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May 9, 2010

What a crazy week of weather for swimming outside.   I was fortunate enough to get in 5 days this week in Morse.     The water temp varied from 61 degree to 70 degree.   The reason for the variations was from  the high winds  that we had during the week and which brought up the colder water from  the bottom of the lake 

    A couple of things I have been thinking of  noting to anyone who reads this is about sighting and navigation.   On Saturday AM  I remembered how important it is to swim in a straight line without looking.   The winds were howling down Morse at with gusts up to 30 mph which created a lot churn in the water which made it difficult to look up and see where in the heck I was going without getting a mouth full of lake water.   Fortunately I have mastered the ability to swim in a straight line a long time ago and   I can  go along way in between looking up and sighting my course. 

1.  When swimming open water and you are solo with no one around you and with no escort  you should be able to go at least 20 – 30 strokes before you look up chart and verify your course.  Sight for a major landmark that is up above the horizon so you are not endlessly looking for it. 

2.  If you are in a race and there are no escorts.  Draft is key so  find someone who can break the water in front of you.    However its more difficult to stay on someones toes and not look up at least every 10 strokes.  Gator Eyes.

3.  If you are in an open water race and you have an escort.  Put your escort out in front of you slightly to the side.  Rely on them to do your sighting.  Dont let them sag behind you.   

4.  Get familiar with your surroundings.  Swimming at Morse for me is like swimming in a pool.  I know exactly where everything is and I can pretty much swim a few hundred yards before I look up and verify my position.   I have all my destination points timed out so that I know I will be at the X buoy in 20 minutes and I will be at the Y buoy at 32 minutes and so on.   With the 10k race at Morse this year we all have home court advantage in knowing the course.

The Week of April 18th – 24th

I heard from Dick Sidner,  the race director for this years race, that we have over 30 entries in for the 10K  Nationals.  This is great news with it being so early in the season.   If you havent sent your entry in there is still plenty of time but the time clock is ticking away for time to start getting ready.    As I said in my  initial post “So you want to be a Marathon Swimmer”  April is still a good time to continue on with your base training and get yourself ready for ramping up your distance.     Personally what I did this week is I got three open water swims in.  5K  for each.  Water temp was an awesome 62 – 66 degree.  Water temp at the Morse Reservoir  can vary a lot this time of the year with temperature swinging  6 – 8 degrees in a 24 hour period.  Reason for this are the cool nights that dip into the mid 40s and afternoon temps can bump up to upper 60 and low 70s.  In addition to the open water swims I kept my pool swimming at 4K  with a lot of interval training.   100s, 200s, 300s, 400s, 500s and 1000s.   

It has been so good to be back outside and not have to flip turn!

So you want to be a Marathon swimmer?  Well you can be on July 17th when Noblesville Adult Swim Team Inc. (NASTI) hosts the 10K open water national championship at Morse Reservoir.

According to FINA, any swim equal to or greater than 10K is a Marathon swim, so this is your chance to check off a bucket from your bucket list. So what are you waiting for… lets get going and start swimming.

Back in 1988 when I thought of doing my first open water Marathon event, the farthest I had ever gone was a 2-mile cable swim in Huntington, Indiana when I was 14 years old.

In 1988, I was 29 years old and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to do the 28 miles around Manhattan Island. In 1988, there were not that many people around that you could talk to about Marathon swimming, and there was very little published about swimming marathons.  Fortunately for me, there was Mark Lambert (former IU Swimmer) who was working at the IUPUI Nat.    He worked with me to set up a bunch of 10,000-yard sets over a period of nine months to get me ready, and that was pretty much the extent of it.  There was very little strategy or planning into my workout routine.

My first trip around Manhattan seemed liked it took me forever to swim around and I kept stopping and asking how much further do I have.  Since 1988, I have swum another 150-plus miles in open water events both solo and races, and I have gotten  smarter about training for my events and have avoided the hell of swimming 10,000 yard sets  in a 25 yard pool.

So with just less than three months to go there is no reason whatsoever you can’t do this.  We have plenty of time to train and the best thing about getting ready for this swim will be that you will be in good company with a handful of other Marathon swimmers who enjoy the training aspect as much as the actual swim.

First step is to commit yourself and fill out your registration form and let someone know who can keep you accountable for doing the swim. I have always found that once I have mentally decided to do a race the next thing is to tell someone you are doing it.   You will also need to figure out what your goal will be for doing the 10K.  Is it to swim it well and get a fast time or swim it just to make it.

Second step is to figure out a training schedule and this is where I come in. I want to help you achieve your goal and I want to share with you a training plan to get ready. So over the next several weeks I will be posting workouts for you all to be following so that as July 17th gets closer you will be ready.

But here is a glimpse of what to expect:

If you have been swimming “regularly” for the past several months you are in a good starting position. What I mean by “regularly” is to be swimming at least 5 days a week and going 3–4k a day.  If you haven’t, no big deal as you have plenty of time to build up your base during April. So for April, you should at least attempt to be in the water 5 times a week and doing at least 3 -4 k at a time. Get your base built up. If you are lifting weights that is a plus, but I wouldn’t do weights more than 3 times a week and I would  keep the weights to high reps and low weight.

During May, you will want to ramp up your yardage to doing at least 4k  3 times a week and hold the other two days at 5 -6K.  You can do all of your workouts in a pool, but I would suggest getting at least one hour open water swim per week    On your 5 -6k days go long sets such as  10 x 500s  or 6 x 1000s or something in between.  On your short 3-4k days, go short sets and try to hold your pace on a series of 100s with 15 to 20 sec rest between 100s

During June and if you going for doing a fast time for the 10K , you will want to be thinking in terms of total distance during the week.  A good target would be to 40K for the first two weeks in June and 50K for the second two weeks in June. For the first two weeks, same thought for what you did in May. However, change your distances on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to 6K and  Tuesday and Thursday at 4K for pool swims and at least one day on the weekend in the open water going at least 6K. For the second two weeks, hold 6K on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 4K on Tuesday and Thursday for pool swims and one day on the weekend for an open water swim. Start to tighten down your intervals with less rest for your pool swims.  The key for your open water swims will be to go at least 10K after the third week and fourth week.

If you are thinking you want to swim the 10K just to make it I would do what you did in May with the exception of doing a two hour open water swim a per week.

During July and if you goal is for speed  you will want to keep your distance up for the first seven days in July and hold at least 6–8K a day.   You can do this in the form of doubles in the pool or lake swims but the longer swims will be for the better.   On or around July 8–July 13 you will want to start your taper and bring yourself back down to 3-4k a day and after July 14th kick it down to 3k or less.    If you goal is to cross the finish line keep your distance at 4 -5 K for the first 7 days and taper down to 3k a day through the 14th and take it easy with light swimming on the 15th and 16th.

But the most important part about training is to know what your body is telling you as there may be days you need to take off in order to recover from the day before.

I have always attempted to put the time I swim a Marathon into prospective. So if you love to swim what a great way to spend a few hours in doing something you love to do.

More to come.  Good swimming,  Jim Barber

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