Is it possible to train for 10k only twice a week?

StephenOxStephenOx United KingdomNew Member

I've read plenty of training programs that run from 12-16 weeks that can have you swimming anywhere from 3-5 times a week.

My question is, if one could only swim twice a week but was willing to take a much longer time for training, say 20-25 weeks (or more), would it be possible to complete a 10k swim at the end of that training?

Has anyone here got any experience of training for a long distance but only swimming twice a week?

Any positive input welcome.



  • LakeBaggerLakeBagger Central OregonSenior Member

    My question is, if one could only swim twice a week but was willing to take a much longer time for training, say 20-25 weeks (or more), would it be possible to complete a 10k swim at the end of that training?

    I think this is a really interesting question. I’m guessing that it depends on your background/history in swimming, but anything’s possible. I had an interesting conversation about this about a year ago with a marathon swimmer/coach named Shannon House Keegan. She specializes in minimalist training plans and might be a good person to ask... not sure if she’s on this forum? Her business is called Intrepid Water. Interesting minimalist training plan for a 25 mile swim can be found here

    I’m the opposite of a minimalist trainer so definitely have not had experience in this area lol.

  • StephenOxStephenOx United KingdomNew Member

    Thanks! I'll look into her!

  • Openh2oOpenh2o Member
    edited October 2020

    100% possible!
    On my opinion and practice!
    But. have one very inportant "But" u past swim bio!
    U swim level!
    I training few times on this method! 2 times was ok.but one time was nightmare! And I was able to finish only with my swim background!
    I talk for ow swim 16-30km!
    I start swim long ow befor few years for fun and pleasure!
    All my preparations are 16-12 weeks! I cant training more longer! Half ot one year train for ow race is not for me!
    Befor 4 years i decide swim one hard ow comp( 30km) but i cant time for train and enaught mood for that!
    And i start swim 12 weeks But just 3 or 4 days in week!
    But i swim a lot in my swim day and rest after for one or two days!
    I swam very good this race!

    Wish health and good luck

  • I will give u one example for my swim now!
    Last month septemb i have a lot free time. I decide swim every days! Ok start swim 2 weeks! Feel so tired and no in good mood!
    This month im busy and i swim few times 4 or 5 with today!
    But i swam 10km easy free !
    This week i think i havnt time for train.but today my work change and i have time!
    I come from pool and i swim 10km free today! That will be all for me this week!
    I feel so good and in shape!
    More from septemb when i swim every day!)))
    All the best

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    It's amazing what you can do when 1) you don't care how slow you go, 2) your swim doesn't have a time limit or has a very liberal one, 3) you end up working more than you expected and only get maybe 4-5 hours of swimming in a week.

    Injury prevention is a big one. I'll weave a tale for you: I was a junior in high school and got interested in running. I ran around my block every day. It was a mile long! Every day. I asked my dad for money to sign up for a 10k because, I ran a mile every day!

    At the 10k I stood near the front. My dad warned me. No dad, I said, I know what I'm doing! The starting pistol went off. I took off. Flash forward to the mailbox weeks later when I got a great picture of myself sent to me looking fast!

    I finished the 10k in one hour ten minutes. It was brutal. But, my first mile was 5:25. I'd never run faster.

    I learned a lot from that event, enough so that I got my 10Ks down to upper 40s/lower 50s, and I was happy with that. I learned that you can't just run a mile every day and think that's enough for a race 6x that length. That first 10k, besides teaching me a lot, left me sore for days. It could have been worse.

    Same with swimming long swims. If your two days are constructive, and you put the time in (I call it "time horizontal"), your back will thank you. If you work on tough sets, your shoulders will thank you. (If you get a coach and work on proper technique, you'll start using your lats more than your delts.)

    I'm no expert. I swam my first 10k (current-assisted) in 2011. Been attempting marathons most years since, and even finishing more than 50% of them. (w00t!) But one thing I've learned is yes you can do it on minimal time commitment, but you most assuredly must train smart. And, most importantly, don't NOT try that 10k because you think you won't finish it. And don't quit entirely because you couldn't finish. One learns a lot from DNFs.


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

  • dpm50dpm50 PA, U.S.Senior Member

    Just curious, why once a week? Pool/water access? Schedule demands?

    Maybe incorporate dryland workouts geared for swimmers, such as this one...

    Not the same, and during covid shutdowns, in my experience, not nearly as much fun as swimming... but regular strength training did help when I returned to swimming.

  • StephenOxStephenOx United KingdomNew Member

    Thanks for all the replies guys.

    I was thinking of maybe trying to train for a 10k next year when covid restrictions in uk have relaxed somewhat.

    The reason I was asking about 2x/week training is because I also like to cycle and lift weights.

  • abeabe australiaMember

    I do 10 - 15km swims of 2 swims a week each session about 6 - 8km for same reason like to surf do weights and boxing as all this helps injury prevention.
    Long term I think variety helps the mind and body

  • And somthing very import for me...have more time for beer!)))
    Im master swimmer!

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    Man, that's an interesting question. During this year of completely screwed up swimming, I've learned a few things. First of all, the human body is pretty amazing. When you start doing a physical task, at first you are pretty bad at it. But in a relatively short amount of time you develop muscles, balance and technique that combine to make you fairly proficient. This is true for every physical activity.

    I took a many month break from swimming. First time out was pretty pathetic, relatively speaking. But in a matter of weeks I was back to nearly my regular pace per mile. On my last swim of the year in the lake, I actually was up to my usual speed. Part of the reason for that is that it was really cold (for me). The swim was out and back and that was it for me. Pace was good because I didn't chat with my kayaker, look at eagles and screw around like we usually do.

    I also am a firm believer in the idea of "as you practice, so shall you perform". That is one of the reasons that I like to vary my workouts. If I do too much distance work, I settle into my all day pace and that's the way it is forevermore. So this is why I kind of enjoy lake workouts in the summer and pool workouts in the winter. Pool swimming keeps me honest.

    With that in mind, I believe that if you set up your workouts to be geared to swimming 10k's with only two days a week swimming, you could probably do it. The workouts would have to be focused on distance, so even though you are only swimming two days, each of those days would have to be a three hour swim workout. You could work up to that pretty quickly, but you would have to be diligent. Again, the human body is pretty adaptable and if you make yourself do this, you will do it.

    I also think that it couldn't be two swim days and five "lie on the couch and drink beer days". But I see there might be some other opinions on that. Maybe a variety of exercise and intensity, plus two swim days and seven days of light beer drinking. All things in moderation...

  • Openh2oOpenh2o Member
    edited October 2020

    Curly u ate great!)))
    Know u whot happan today with me?
    Saturday i swim 10km (3h) slow joy free nonstop! Feel amazing!
    Yestarday have work and after relax with beers! No swim
    But today in one moment i unexpected no work afternoon!
    And go to pool and...swim another 10km ns free!))
    Now feel unbeliv!
    But tomorow start work for 6 or 7 days and maybe no have time for swimming! All this days((( only will have time. I hope!)))
    When i think from 9 to 19 oct( 10 days i swam just 3 times 16.17 and19 today.but total 30km))
    Be healt and all the best ow friends!)

  • Curly can u made or post .general discussion for our personal dangerous moments in ow swim? I dont know how do this!
    But this will be interesting on my opinion!
    I swim only few ow maratons .but when i think back . All my swim have so crazy moments for me! Some really no funy!))

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    There is a fun general discussion on this site called "your first long swim". There are some hair raising adventures in that thread and it's a fun read. Plus there's even a contribution from yours truly...

  • StephenOxStephenOx United KingdomNew Member

    This is all really encouraging.

    Out of interest has anyone every tried a 10k or something similar whilst also progressing in other sports/ exercise?

  • abeabe australiaMember

    and time to enjoy a beer

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    @abe said:
    and time to enjoy a beer

    Perfect quote from the land down under...

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