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3980 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Oct 9, 2011 4:41 PM by jrbenton
jrbenton Rookie 6 posts since
Apr 18, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Sep 4, 2011 12:50 PM

Looking for some feedback from some experienced open water swimmers...

My goal for the September swim is still to break 30 minutes for the mile.  Probably a better way to put it is that I am actually trying to compete in the race as opposed to just being a participant.  No aspirations to win just finish with a respectable time.  Today's workout was 3 x 500 on 8 minutes.  I descended them and actually finished the 3rd one in 6:20 much faster than I figured I would be at this point in my return.  I was thrilled a couple weeks ago when I broke 7:00 so this was another positive moment. Then I did 5 x 300 on 5:00 last lap of each 100 was catch up.  This forced me to work on my distance per stroke as opposed to swimming faster.  Still I held them all under 4:25 with no real effort.  500 WD for a total of 3500 yards under 1 hour.  As always thank you to everyone that looks at this thread and any feedback is greatly appreciated.  Take care.  JR


Okay so it has been a little while since I updated this.  Thanks for the additional feedback.  My shoulders feel good after six weeks of swimming.  Still averaging 5.5 days a week with an hour a day.  Depending on what I do I am anywhere from 3000 to 3300.  Still stuck in the 1:30 repeat time when I do my straight swims of 20 minutes or longer.  Did a fun workout where I did 50s around the clock.  The first ones on :55 until I hit the top and then on the :50 till I hit the top and then :45 until I hit the top and then :40.  I made all of them but was too tired to try and finish 50s on the :35.  That was 1300 hundred yards broken at the 50 but with minimal rest.  I will try that again in two weeks.  I did a pace set of 10 x 100s with :10 rest and my average was 1:23 so I still have some work to go as I think that needs to be closer to 1:15 if my goal of 30 minutes is attainable.  I have also been practicing my sighting by peaking my head forward and then breathing.  Someone saw what I was doing and was so kind to try and help me breathe without looking forward.  The person was so sincere and genuine I had trouble telling the person what I was working on.

As always thanks for looking and feel free to throw your opinion in as I am enjoying the pursuit of the 30 minute mile immensely.  JR


I have not given up.  I completed two more workouts this week.  Both workouts were 3000 yards and completed in 52 minutes and 48 minutes.  I think I am going to keep my yardage between 3000 and 3200 and just work on reducing the time it takes to complete those yards.  Any thoughts?



I am 44 years of age and havenot swum competitively since my college days.  I have not exercised regularly since my graduate school days and basically have taken the last 10 years off from any exercise.  I recently started swimming again and I have signed up for a one (1) mile open water swim in an upstate NY lake.  The event is Labor Day weekend.  I started relatively slowly and over the last month I have worked up to 3200 yards in one hour.  That was a workout of 1 x 800 on 16:00 then 2 x 400 on 7:30 then 4 x 200 on 3:45 and I finished with 8 x 100 on 1:45.  I basically can hold 1:30 for all my hundreds and it seems the distance does not matter.  This is in a 25 yard pool.  I am looking for feedback on one item for now.  First what do I need to repeat if I want to break 30 minutes for this mile swim?  I have no idea if that is a good goal time or if I should be looking at something else.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated as I am trying to stay motivated to complete this race in a respectable time.  Thanks.  JR


I am adding today's workout hoping that someone out there may have a thought on the direction I am heading.  Today I did 1 x 600 on 12:00 Warm Up then 6 x 100 on 1:40 and tried to hold 1:20 or better.  Then I went directly into another 1 x 600 on 12:00 as an active recovery.  The next set was 6 x 100 on 1:45 trying to hold 1:30 or better.  Then I closed with one more 600 swim as a warm down.  Total time was under 56 minutes and a grand total of 3000 yards.


Thanks for everyone that looked at this and again any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated.  Take care.  JR


One more updated workout to see if that sparks someone to reply.  Today I did a pyramid of sort.  I started with a 400 swim then rested for :30 followed by 2 x 200 on :20 rest then 4 x 100 with :15 rest and finally 8 x 50 with :10 rest before going back up to the 400 swim on the same rest intervals.  I finished in under 52 minutes and then did a 200 easy swim for 3000 total yards.  Thanks again and hope to hear from someone.  JR


Message was edited by: jrbenton


Message was edited by: jrbenton


Message was edited by: jrbenton


Message was edited by: jrbenton

  • thechrisman55 Rookie 2 posts since
    Apr 25, 2011

    Regarding your target time of 30 minutes for the open water swim, I think you'll find that quite aggressive based on the fact that you're holding 1:30 for individual broken 100s.  Also keep in mind there are several other factors to keep in mind such as waves, current, wind, etc.  If you're allowed to wear, and are wearing a wetsuit, you'll swim faster due to the added buoyancy.  However, even in a calm lake with a wetsuit, I think you'll find 30 minutes a pretty aggressive goal.  It's tough to set a goal for the first open water swim in a while.  Even if you have swum the same body of water, environmental factors can completely change the race unless it's a smaller lake and consistently calm conditions.


    Swimming open water is very different compared to 25 yard pool swimming.  When swimming in a 25 yard pool, you're only moving your arms for about 75% of the lap, depending on how long your push offs are.  In open water, you don't get that extra push off every 25 yards.  It's a little break and a little boost every 25 yards that you're getting in a 25 yd pool that you don't get in open water.


    I recommend you find somewhere you can swim a mile, or any distance, in open water a few times before your race.  You should be able to find a group of swimmers, without going to far, that get together for open water swims.  I would base your target time off your open water practice swimming times.


    My opinion on your workouts is that they sound more like short distance workouts than long distance workouts.  I recommend you get to the point where you are doing 3 or 4 x 800s after warmup, trying to hold 1:30s, which would be 12 minutes per 800 plus resting time.  Don't take more than 30 seconds rest between each 800.  Maybe work your way up to 2 or 3 x 1000s, and then to 2 x 1500s, staying as close to 1:30s as possible.  I wouldn't do these longer distances every day, but at least once or twice a week, especially as the race approaches.  I would also swim at least a mile straight every couple weeks.  You would be better served to swim more than a mile, every couple weeks, if you plan to do it in a lap pool since you really should swim around 1.5 miles in a 25 yard pool to try to equate to a mile in open water.


    Lastly, since you're just getting back into swimming after a long time out of the water, make sure you're technique is accurate, and be sensitive of shoulder pain.  Don't burn out your shoulders.  Keep your elbow bent and hand close to your body so you're not taking too much pressure on your shoulder joint.


    Good luck!



  • thechrisman55 Rookie 2 posts since
    Apr 25, 2011

    You may actually have been right with a 30 minute goal time.  If past times at the event are in the 25 minute range, its probably a smaller and calm lake.  I didn't factor in the fact that you have all summer to train as well.  It sounds like your current pool time would be about 26 minutes if you swam a mile holding 1:30.  But it sounds like you're already knocking time off your pace.  As far as what time you need to be doing your 100s on in order to hit a certain target open water mile time, that's a tough one.  One thing I didn't mention in my previous post was how strong and fast your flip turns are in the pool.  If you have a weak push off and slow turn, then the walls may actually be a disadvantage.  Something else to consider in attempting to convert to a target 100 time.  I would say target a 1:23 or under.  It sounds like you were already hitting under 1:27 on those 500s on Thursday.  Holding 1:23 100s would be a 24:18 mile if you swam exactly a mile in the pool.  That leaves 5:42 of extra room to transition to an open water mile in 30 minutes.


    Keep in mind I am far from an open water guru.  I usually do a couple of open water swims each year, but I don't pay much attention to my times.  I sign myself up for the events so I'm not able to get TOO out of shape!  I'm just trying to bounce around some thoughts to help you come to a conclusion.


  • Moriates Legend 292 posts since
    Jul 19, 2008

    Chris, I agree with your approach.  He needs to work on those base miles before anything else and also some form work.



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