Marathon Swim Training - A New Approach

To paraphrase Jon Landau's 1975 quote about Bruce Springsteen: I have seen the future of marathon swim training.

Some of you know that I haven't been too impressed with the state of swimming training theory and practice, both for the pool and more so for open water. I've studied training theory since I was in high school and try to keep up with changes as they occur. There is currently a "new" paradigm in distance running training that has swept through the sport, causing the men's marathon record to be lowered repeatedly in the last few years. I believe that it is applicable to marathon swim training, although some adaptations will need to be made.

Rather than try to explain it here, if you are interested, I suggest that you Google the name "Renato Canova" and read his thoughts and practices in training distance runners. The reality is that "Canova training" is actually a refinement of the training theories of Arthur Lydiard, dating back over 50 years. That refinement sits within a modified framework of periodization.

About 25 years ago, I had a conversation with the late Fred Wilt, the first person to make a systematic study of running training theory as practiced in other countries. In that conversation, he made mention of an observation of his that, in retrospect, is at the core of "Canova training." I am kicking myself for not seeing the implications of his comment. Idiot!

I urge you to check it out if you are interested in training theory.


“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde



  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    Thanks LBJ
  • Leonard - I read up on Canova's training methods and results and they are impressive, but I still like your model of towing a boatful of middle aged boaters a couple of miles!

    Seriously, interesting stuff and food for thought, while I'm building this year's base...thanks!
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    Very interesting @Leonard_Jansen, thanks. Looking forward to your book The Jansen System of Marathon Swimming. Signed copy please.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

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