|Let's go swimming!|
But back to the question at hand. This question could take hours to answer or about 4 words. Let's start with the quick-and-dirty reply:
"I swim a lot." Swimming is my primary training for swimming. Neat how that works, huh?
Now for a less-flippant and more detailed response, yes, I do swim a lot. I approach marathon swim training in a similar way to how many marathon runners train. I build up distances gradually over time, I swim shorter, maintenance workouts during the week--usually between three and five times per week for about an hour and a half each session-- and I swim much longer on the weekends when I have more time to spare. Sometimes, I'll do a 20K workout in the pool on a Saturday in March, sometimes it's 6 or 8 hours in the ocean on a Sunday in May or June. It just depends on where I am in my training plan. There's lots of ways to skin this cat, but I've found this approach seems to work for me.
During the winter, I train with a Masters swim team in the pool, and I recommend that anyone interested in getting into long-distance open water swimming should work with a team and coach. It's fun, keeps you honest, and can help improve technique flaws and bad habits as they creep in. For the last two years, I've been training with MIT Masters at the gorgeous Zesiger Center facility in Cambridge. Previously, I trained with a high-powered team in Sudbury, West Side Swim Club, that had an attendance requirement and other aspects that one doesn't find at many Masters workouts. It was run like a college team, and that really worked for me. (Sadly, the team folded in 2011.) I've also swum with Wellesley Masters and Cambridge Masters Swim Club, and I am thinking I will probably move to Wayland Masters in the winter to swim with my buddy and fellow long-distance swimmer Jen Dutton, who trained me when I first got back into swimming in 2005, before the Longfellow Sports Club completely went down the drain. Jen's a great, no-nonsense coach, and it will be fun to be back with the folks who first rekindled my love for swimming.
|Feet at sunset. It's OK to take a break and |
enjoy the view once in a while
I also occasionally do yoga. I love it, but after bingeing on it in 2011, I began having a lot of problems with carpal tunnel syndrome. Too many downward dogs. It got to the point where I couldn't feel my hands and I couldn't pull a zipper. I'd lose all feeling in my hands after swimming a couple hundred yards, and I'd lose control of my pinky finger-- not good for streamlined form. I had some testing done and was referred to a hand surgeon and he wanted to operate, but I'd have to be out of the water for a couple months--too long--so now I don't do much yoga and I sleep with metal wrist bands so I don't wake up 10 times a night with dead arms. Maybe someday I'll get it taken care of, but for now, I'm just managing the problem.
Other than that, I do some ergging here and there. I have a nifty Concept 2 erg in the garage that I got from my brother who was a college rower. (I also rowed my freshman year of college.) It's a good counter-balance for lots of swimming.
And that's it. So moral of the story is, to swim a lot, you need to swim a lot. A little cross-training can help (or hurt, depending) and the biggest thing is to keep from getting burned out. Ramp up gently, stabilize the shoulders, avoid injury, and allow for adequate rest and recovery. It's not rocket science, but it can be exhausting. But also fun, exciting, wonderful, beautiful... shall I go on?
|Training partners help keep boredom at bay. Especially when you have an underwater camera, too.|