10km training schedule - 3 months out

KaneKane Member
edited November 2012 in Beginner Questions
Hey guys,
I am completing in my first 10km swim in December. I would like some ideas/suggestion on what other swimmers do in regards to a more formal training schedule leading into the last 3 months.

I am a beginner swimmer who swims about 10-15km a week comprising of a variety of 500m, 1000m, 2500m and 5000m sets. I have trained hard for 9 months doing lots of technique and strength work (about 400km worth) and feel now is a perfect time to tackle this distance. I am not a fast swimmer and like most newbies I still stuggle mentally with the longer distance sets (thank god for my ipod and the ever shifting shapes of sand at the bottom of the pool).

My goals are to 1. complete the event in sub 3hours 10min (21min per 1km) and 2. prove to myself that i can mentally swim this far.

Any suggestions on set structure per week that could assist me in achieing my goals for the next 12 weeks would be very much appriciated.




  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    Hi Kane, I hope to take on a 10k myself next year. Some good advice here.

    13 week training plan here

    best of luck with it, and make sure to write up a report for us !!

    ps - unfortuneately 21min per 1km will give you a time of 3hours 30min rather than 3hrs10

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Just enjoy yourself. Don't set a time goal unless the race has one.

    If the race won't have kayak escorts, then work on navigation and swimming straight. I'm a steady 3K per hour swimmer, but when in open water, that drops to about 2.8K per. I lose almost 10% solely from not being able to swim straight.

    Good luck. It is fun!

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

  • I completed my first 6 mile swim in June and the 10 mile kingdom swim in July (also a first for me) The thing that gave me total confidence during these events was my long pool swims. If you can get in some long training swims in open water I'm sure that would be even better.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I'm with @RickS. If you can swim 10K in a pool (yuck!), then 10K in open water with no flip-turns is heavenly!

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

  • hey guys, thanks heaps for the advice, links and especially the encouragement. I will be sure to post the training schedule i end up collating from the links and what i end up working too.

    Glad to hear i am not the only zig zagger out there IronMike!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    I find that, during open water races, I'm buoyed by the scenery and the beauty of it all, and end up being able to swim distances I never thought possible. So, for the "big swims", I would do them in open water if possible, and use the pool for interval work. If you're near a body of water that has a buoy line or recognizable landmarks, practice sighting on those.

    I've recently taken to closing my eyes when I swim in the pool (I open them only to flip turn.) It encourages me to sight even in the pool.
  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    If you can race a 5K hard, you can swim a 10K easy.
  • Chris_ODChris_OD Oceanside, CAMember
    When will you take your first food/drink stop? Two hours? Longer?
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    I'll be the one lone voice against feeding. Water yourself up prior and just swim slowly. Even if it's 3.5 hours, you don't need feeding if you're just swimming to finish versus win.

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

  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    My first couple of 10Ks were in large fresh water reservoirs. I just drank the water when I felt thirsty and ate a few GUs that I had jammed into my suit.
  • the plan is for no stops Chris, apart from rolling onto my back to drink. It will be our summer and temps will be about 25-30 C out and 21 in. it is a fresh water swim but unlike Bobswims drinking habits i won't b taking a swig of this water. My rule is if i can smell the water then i am not drinking it...!

    With all the info i got from this post and the links provided i have put together my 13 week swimming plan. Here is a link to it: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ar3lxM1eONRfdEZWLTdObkZuMnVLX1B3eGxqVjlIVkE

    This is very much tailored to my life in the next 13 weeks. i tried to get a mixture of short and long swims and increase the distances in the 8-12th week.

    Feel free to comment, take it, etc.
  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Hard to comment as I can't figure out how many meters you're doing on each day. For instance, in week 8 you have 22 workouts not including your extras. How many per day? How many rest days? Week one is filled out, so of course I can see you did 2 days and were sick. Is your intent to do all the distances per week? If you get busy and/or sick, would you then try and fit all those meters in on whatever days are left? And I don't know what the experts would say about you doing a 10K only two weeks from your race.

    I'm certainly no expert, having only done one OW 10K, one pool 10K (horrible), and a bunch of 5Ks. But these are questions that came to mind while reading your plan.

    One thing I will say: For your open water practices, I would worry less about distance and more on practicing those skills that, at least for me, I find hard: navigation, peeing, drinking, fixing goggles, etc.

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

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    Kind of related to this thread. So far this year, I've been focused a lot more on building my aerobic base for the 25k I swam, and the other one I was supposed to swim but got cancelled. My next big target is a 10k in November, and, if conditions permit, I'd like to shoot for an improved time. The biggest challenge will be switching my head from "cruise" to "work", but other than that, how should I structure my sets? I still will have to do long swims, I understand that, but I'm a bit confused how to build my workouts. 100s with less rest? 500s? Any suggestions?
  • yeah IronMike this appears to an oversight. I wrote it out on paper first and have forgotten to include it in the spreadsheet. I will retrieve my notes from the recycle bin tonight and fix it up. Most sessions following the first week average about 3.5 - 4km every second day. I like this distance as i can easily fit it in after work and my body's recovery time remains no longer than 12-15 hours. This allows me to go to work the next day without feeling mentally and physically drained.

    Timsroot - 25km WOW that is huge...i am probably well out of my depth here to comment but for what it is worth: i like 500s as a base distances with reletively quick turn arounds; 500m is short enough to see the stats (lots of sets to view), this particularly helps me with mental motivation. 500m is also long enough for me get into your grove especially if i am working on something.
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    timsroot wrote:
    My next big target is a 10k in November, and, if conditions permit, I'd like to shoot for an improved time.

    Are you doing the Bale of Tortuga? I'll be there as well - hoping to use it as a qualifier for Rottnest.

    http://notdrowningswimming.com - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    dc_in_sf wrote:
    Are you doing the Bale of Tortuga? I'll be there as well - hoping to use it as a qualifier for Rottnest.

    I am. I swam their 5k this past April, and am swimming the one in October, too. The race was pretty well run, and the race director seems like a pretty good guy.
  • Guys i have hit a little hurdle 3 weeks out and would love some advice...i have been rather ill over the last 10 days with a chest infection. For the last 2 weeks and then again for the next two weeks I was scheduled to do some longer swims. However, I was back in the pool today and my 1000m sets were a struggle.

    So my questions are;
    1. how long does it normal take you guys to get back to 100% swimming fitness and
    2. should i stick to my original training program and jump right into the scheduled 5km, 7km and 10km swims or alter it to build up my base again and then try get one or two longer swim in when i am feeling closer to 100% i.e. closer to the event?

    I have just under 420km under my belt this year so mentally i know i have done the work; its now about that all important last few weeks! I am very excited about the swim!

    Thanks guys, as a newbie to long distance swimming i really appreciate your advice.

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Kane, if I were you, I'd maybe try and fit in a 5K a couple weeks before, but if I felt bad I wouldn't. It really is more important to get healthy.

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

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member
    Listen to your body! Make sure you're fully recovered before you start to push yourself. Pushing it too soon will just make you more tired and take longer to get back to it. If I've been sick, it's usually around 2 weeks or so until I'm feeling normal in the water. The truth is, you've done the work already. Just focus on getting yourself to feeling better and doing what feels right. I'd try building, but maybe not doing a longer training swim too close to the race. Higher intensity and lower yardarge, like a taper, might work. Good luck- and stay healthy!
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Ditto. Good luck!
  • Hey guys...i did it easy!!!

    The training schedule, and revised schedule after the flu was more than sufficient and I am pleased to say i had at least another 5km in the tank! I think the secret for me was lots and lots of 1km sets then breaking the actual swim into 1km sets.

    Now to start training to double the distance, I am hooked!!!

    Thx for the advice along he way guys!

  • IronMikeIronMike BostonCharter Member
    Congrats @Kane! It is a sickness. I can't wait to get back in the (open) water.

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

  • oopwateroopwater Member
    edited October 2013
    Hey Kane,

    Awesome job!! I know it's been a while since you've done this swim, but I'm 3 weeks out from doing my first 7.5km swim. I've also been swimming about 10 - 15km a week, like you did before this one. What advice do you have for the last 3 weeks before the first swim?

    Did you end up feeding on the day? I've done a couple of cold miles in the past, but what should I expect from doing 5 of them at once?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

  • Training is a very personal thing as we're all different ages, sizes and shapes and with different 'histories'. I used to be as fit as a fiddle then did precisely nothing for 20 years before returning to sport. It's been a long road back.

    I have a 10k in precisely one month and I'm now going flat out prior to tapering. 4x 3.5 or 4k swims a week with 2x gym sessions on non swimming days. I'd like fit in a couple of runs as well but I'm listening to my body and if I don't have the energy, I don't run.

    I've found that fitness isn't enough with MS, you need strength as well hence the weight sessions.
  • KaneKane Member
    How the time has flown since I posted this...since that 10km swim i have gone on to complete lots of 10Km swims and more recently a 20km swim....I am starting to plan my next big challenge a 35km swim...I am addicted!!!
  • So how has your training changed/progressed? What tips can you pass on?

    Thanks Kane.
  • I'm not sure how to post a new discussion thread, but since this is closely related I'll ask here. What would your training plan look like if you had a 10 mile swim 5 weeks out? I currently swim 2x/4000y twice a week and then a longer swim (3-6miles) once a week. I have no sense of "feeding" since my longest swim thus far is 6 miles and I just drink some water during that.
  • @SuirThing That training guide is awesome. Thanks for posting!

    Excellence is born of preparation, dedication, focus and tenacity; compromise on any of these and you become average.

  • KaneKane Member
    I am by no means a swimming or coaching expert and what i have learnt can only be credited to the coach i train with and the info i have learnt from others i.e. forums such as this. So the most valuable things i have learnt:
    - keep it dead simple...don't complicate your training, preparations, etc.
    - your output is so dependant on what you eat. Eat well and drink lots of water.
    - determine what you are going to eat during the race early on and practise eating that at ""every"" long swim thereafter.
    - swim in a masters squad...speeds sets are essential to distance swimming and if you are anything like me i don't like completing them by myself.
    - The most important part of your squad sets are the few kms after everyone has gone home. Practise swimming tired...alot!
    - One day per week swim a double session. The morning set is a long anaerobic swim designed to tire you (i was doing 8km) whilst the afternoon swim is an aerobic squad style swim...short speed sets (4km).
    - do 3 weeks of training then 1 week at one third to half the normal distance (aerobic swims only).
    - don't forget your mental training...positive affirmations are gold during those dark moments in the middle of the sea...mine are: "Nothing Great comes easy", "pain is temporary", "long, strong, complete", and my favourite..."swimming is just like walking"

    - And lastly
    thats why you are swimming after all!!!!!
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited June 2014
    The morning set is a long anaerobic swim designed to tire you (i was doing 8km) whilst the afternoon swim is an aerobic squad style swim...short speed sets (4km).

    Other way around. Long sets are aerobic, speed sets are anaerobic.

    @Quigley, only swimming three times a week for a 10 mile? You should be swimming five times a week. The weekly long swim won't really compensate for regular swimming.


  • Wow that's some mileage Kane! I would struggle combining that kind of tempo with work commitments, I'd need to sleep afterwards. Do you, or others suffer from that? I guess we all do surely. I did 4k off the beach this morning before going to the office but much more than 5k and my heads starts to drop at lunch time.
  • KaneKane Member
    @LoneSwimmer - oops your correct...!

    @warmwater - the first few weeks of double sessions are tough but it get easier as you go. I actually find the early morning swims before work very invigorating...i wish i had the up-and-go to do it everyday.
  • NikkiNikki Member

    Hi Kane,I loved your tips. Can you provide a bit more information on what you consumed during the long swims in the pool and what constituted a long swim when you were training for the 20k?

    Also, what was the longest training swim you did for the 20k and how far in advance of the 20k did you do it?

    I'm training for a 20k now. About six weeks out and just hitting my max swim of 15k this weekend.

    Thank you!

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