Increasing Yardage and Distance - Advice Please!

heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
edited November 2012 in Beginner Questions
This spring I hope to swim the Tampa Bay Marathon. The farthest I've swum so far is the 11 miles I did in the Willamette last year. Since Tampa Bay is more than twice the distance, I assume I need to hunker down and swim more!

Like many of us, I have a job and loved ones and other things I enjoy doing, so my time is limited, but I want to feel comfortable tackling the distance. I'm not fast, and don't aspire to go fast, but I do want to finish successfully and safely. Race is in late April - how would you go about increasing mileage?


  • timsroottimsroot Spring, TXCharter Member
    The rules of thumb that I've heard is to never increase weekly mileage for anything more than 10% week on week, and if possible, have a swim of ~70% of your target distance before the swim. Target to have at least as long per week average as your target event. In your case, you should shoot to average 24 miles per week since you are targeting a 24 mile swim.

    I didn't have the 70% swim before the 25k I did last May. I did have a couple 3-4 hour swims, though. While the day went pretty rough, I didn't have any joint pain, and I was shocked at how well I recovered. For the couple long swims I'm targeting in 2013, I'm going to try and have a sufficiently long swim, but I'll be more worried about my weekly target than the individual long swim targets.
  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    This is really helpful, @timsroot - thank you!

    I don't know how I would practically squeeze 24 miles into my week, much as I would love to. I can probably manage 2-3 miles per day 4-5 times a week. I guess there would have to be a much longer swim on the weekend...
  • dc_in_sfdc_in_sf San FranciscoCharter Member
    @heart I'm training for Rottnest Channel in February, so have the same need to ramp up mileage (though I am only aiming for ~25-30km a week). Since you are in SF as well, I'd suggest Burlingame Aquatics at Burlingame High School for a weekend long swim.

    * ~20 minutes from SF
    * drop in rate is $7/session
    * Sunday lap swim has ~7 hour window!
    * Best of all 50m pool!!!

    Not too busy - I had a lane to myself last Sunday. I'm personally aiming to do a 4+ hour swim every sunday they are open between now and the Rotto swim. - open water adventures of a very ordinary swimmer

  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    @heart - TBMS was my first marathon swim, so it will always be very special to me! Balancing life and swimming is not always easy, however I have found what works the best for me, is to be at least twice the distance of the event, for the final week of training before the taper. The key is not the 'business day' work-outs, but the weekend work-outs, as back-to-back long swims have always proven to work very well. I would recommend at least 2-3 swims in length of 6+ hours in the final weekends prior to the taper. Again, this might be a lot for some, but it works well for me!

    Best of luck in your training, and please reach out to me with any questions!!
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    edited November 2012
    Thanks so much, folks!

    @dc_in_sf, I usually swim at my gym, which has a one-person-to-a-lane rule, but is 25 yards long (lots of unnecessary flip turns). Might be worth it to scoot over to Burlingame for the long swims, since Tampa is much colder than Aquatic Park.

    @ForeverSwim, thank you so much for offering advice; it means a lot coming from someone with so much experience (and I will take you up on it!). I think I can probably manage the weekend bulk, and no more than two miles a day on regular business days.
  • The best advice I can suggest is to arrange to have a lane all to yourself for a whole day. Then work out a ten hour training session instead of doing 100s you do 400s or one mile medleys. Just make sure each set is long so you settle into it. Pretend it is just a normal days work and instead of being a secretary you are being a swimmer. Get this session done as soon as possible. Then drop down to 5 hour swims. Do a ten hour session swim once a month. Then when you are ready, try a long non stop swim (not a session of sets). You may find the long swim is monotonous, but you only have to do one. You will find the five hour swims then pass quickly. It is ok too to just add an hour each month instead, but this doesn't allow you to know you have already done the ten hour.
Sign In or Register to comment.