Do I need to get faster before considering marathon swimming?

miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber
edited March 3 in Beginner Questions

Last week when I told my goal (to complete a marathon swimming before March 2020) to a highly-respected wetsuited open water swimmer in our group, he think I'm too slow to even consider it and advise me to hold off. I'm at about 2'10" pace and he thinks I should get to around 1'45" pace to consider marathon swimming.

Is it true that we need such speed to do marathon swimming?

Tagged:
«1

Comments

  • BridgetBridget New York StateMember
    edited March 3

    No. Swim at your pace. If you enter an event with a time constraint, that is one thing. If you are doing a channel swim where currents need to be timed, that may be a factor. But to make the blanket statement that anyone is too slow to be a marathon swimmer? HA. 1'45" pace? Is that for a hundred free? I could do that once, off the blocks. Funny that a wetsuit swimmer would make such a declaration. ;) Swim your own swim.

    If you WANT to work on speed, fine. If some fast swimming gives you confidence, fine. But you decide what you can do.

    IronMikeMLambyKari33NajiswimsChefKen
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member

    Some swims are more speed dependent than others

    BridgetIronMikeMLambyj9swimmrpozziKatieBunNajiswims

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • No. You race against yourself. You go for finishing. So you will not win but that is not your aim. Just go for it and enjoy!

    rlmBridgetMLambyKari33
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    @Bridget said:
    No. Swim at your pace. If you enter an event with a time constraint, that is one thing. If you are doing a channel swim where currents need to be timed, that may be a factor. But to make the blanket statement that anyone is too slow to be a marathon swimmer? HA. 1'45" pace? Is that for a hundred free? I could do that once, off the blocks. Funny that a wetsuit swimmer would make such a declaration. ;) Swim your own swim.

    If you WANT to work on speed, fine. If some fast swimming gives you confidence, fine. But you decide what you can do.

    When we talk about pace, we always talk about sustainable pace.

    I definitely need to work on some speed first because my target race has cut off, but 1'45" pace is definitely out of reach in this year, and I'm targeting only 1'55" to 2' pace in order to make the cut off of my target race.

    And also for that race, finishing may be the synonym of winning because there is no real competition - most entrants are in neoprene class but I'm targeting the skin class.

    Swimming with the group has benefit to me though - it forces me to go faster in the winter months when they all put on their wetsuit but I don't.

    Bridget
  • MLambyMLamby Member

    @miklcct said:
    Last week when I told my goal (to complete a marathon swimming before March 2020) to a highly-respected wetsuited open water swimmer in our group, he think I'm too slow to even consider it and advise me to hold off. I'm at about 2'10" pace and he thinks I should get to around 1'45" pace to consider marathon swimming.

    Is it true that we need such speed to do marathon swimming?

    Wow, I think that guy may just have been winding you up....or being a jerk. You need to worry about being able to have your butt comfortably in the water, making steady...respectable progress, for at least three miles. And try to get to where you are comfortable at 1.8 to 2.0 miles per hour. That will make you worthy of being out there in an actual race. When I asked my mentor whether or not he thought I could complete Key West....he said “go get in your local pool and swim until you can’t swim any more. Let me know how it goes.” I told him I got bored and stopped after three hours. He said “ you can absolutely do it, you just need to train now.” Get yourself some advice like that. 😊 Gave me all the confidence I needed to stick with it.

    rlmSolo
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    @MLamby said:

    @miklcct said:
    Last week when I told my goal (to complete a marathon swimming before March 2020) to a highly-respected wetsuited open water swimmer in our group, he think I'm too slow to even consider it and advise me to hold off. I'm at about 2'10" pace and he thinks I should get to around 1'45" pace to consider marathon swimming.

    Is it true that we need such speed to do marathon swimming?

    Wow, I think that guy may just have been winding you up....or being a jerk. You need to worry about being able to have your butt comfortably in the water, making steady...respectable progress, for at least three miles. And try to get to where you are comfortable at 1.8 to 2.0 miles per hour. That will make you worthy of being out there in an actual race. When I asked my mentor whether or not he thought I could complete Key West....he said “go get in your local pool and swim until you can’t swim any more. Let me know how it goes.” I told him I got bored and stopped after three hours. He said “ you can absolutely do it, you just need to train now.” Get yourself some advice like that. 😊 Gave me all the confidence I needed to stick with it.

    I went to a local beach last year and swam round and back until I couldn't swim any more - and I stopped at 4 hours. The distance covered was, I believe, just above 9 km. (The segment was long enough that a round-trip took more than an hour, and I could no longer swim before I completed the 3rd). My training that time was only about 7 km per week, and the longest swim I had done before was only 5 km. Afterwards I had to rest for 2 days before I resumed swimming.

    Back to topic.

    I believe that my top speed in open water now may be only about 2.65 km for a continuous hour, and this is definitely not enough for my target race cold half (15 km race with 6 hours cut off), and need to get to at least 2.8 km for a continuous hour to barely make it (using SDI = 1.06, which is appropriate for me from my 400 and 1500 m times), and 3.0 km for a continuous hour for some safety margin (i.e. target time 5.5 hours). If I translate this to pool 1.5 km time, and allow an additional 5% for the effect of push-offs (I swim in long course), this means about 29.5 minutes in 1500 LC for me to even start considering that target race, and 27.5 minutes in order to be safe, which I am currently only at 31.5 minutes.

    I am using whenever method I can in order to work on my speed now, and completely put away all my endurance and fitness training in my original plan. I just hope that the swim smooth training plan that my coach has given after the analysis can bring me to the required speed needed for my target race in time.

    Therefore, for the purpose of this target race, I really need to get faster before considering joining. I consider the race to be THE indicator whether I am both physically and mentally prepared to venture into the realm of channel swimming in my comfort zone. If the water temperature is below 16°C on that day and I can complete it the next thing for me would be to sign up for an English channel slot. If I can complete it within 5 hours the next thing for me would be to sign up for a Gibraltar slot. If both conditions are satisfied simultaneously I will sign up for both in a single season, preferably only weeks apart, in order to save travelling cost.

    However, in general, is there really some speed (in terms of 1500 m pool time) where I should get to make marathon swimming or channel swimming worthwhile? I know that Gibraltar has a speed requirement of 3 km/h over 5 hours, but is it a rule or an exception in channel swimming? Are English Channel, North Channel, Tsugaru, etc. doable for slow swimmers?

    There are also some people who believe that you shouldn't consider running a marathon if you can't run 10 km within 40 minutes as well, do you think those people are jerks as well?

  • abeabe australiaMember

    If you are currently holding 2:10 pace for each 100 you will naturally improve with time spent in the water - key to load the kms up and maybe do some sessions where you start with as many 100s as possible say on 2:30. and drop pace time as gets too easy. Your 4 hour swim (9km shows that you can keep going).

    Good luck and hope you make the gains but mostly enjoy

    MLamby
  • abeabe australiaMember

    So true speed helps but not essential when enjoying a lazy 15km go get it

  • MLambyMLamby Member

    @miklcct said:

    @MLamby said:

    @miklcct said:
    Last week when I told my goal (to complete a marathon swimming before March 2020) to a highly-respected wetsuited open water swimmer in our group, he think I'm too slow to even consider it and advise me to hold off. I'm at about 2'10" pace and he thinks I should get to around 1'45" pace to consider marathon swimming.

    Is it true that we need such speed to do marathon swimming?

    Wow, I think that guy may just have been winding you up....or being a jerk. You need to worry about being able to have your butt comfortably in the water, making steady...respectable progress, for at least three miles. And try to get to where you are comfortable at 1.8 to 2.0 miles per hour. That will make you worthy of being out there in an actual race. When I asked my mentor whether or not he thought I could complete Key West....he said “go get in your local pool and swim until you can’t swim any more. Let me know how it goes.” I told him I got bored and stopped after three hours. He said “ you can absolutely do it, you just need to train now.” Get yourself some advice like that. 😊 Gave me all the confidence I needed to stick with it.

    I went to a local beach last year and swam round and back until I couldn't swim any more - and I stopped at 4 hours. The distance covered was, I believe, just above 9 km. (The segment was long enough that a round-trip took more than an hour, and I could no longer swim before I completed the 3rd). My training that time was only about 7 km per week, and the longest swim I had done before was only 5 km. Afterwards I had to rest for 2 days before I resumed swimming.

    >

    There are also some people who believe that you shouldn't consider running a marathon if you can't run 10 km within 40 minutes as well, do you think those people are jerks as well?

    Stick with your first paragraph and do more of THAT. Keep doing THAT until you can do it at 1.5 mph with no problem. If you can do that.....without it taking two days to recover....then you will make the six hour cut off for 15k. THEN, you can work on improving from there and becoming more "competitive" for the race.You were just over 1.3 miles per hour when you did your beach swim LAST YEAR, so I would assume you have improved since then, and may already be at, or past the needed 1.5 mph to finish 15K in six hours. The key is you need to be able to do it COMFORTABLY. THEN, you can push it from there.

    And yes, I think anyone who tells YOU that you shouldn't do something because you can't do it as well as them is a jerk, and is adding to the problem of people not wanting to be healthy. If you want to "run" a marathon in six hours....good! You won't see me out there, so good on you. If you want to swim 5 miles in just over 1.3 miles per hour....good! Stick with it and enjoy it and improve. I feel that you need to find some more positive (realistic, but positive) mentors for your swimming. You need to ENJOY it. That's the one thing you'll find from almost everyone on this site....we swim because we LOVE it. We're more at home in water than on the land. Get to where you just LOVE being in the water, and stop listening to people who are telling you that you aren't fast enough.

    miklcctcurlySolo
  • Kate_AlexanderKate_Alexander Spring Lake, MichiganMember

    Marathon swimming is defined by distance, not speed. If you enjoy long distances, then swim your own swim. If a race has a cut-off time that you think you can't make, try it anyway, you might surprise yourself. And even if you don't make the cut-off it's still great training. Just swim.

    MLambyIronMikeSolokiparizNoelFigart
  • SoloSolo B.C. CanadaMember

    An EC crossing that takes 12 hours means the swimmer was holding roughly 2:15 pace. Ask your well respected wetsuit friend if he can hold his 1:45 for 12 hours. Also, keep in mind that free advise is often worth what you paid for it.

    MLambySwimmer18IronMikerlmKatieBundpm50cwerhaneNoelFigart
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber
    edited March 8

    Quoted from another thread:

    @IronMike said:
    I'm with you. Cutoffs scare me. Mostly because I'm a cheap bastard and if I'm going to spend the money for the swim, and the transpo to get there and the hotel to sleep off the apres-swim beer, then I want to finish. Races/swims like the Sri Chinmoy (26.4k) in Switzerland are on my bucket list. The cut-off for that race is 12 hours. While that sounds fine for 26+ km, the info sheet does say it is equivalent of 30 pool km. If I could maintain 3kph (doubtful) that means 10 hours. But I'll probably slow down. I'd hate to go all the way to get a DNF simply because I missed the cut-off (but was still strong enough to swim).

    There is a 5 km race nearby just announced, which will be held in late April. The entry has not been opened yet but will be soon. I want to join if it is possible for me to complete it, because it will the best opportunity which fits my plan to do marathon swimming next year. I am desperately waiting for the details, most importantly the cut off time (it was 1 hour and 45 minutes in the past years), to see if I can join it or get disappointed.

    My latest pool 1.5 km time is 31'13" (LCM), taken in mid-February. Assuming SDI = 1.07, If the cut off stays the same this year, I probably won't dare signing up based on that time (it would be 8 minutes outside the cut off even I do it with 0 error if I extrapolate this time to 5 km, - last November I used the same extrapolation from my pool 1.5 km time to predict my time in 3.7 km OWS, and I still missed that target by around 1.5 minutes).

    @Solo said:
    An EC crossing that takes 12 hours means the swimmer was holding roughly 2:15 pace. Ask your well respected wetsuit friend if he can hold his 1:45 for 12 hours. Also, keep in mind that free advise is often worth what you paid for it.

    If you cross the EC holding 2:15 pace, this probably means you are swimming at 1:45 pace at normal (i.e. not insane) distance. However I am probably around 2:05 to 2:10 at normal distance now.

    Pasquale
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    edited March 8

    I must caveat what you quoted above, @miklcct. I'm in agreement with what I said above when it comes to traveling ($$). But if the swim is close, or it can be combined with something family-related, or it can be done on the fairly cheap, then I'll go even if I think I might not make the cut-off.

    BL: You should still sign up for the 5k. Just getting in open water with a bunch of other OW swimmers is great experience, and you'll learn a lot about yourself in that swim. Put a GPS under your cap and then analyze your swim after. You can see how your navigation was and then work in the pool to correct any nav/sighting errors. Frankly, stop worrying about your average 100 or 1500 or whatever and, as they say, just do it! You won't be sorry. You'll love it!

    SoloflystormsMLambyPasquale

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    You're pretty close to the cutoff. You should consider going for it. You will have quite the motivation and you may surprise yourself. Just remember not to get all wound up at the start, you've got a long way to go and pacing is everything. This would be great experience for you regardless of if you succeed or fail. Race experience cannot be duplicated during workouts no matter what you do.

    MLambyPasqualerlm
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited March 8

    @miklcct said:

    If you cross the EC holding 2:15 pace, this probably means you are swimming at 1:45 pace at normal (i.e. not insane) distance. However I am probably around 2:05 to 2:10 at normal distance now.

    The EC decides how long it takes you. Just as an example, I know many, many much faster swimmers than I am, who took hours longer than I did because of conditions/ tides on the day. Just continue to work hard in the pool on intervals and technique. Don't overthink it, @miklcct . Work to build speed and endurance in the pool and outdoors and don't let anybody, (i.e. well meaning wetsuit chap), tell you that you "need" to reach a certain pace per 100m before you try a marathon. Although some swims are most definitely time sensitive, there are plenty which are not. Just start with one which isn't and do it for sheer enjoyment.

    evmoSolothelittlemerwookierlm
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    @Solo said:
    An EC crossing that takes 12 hours means the swimmer was holding roughly 2:15 pace. Ask your well respected wetsuit friend if he can hold his 1:45 for 12 hours. Also, keep in mind that free advise is often worth what you paid for it.

    @IronMike said:
    I must caveat what you quoted above, @miklcct. I'm in agreement with what I said above when it comes to traveling ($$). But if the swim is close, or it can be combined with something family-related, or it can be done on the fairly cheap, then I'll go even if I think I might not make the cut-off.

    BL: You should still sign up for the 5k. Just getting in open water with a bunch of other OW swimmers is great experience, and you'll learn a lot about yourself in that swim. Put a GPS under your cap and then analyze your swim after. You can see how your navigation was and then work in the pool to correct any nav/sighting errors. Frankly, stop worrying about your average 100 or 1500 or whatever and, as they say, just do it! You won't be sorry. You'll love it!

    You've reminded me one of my long outstanding problem. What kind of GPS do you recommend? I originally wanted to buy a Finis Hydro Tracker (a standalone GPS which can be used in open water, without screen and sound which means it is race legal in orienteering as well), which is in my budget and perfectly suits my need but it has been discontinued and I can't find any availability.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @miklcct said:
    You've reminded me one of my long outstanding problem. What kind of GPS do you recommend? I originally wanted to buy a Finis Hydro Tracker (a standalone GPS which can be used in open water, without screen and sound which means it is race legal in orienteering as well), which is in my budget and perfectly suits my need but it has been discontinued and I can't find any availability.

    I have an old Garmin 310xt. If it ever breaks, I'm gonna find a used Garmin 910.

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member
    edited March 11

    Speaking as a slow swimmer who has done marathon swims, I say if you want to do a marathon swim, go for it! I've done stances up to 8 miles. Now my goal is 10 miles. And if I sprint, I still have trouble breaking 2 minutes in 100 yard free. (Forget meters!)

    I choose events with generous cut-off times and/or current assists. Not looking to win anything, just like swimming. :)

    IronMikeMLambySoloNoelFigartrlm
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    @dpm50 said:
    Speaking as a slow swimmer who has done marathon swims, I say if you want to do a marathon swim, go for it! I've done stances up to 8 miles. Now my goal is 10 miles. And if I sprint, I still have trouble breaking 2 minutes in 100 yard free. (Forget meters!)

    I choose events with generous cut-off times and/or current assists. Not looking to win anything, just like swimming. :)

    There aren't much events in Asia that I can choose from (I'm not willing to travel long distance unless there are special circumstances). I can only find of the following:
    1 in Japan, 10 km, cut off 3.5 hours
    2 in Hong Kong, 15 km, cut off 6 hours
    1 in Philippines, 10 km
    1 in Malaysia, 16 km, cut off time 7.5 hours

    The Philippines and Malaysia races are hot water races (water temperature 28°C - 31°C), which is out of question for me, and the Japan race is too fast for my current ability, leaving only the Hong Kong races as my target race.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    @miklcct said:

    @dpm50 said:
    Speaking as a slow swimmer who has done marathon swims, I say if you want to do a marathon swim, go for it! I've done stances up to 8 miles. Now my goal is 10 miles. And if I sprint, I still have trouble breaking 2 minutes in 100 yard free. (Forget meters!)

    I choose events with generous cut-off times and/or current assists. Not looking to win anything, just like swimming. :)

    There aren't much events in Asia that I can choose from (I'm not willing to travel long distance unless there are special circumstances). I can only find of the following:
    1 in Japan, 10 km, cut off 3.5 hours
    2 in Hong Kong, 15 km, cut off 6 hours
    1 in Philippines, 10 km
    1 in Malaysia, 16 km, cut off time 7.5 hours

    The Philippines and Malaysia races are hot water races (water temperature 28°C - 31°C), which is out of question for me, and the Japan race is too fast for my current ability, leaving only the Hong Kong races as my target race.

    As discussed by many above, unless you have to prove (somehow) that you can make the cut-off, you should still sign up and swim those events. If you're limited with the number of events in your area, then you should swim every one of them. Again, you'll gain experience whether you complete the distance or not. I learned so damn much from my DNFs that have helped me not DNF other events, all with cut-offs. Just do it!

    MLambyKate_AlexanderflystormskiparizrlmBridget

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • PasqualePasquale Antwerp (Belgium)Member

    @miklcct Sometimes, even if you are a bit behind cutoff time it means you are unassisted but you can still complete the distance. Expecially if you are near the land and there are no boat waiting..

  • StephenStephen UKMember

    And remember you will gain significant benefit from drafting the pack at mass participation events...I’m always pleasantly surprised at my speed when swimming with a group :)

  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber
    edited March 12

    The registration page of the race states that

    You must be able to complete 5km in 1hr 45 minutes. Entrants may be asked to provide evidence, preferably in the form of previous race results, to prove that they can do this. The organizer reserves the right to refund entries of those that cannot demonstrate this level of proficiency.

    That's the main point, and as the race clashes with my travel plan, I have to change my air ticket in order to do the race which means additional expense to the race registration fee, and my previous race results (including 3 km, 3.7 km and 1.5 km races) do not suggest I am able to make the cut off. Therefore I still need to wait for another T/T in the OW group to see if I have any improvement afterwards. I've already got anxious because of that, combined with the fact I've got little improvement even after I joined a squad (still in the f**king slow lane after 4 months, and my 1.5 km LC pool time still over 30 minutes), I'm losing motivation now without improvement seen.

    @Stephen said:
    And remember you will gain significant benefit from drafting the pack at mass participation events...I’m always pleasantly surprised at my speed when swimming with a group :)

    That's impossible in that race. Looking from past year result, the inter-quartile range was 1:13:23 to 1:24:48. The wetsuit guy who told me to get faster to consider marathon swimming swam 1:14:35 (note that it was a non-wetsuit race), and still not reached the upper quartile. A lovely girl in my club, who currently swims in lane 4 in the squad (lane 1 is the slowest which I am in), got 1:25:48 and didn't reach the LQ. The best I can hope is a DFL, marginally making the cut-off, as another well-respected lady, who normally swims on skin and is currently roughly the same speed as me, did that last year.

  • MLambyMLamby Member

    This is going to sound rude, but you need to worry and fret less, and swim more. Worry about finishing. You are talking about finishing upper quartile. Just worry about making the cutoff and finishing. And even if you don't, you'll know where you made your mistakes and do better the next time. In my Key West race last summer , there were more DNFs than finishers in my age group. Same thing the first year I did the NYC Triathlon and it was 89 degrees with 60% humidity. Over HALF in my age DNF'ed. It happens. But you get out there and get after it. I just feel that you have way to much angst and worry. Just do it!!

    evmoKatieBunslknightSara_WolfPasqualeStephenkejoycecurlyIronMikeSoloand 3 others.
  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Have had my share of dnfs. Never regretted entering any of them. One was for a 5.4 mile swim where I got too far off course and missed the cut-out. But no worries! I swam longer than the race distance and so it turned out to be a nice training swim for the 8 miler I finished!

    I entered the 8 miler 3x, but only finished once. Other 2 were DNT, one because of left arm/shoulder pain (stopped at 7 miles not wanting to risk serious damage), the other because of an unusually strong opposing current at the turn-around....endless pool for about 10-15 minutes....finally got through, but was very depleted and even though the water temp hadn't been an issue before, I started feeling shiver and queasy, which I took as my body's warnings. I didn't want the race officials to have to pull me out while diverting support from other swimmers. So I got out while still of sound mind. Sure I'd like to have finished in all these instances. But I was still glad to have taken part.

    Pasquale
  • abeabe australiaMember

    totally agree with MLamby (don't stress) endurance events are all about being able to dig in and just keep going - the goal is to see how far is to far for each individual. Stress when doing any long swim is losing way to much energy - lose the stopwatch for 2 months and just swim to enjoy then every session is a good one

    KatieBunStephenMLambySolorlm
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    It's easy to talk oneself out of something, which (tough love coming) it sounds like you're doing. Just sign up.

    MLambyKatieBunrlm

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNMember

    Agree with MLamby, just do it. You also need to think that in some OW races, especially those in the ocean or rivers, you'll likely have a bit of current push which will help you.

  • Tri_ingAgainTri_ingAgain Derry, NHMember

    @Stephen said:
    And remember you will gain significant benefit from drafting the pack at mass participation events...I’m always pleasantly surprised at my speed when swimming with a group :)

    There is also the psychological advantage of being in a group. I'm a novice swimmer, but life long cyclist and runner. I find, even in a foot race, where drafting is negligible, I am a lot faster in a group. I'm sure that is psychological, but it works.

    kejoyceMLambyIronMikeStephen
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber
    edited March 16

    Our OW group did a race simulation today. The race course was 1.7 km. I didn't know the course beforehand, and we swam once, in the reverse direction, to familiarise with it.

    The starting leg was about 800 m and the mark couldn't be seen from the start, and we were told to aim for a white house above it instead. However, in the practice beforehand, I found the mark a bit at the right hand side of the white house.

    I swam at 1.5 km race effort. Less than a minute after starting the whole pack had already disappeared from my view, so I couldn't draft off anyone in the race. I aimed at the white house, not exactly but a bit to the right, as seen from the practice before.

    However, when I nearly reached the approximate distance from the white house where the mark should be, as seen from the practice, I couldn't find the mark! and slowed down and eventually stopped, looked around to find it! After a bit of looking, I found the mark was at a bit distance 8 o-clock direction (i.e. 120° port side)!!!!! I went too far right and overshot the leg.

    The subsequent marks were easier to find. I increased my effort and managed to pass another swimmer afterwards, and nearly caught up one more at the finish, but the main pack was already long gone by then.

    The final time was 40 minutes for that 1.7 km course. Simple math told me that I would not be able to make that cut off (1 hour 45 minutes for 5 km) if my level stays the same. (If I could complete in 35 minutes I would have a decent chance of making the cut off)
    However, this was worse than my previous official race results, but neither was enough for that cut off. My prediction to complete 5 km would be about 1 hour 55 minutes to 2 hours.

    The race registration has already been opened and the course has been announced. I've studied that course, it consists of a mark at about 750 m, another mark at 1.5 km, and natural shoreline afterwards. That means if I went wrong at any of the marks I would be over as I will be pushing my limit to make the cut off even if I swim the course perfectly.

    The race is 6 weeks from now and I really want to do it, but I really don't have the confidence in making the cut off. I'm going to do mostly speed work from now in my training and put everything else aside. As usual practice I register races near the deadline, so I will still do a few more weeks of speed training before I hit the register button. The fact that I had to dump money to change my air ticket for this race already made me anxious for a week before, and I've did that a few days before the flight price further increased so it was already a sunk cost and no longer relevant now, but the fact that I swam 40 minutes today has made me anxious again and it really affects my well-being.

    How can I get over my anxiety? Even though I have a plan I won't know if it really works before the race day.

    P.S. another swimmer who is slightly slower than me just made the cut off in the same race last year.

    SoloKatieBun
  • SoloSolo B.C. CanadaMember

    Focus on the positive. You are doing a hard thing, become your own best cheerleader. I would love to see your results, no matter the outcome!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    Dude, you are overthinking it. Just get out there and swim. The more you swim and take part in events, the better you will get. This is supposed to be fun. You will never get over pre race anxiety, that's part of the deal. It's good to have a plan, but that's just an outline. It's kind of like life...

    evmoStephenslknightSoloIronMikethelittlemerwookieflystormsrlm
  • jendutjendut Charter Member

    @miklcct I am getting anxious just reading these posts (and I have numerous diagnosed psychiatric issues which already make me nervous B). Here are my thoughts- and you are welcome to take them or leave them (disclaimer: I have been swimming OW for 30 years and coaching for 20. I am Old as Time, apparently, but I digress)
    ONE: just SWIM. It has been said already, but honestly just get in the water and keep swimming until you can not swim any farther. Get out, have a snack, and get back in. Your pace will not get faster by thinking or hoping or counting seconds. MANY folks have tried to prepare for marathon swims by measuring themselves in a pool with all the LOGIC and METRICS available to the modern athlete- it doesn't matter. Your speed in OW is really more up to Mother Nature than it is up to you. As you are earning there is sighting (a whole other set of skills) and navigation involved plus myriad other things which affect one's actual swim pace.

    TWO: it is awesome that you are embarking on this project! Try to keep in mind that most of us do this ALONE. We train alone (and many of us - those, say, who are on limited budgets and for other reasons - even compete or do our MAIN long swims ALONE). If you are not comfortable talking to yourself for hours on end, you should try to learn to be if you intend to take your swims longer (I am not trying to be glib- that honestly is the way it is). Very few endeavors have as little external stimuli present as marathon swimming. Training your brain is a huge part of this!

    One of my favorite things I did after having DNF'ed my major swim a couple summers ago was that I (alone with someone watching for safety) swam a mile every hour on the top of the hour for 24 hrs; this was in a pool til the pool closed, in a lake til the pool opened in the morning, and then back in the pool. This exact thing might not be doable yet for you, but I am trying to show you that you can make your own challenges! Make a challenge once a month that is daunting - one that you just MIGHT (maybe) be able to do - and go for it. Make an occasion of each long swim that you do.

    PLUS: if your speed is in fact getting slower since you have had stroke advice, you might not have had someone with open water (not wetsuit- that is a different stroke) experience look at it. If you are interested, get someone to video 30 sec of you swimming smoothly (say at 70% effort) and 30 sec of you swimming fast (say at 90%). If you send to me in a pm I can give you 5 things to work on.

    evmoStephenslknightBridgetemkhowleyKatieBunSoloMoCoIronMikethelittlemerwookieand 3 others.
  • abeabe australiaMember

    thinking to much - overthinking training to swim far will not work. You will improve by just swimming and swimming lots pace will naturally improve. If you have the negative thoughts all the time you will just continue to not enter events

    IronMike
  • emkhowleyemkhowley Boston, MACharter Member

    @jendut said:

    >

    PLUS: if your speed is in fact getting slower since you have had stroke advice, you might not have had someone with open water (not wetsuit- that is a different stroke) experience look at it. If you are interested, get someone to video 30 sec of you swimming smoothly (say at 70% effort) and 30 sec of you swimming fast (say at 90%). If you send to me in a pm I can give you 5 things to work on.

    This is a really valuable offer. I've long said if you give Jen Dutton 50 yards, she'll be able to tell you (in words that make sense and are actionable) what you could be doing better/differently to find speed/efficiency/less injury. Take her up on this. You won't regret it.

    kejoyceIronMikeNoelFigartBridget

    Stop me if you've heard this one...
    A grasshopper walks into a bar...
    https://elainekhowley.com/

  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNMember

    Stop overthinking and just do it. Every OW race is different based on weather, wind, currents, etc. You don't know what you're capable of until you try it. It sets a great baseline for you to try out what you currently know, then afterwards, write down what you thought went well and what you think you'd need to do better in the future.

    IronMikeBridget
  • NoelFigartNoelFigart Lebanon, NHSenior Member
    edited March 21

    I allowed myself to get intimidated out of an Alcatraz swim once. Partially my brain and the stupidity of watching a video of a shark attacking a seal, and partially because they kept giving these speed metrics and how you shouldn't even THINK OF ATTEMPTING THE SWIM if you couldn't meet them. (I'm a total turtle)

    I'm not a majorly experienced open water swimmer by any means, but I really regret letting the rhetoric tip me over into bailing on it.

    It has been very VERY hard to get back on the horse, so to speak, after that.

    I'd say since all the real swimmers here say to go for it and try, you really oughta.

    KatieBunIronMikeSolo
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member
    edited March 22

    ....and @miklcct , as a person who has been the last person to finish Zurich within the cut-off, (just), and is unashamedly slow, can I just say, please stop trying to analyse it all, forget what you've been told and just get in that water, even if it's a warm water swim and not the colder one you insist you need. They aren't mutually exclusive. Until you've actually had a go at one of these swims, you won't really know what to go for next. Best of luck!

    IronMikeslknightMLambythelittlemerwookie
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    6> @jendut said:

    PLUS: if your speed is in fact getting slower since you have had stroke advice, you might not have had someone with open water (not wetsuit- that is a different stroke) experience look at it. If you are interested, get someone to video 30 sec of you swimming smoothly (say at 70% effort) and 30 sec of you swimming fast (say at 90%). If you send to me in a pm I can give you 5 things to work on.

    It's been 4 weeks after I got the stroke advice and I concentrated in working on the stroke, supplemented with short interval sets. My short distance time seemed to has improved, however it did not translate to long-distance time, which reverted to the time half a year ago before I joined the squad training.

    I have just started to use the most expensive option of getting a coach to work on me now. The coach I got is not from my club, but rather has experience in multiple endurance sports including trail running, orienteering, kayaking, etc. He is a swimming coach, orienteering coach, and also a kayaking coach as well and we met through orienteering competition. He is no longer active in the local open water swimming group which I am in because he found them very fast (he could barely catch up the slower group a few years ago, and he was not going to devote all his life in swimming), but he still coaches open water swimmers as well, like someone targeting a swimrun in a cold country.

    I told him I want to do the 5 km but I'm afraid of my cut off, and my prior experience, and sent him the analysis video 4 weeks ago. He then offered me private lesson at a "friendly" price of about half of those "well-known" (in the swimming community) swimming coaches in the city.

    I've done my first lesson today, and he has given me advice contrary to what the squad coach (an ex-Olympian swimmer) was doing on me - he tells me to decrease my turnover by using a more catch-up like style (while the squad coach wanted me to increase my turnover before) and use my abs to hold the lower body higher in the water, and think that my pull till the hip is not far enough (while squad coach thinks it is good), and make me try to pull till the upper leg. However, the common thing is that I am still not catching properly, pushing down the water in front of my stroke (which despite multiple attempts to learn and emulate that vertical forearm I cannot maintain it properly).

    It's only 5 weeks left until the 5 km race now. I really have no idea if I can improve enough to make it or not. Also by taking all these correction lessons, I am diverting my training focus away from what I should have been doing originally. In the last 4 weeks I did basically no endurance training (while I did some in January), only technique work and short intervals because I was afraid of doing endurance before I got my technique right.

    About the video thing, sorry but unfortunately I have asked, and confirmed that the school pool I use does indeed not allow taking videos.

  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    @miklcct do the 5k anyway, without any expectation. Many of us have been where you are now. You're beginning to work on your stroke but even if it's not in time for the 5k, it's well worth having a go. Not finishing within the time is a possibility but the world won't end if that happens. You'll just have a target to beat next time.

    NoelFigartcurlyIronMikeSolo
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    @KatieBun said:
    @miklcct do the 5k anyway, without any expectation. Many of us have been where you are now. You're beginning to work on your stroke but even if it's not in time for the 5k, it's well worth having a go. Not finishing within the time is a possibility but the world won't end if that happens. You'll just have a target to beat next time.

    I've finally signed up for that race - hope it goes well!

    I'm going to do more speed training starting the next week, as the pool I use opens for 2 more hours in the evening since April.

    SoloPasqualeKatieBunIronMikecurlyMLambyStephenruth
  • abeabe australiaMember

    Finally - better to give it a go than to overthink.

    If you dont make the time that is the incentive to work harder for the next challenge go get em.

    look forward to how you go good luck

    IronMikecurlyrlm
  • KatieBunKatieBun CornwallSenior Member

    @miklcct said:

    I've finally signed up for that race - hope it goes well!

    I'm going to do more speed training starting the next week, as the pool I use opens for 2 more hours in the evening since April.

    Good decision! Go into it to enjoy it!

    curlyBridget
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member

    Hurray!

    rlm

    Just here troubling deaf heaven with my bootless cries...

  • rlmrlm Member

    You are GREAT people!

    Solo
  • miklcctmiklcct Kowloon, Hong KongMem​ber

    I'm very sad now because the group who do long distance training do not welcome me and tell me to get faster to join, as I cannot catch up them.

    As today is a holiday, we did an extraordinary swim. Everyone started off together, swam to a checkpoint, regrouped, then split to two groups. The shorter group returned to the beach and swam 4 km in total, while the longer group continued to the open ocean, rounded a peninsula and swam 9.5 km in total.

    I was very slow and made myself to the checkpoint last, as I'd never swam the course before and didn't know where exactly the checkpoint was. Everyone else was already there when I arrived. At that point the group was going to spilt into 2. The group going long then told me to turn back with the shorter group.

    After I swam back with the shorter group, I had my lunch, then walked to the finish of the longer group afterwards to meet them. I chatted with them but they thought I was not ready to join them. They thought I should be doing 5 km consistently first, then build up to 7, then 9. However, the Saturday group I normally swim in normally only do 3 km, and although a group normally swim 5 km on Sunday, I cannot catch up with them and always end up swimming with the group doing 3 km.

    I then talked about my goal of doing marathon swimming, but they think I'm too ambitious. The guy who talked to me used 3 years to build to that level, but I was talking about doing it next year (and I now have some idea of doing it THIS year!!!), and channel swimming 3 years afterwards.

    I'm totally not satisfied ONLY doing 4 km, but I think I've been pissed off. I really need to do longer swims for my marathon swimming goal, but doing it on my own would be too dangerous in the open ocean (as there is no support and no exit points on the route), and the group doing this is too fast for me to keep up with.

    I didn't have any speed improvement even after I started regular swim training in a squad producing marathon swimmers for 5 months!!!!!!! So I don't think I will ever be able to join their group.

    What should I do now? Is my goal really achievable? I'm more and more frustrated now.

  • SoloSolo B.C. CanadaMember

    You are doing great. You have perseverance and commitment that is admirable. I am so sad that your local groups are not welcoming. Find your own water and make your own swims! There is never 100% safety in open water, just do the best you can.

    evmoAzskiIronMike
  • curlycurly Issaquah, WAMember

    @Solo said:
    You are doing great. You have perseverance and commitment that is admirable. I am so sad that your local groups are not welcoming. Find your own water and make your own swims! There is never 100% safety in open water, just do the best you can.

    It's very frustrating that you can't find a good group to swim with. It's usually pretty hard to find a group that fits your skills and schedule. One suggestion for being able to train safely in the ocean. See if you can find a kayaker that would want to accompany you. You never know, there may be someone who would love an excuse to go out for a little paddle with you.

    I swim with my wife as a kayaker. We started open water swimming with her sitting on the beach reading a book. Then I kind of wrestled her into the idea of kayaking along with me. Now she looks forward to the daily paddle as much as I look forward to the swim. Some days she even is the driving force, which is pretty funny considering she isn't really an exercise freak.

    evmoAzskiSoloIronMike
  • AzskiAzski Prescott, ArizonaMember

    Great suggestions @curly and @solo. U beat me to it. @miklcct once u have kayak support u won't need organized"events" with entry fees$ and time cuts. Make your own adventures. Swim across a local bay, bridge to bridge, out to an islet. Get creative. Stop worrying about speed. I've been swimming since I was a kid and I now love the freedom from the pace clock that marathon swimming gives me. Think in terms of increasing time in the water or simply going farther than before. Go swim!!!

    evmoNoelFigartSolorlmcurly
  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNMember

    You can do a lot of training in the pool to get your distance and speed up. It's not ideal, but trust me, I trained for several long swims like this with lots of hours slogging in the pool to get the endurance up. Maybe you work to build up the distance and speed in the pool and then swim OW with the group where you can and adjust the distance so that you're safe. You'll still get the OW experience, even if you have to turn around as they're coming back and you hadn't made the turnaround. Look for alternatives to still accomplish your goal.

    MLambySolocurlyIronMikeKari33
Sign In or Register to comment.