Training for the Rottnest Channel

dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
edited November 2012 in General Discussion
So I am doing the Rottnest Channel swim at the end of February next year which will be my first >10km swim (I did 3 10km swims this year), just looking at getting feedback on my planned training program.

I travel a lot for work but pick hotels based on either having a lap pool or proximity to a lap pool.

Mon->Wed: Regular set ~6,000 yards
Thu: Travel Day
Fri: Dry Land
Sat: 1 hour with swim coach in morning (pool); Could squeeze in an open water set 30-60 minutes in the afternoon
Sun: Long set starting at 4hours/10km and building up from there gradually.

The bulk of the training is pool orientated since I am too much of wimp to do much more than the aforementioned 30-60 minutes in sub 60F water. The above would give me a solid 25km+ per week.

I can squeeze in more yardage by either getting in some morning sets or extending the regular sets

The Rottnest swim is likely to be warmer than the 3 10km swims I did this year if only by a couple of degrees. I did start feeling a bit cold towards the end of two of those swims, but wondering if that was a function of fatigue. Concern on feeling cold is why I do want to keep the OW set in on Saturdays even though the water in SF is a lot colder than Perth.

Thoughts? Is a weekly 4hour+ session too much? Should I try and hit a full 20km pool swim before the event? - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer


  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Congrats on getting into Rottnest!! A bit beside the point but how was the South Head swim? I doubt ill ever summon up the courage for either!
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    @ChickenOSea The South Head swim was harder than I thought it would be. I think mostly due to navigational issues - I had no kayaker and with the large swells on the day the escort boat was bouncing around a lot (my poor brother who was crewing vomited six times on the day) resulting in a longer than planned swim of 4h30m. It also didn't help that it dropped a couple of degrees water temperature wise as we rounded the heads so while I was at my most fatigued I was also starting to get cold (side note, being one the last to finish = no hot water in the showers :(( )

    Based on my experience in the 10k's I did this year I think one of my issues will be getting a particular completion time out of my head and just going for the "swim to the next feed" mode. I found once I had exceeded the completion time I had mentally pegged I got a bit stressed.

    If I can't achieve a zen swimming mind my backup plan is to pick a completion time that represents a more realistic upper limit. For Rottnest, taking the south head time that would estimate out to ~9hours, so I think if I mentally prepare for 10 hours of swimming I should be ok. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • @dc_in_sf Congratulations on qualifying - massive effort. I am not sure on a physical training schedule for that type of distance but don't forget about your mental preparation.

    My swimming has been greatly assisted by this simple $30 .mp3 download i was told about:

    After using this recording for nearly 3 months I never realised how much of swimming is between the ears. I have had fantastic success in more-or-less eliminating all those little mental demons that chipped away telling me to stop, its too hard, my shoulder hurts, its too rough etc. Swimming longer distances has become considerabily easier (dare i say that word in this forum). The key for me is to listen to it as instructed i.e. every day.

    I have my 2013/14 pre qualifying race in a few weeks. With the flu refusing to let go i am hoping to cough my way down the chilly lake.

    oh one last thing: You will soon see their website sucks. Don't buy all the add ons just the $29.95 Open Water Swimming mp3.
  • paulmpaulm Senior Member
    DC-in-sf. THis is one of the best swims I have ever been involved in- I support crewed for my wife earlier this year . The organisers are extremely professional and very pro safety. A couple of tips- a) do not underestimate Hypothermia...I know the water is relatively warm but there were a number of swimmers last year including 1-2 of the lead pack that suffered Hypothermia and were rescued from the water. Try and get a couple of long swims in slightly cooler water (maybe 19-23 % ) in the weeks leading up to the swim to help acclimatise your body B) Make sure both your paddler & boat have some identifying flags or coloured hat /t-shirt (think way out there colours or flag that other people wont be using or copying ) . This will help you easily spot both the paddler & the boat and not be wasting time and energy trying to spot them as you cant pass certain marker points unless they are beside you. Good luck & Enjoy !
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    @Kane Good luck with the qualifier - I did mine with a cold so have total sympathy for you.

    @paulm I did the swim as a relay last year, it was definitely an amazing event and my principle motivation to wanting to swim longer distances. My challenge is that the water in San Francisco will be hitting the 10-11C by Feb, and my best at that temperature is ~40minutes. The good news is that I just heard that the water heater at the outdoor pool I am using for long sets is broken... :) - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

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