwateroopwater Member
edited November 2013 in Beginner Questions
Hey guys,

I'm 2,5 weeks away from swimming my first "real" ocean open water race from Robben Island to Blouberg, I've been putting in the distance in the pool and did a 5km dam swim over the weekend. I feel comfortable with the distance. I've done a couple of cold miles in Clifton which averages at about 12°C, but I'm going to table bay this weekend (which is the bay the swim is in) to hang around in the water for an hour or so to start conditioning my body.

I've got a couple of things I'm wondering about:
How often should I feed on a 7.4km swim, it's not very far?
What kind of fatigue should I expect from the cold?
What is the best way to condition for the cold?

Essentially what I'd like to know is if you could go back to your first swim knowing what you know now - what advice would you give yourself?

Thanks y'all, I've learnt a lot from this forum already.


  • Thanks @Niek, that pretty much clears it up for me. Hopefully I eat better than the sharks do!
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    Feed and drink well prior to the swim and you don't need either during. Then drink and eat well after.

    Please join the Lake Issyk Kul Swimming Federation on FB!

  • Thanks guys, do you have any advice on what to expect from the cold water after an hour or two?

    I've spent max 30 minutes in 10°C water.
  • have pencilled in the robben island swim for mid November / early December so 2 months to go. Am comfortably doing 5km pool sessions and have done a 3km lagoon swim. Will be doing a 5km ocean swim next month and then hopefully I'll be ready. I don't know what the swim organiser usually does but my thinking for the robben island swim is feed at 30min intervals at least. So probably 5 feeds for the swim. Will try this out next month on the 5km and see how it goes

  • @glenn said

    _my thinking for the robben island swim is feed at 30min intervals at least [...] So probably 5 feeds for the swim. _

    Everyone figures out their own feed schedule & requirements (and still get it wrong occasionally, as happened me this year) but ...

    A 7.5k swim is going to take maybe 2 to 2.5 hours? Unless you are particularly fast or slow. Consider the calories in your liver, you're starting with at least 2000 calories onboard, and burning probably no more than 1000 calories per hour. Most of the swimmers here don't feed in the first hour, and many will only take a feed per hour for the first few hours. For a 7.5k swim, I'd personally consider one feed sufficient and wouldn't take it until about 1:30 or 1:45, given the 15 min metabolisation time, and then as a just in case for the last kilometre or so requirements. The World's Most Popular Open Water Swimming Blog

  • @glenn - If you are swimming with Derek and it's your first RI, he likes to stop you every 30min to check on you - mostly for the cold element. Also if you're a first timer there will be discussion about the crossing if the water is sub 14C.

  • Tanks Loneswimmer and Lynne. Yip it's with derrick and will be my first RI swim. I'm going to be swimming in a wetsuit as I'm not a cold water swimmer yet so that'll help. I trust him quite a bit so will let him say and do what he usually does

  • @glenn yep, Derrick is the best. Good luck

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