What is the next level and how do I get there?
Last year I created a thread called “is a 5K the gateway to marathon swimming”. Well, apparently the answer is yes. I stumbled across my thread when I was doing a search for training advice for longer distances. It was interesting reviewing the advice and commentary which helped me to accomplish my goals. This past summer was very successful for me in that I swam a great 5K race and improved quite a bit from my first effort. I also swam a couple 10K’s, with the second one building on the experience of my first one.
So now I’m thinking about how I want to build on my modest base with some cool swims next summer. A few things I did this past year will be my general model for next year. I spent a few months working on technique and improving my stroke. This has been something I’ve done for many years. It’s kind of a “rest and review” activity and I think it’s very helpful. I then started to build a base for distance swimming by increasing my distance each week until I was regularly swimming a 5K workout. In the pool, this was a variety of sets, just to keep things interesting.
My wife and I bought a kayak, and she learned how to be a support kayaker as I learned how to be an open water swimmer. We developed some courses that we would follow, and we learned how to operate as a team. My open water workouts for the most part were around 4-5K. As I got ready for my first 10K, I did do a couple longer swims, but I think the longest was about 2 hours. This all seemed to work out pretty well.
Here are my specific questions for developing my swimming for next year:
I think I’d like to work up to 20K. I doubled from 5K to 10K this year, but a double to 20K is a heck of a lot more K’s. Can those of you who have done this comment on this step. Is that too big a jump or is that a reasonable step for me? (Note that I finished my second 10K with energy and enthusiasm to spare.)
Regarding a training plan, I think I can get away with the 4 or 5K daily workout, but longer than that is going to get a bit of pushback from my kayaker who doesn’t want to spend her life paddling around a bunch of lakes. (I’ve pointed out to her that she is the knucklehead that married me, but that hasn’t really gotten me anywhere.) Is a 4 to 5K daily workout adequate preparation for a 20K? I might be able to get the sporadic 10K in every now and then.
Acclimation to lower temperature is a puzzle for me. I’m cold adverse, which means that it’s late September and I really should be back at the pool. (Apologies to Rod Stewart) I could acclimate if the temperature slowly lowered, but in spring, when I get back in the lake, the temperature is cold as heck and slowly rises. It's cold and rainy here in the winter and neither my kayaker or I find this conducive to being out on the lake year round. This keeps me out of the lake until the end of June. I have been very resistant to wearing a wetsuit or a farmer john, but I’m wondering if this might be a good way to ease into the lake earlier. Does anyone have good suggestions for a cold wimp to get into the colder water earlier?
(TL;DR) Is a 20K a reasonable step after a 10K? Is a 4-5K daily workout a good training plan for a 20K? Are there some good plans for acclimation for a low bioprene individual?
Thank you for all the help and advice this year. Let’s see what we can do next summer.