Adjusting Scheduled Pool Swim Workouts
Adjust your scheduled sessions according to your specific open water environment, such as the landmarks and rest points available.
If you have markers that can provide an 'open water length' of about 50-100m/yrds then you will be able to swim interval sets and drills. Take your rest intervals at a buoy, jetty or similar.
For longer steady-state intervals, you can opt to do these as out-and-back swims. The distance measured by your Garmin will be more reliable, and you will benefit significantly from the sighting experience.
Simplify each session (see example below) if necessary. Remember the purpose of the scheduled swim and, if needed, swim by time (by approximating how long it takes to swim each interval) rather than distance.
|Scheduled Pool Session||Revised Open Water Session|
300 FS in Z2 gradually increasing to Z4,
1 min rest*,
300 Pull in Z2 gradually increasing to Z4.
|Revised Main Set:
600 FS in Z4 + 90 sec rest
300 Pull in Z4 + 1 min rest
300 FS in Z4 + 1 min rest
200 Pull in Z4 + 1 min rest
1 x (100 Pull in Z2 + 100 FS in Z2),
1 x (200 Choice in Z2).
|Revised Warm Down:
400 Choice in Z2.
**Rest can be stationary in the shallow or at a buoy/jetty.
If using swim tools, plan your logistics. There are also many drills that can be done without tools, check this article. To become more efficient in open water, focus check Drill 9, which encourages bilateral breathing (useful in choppy conditions and because swim loops can be clockwise or counterclockwise). And Drill 10, which helps develop good sighting skills (essential in open water).
This is a great opportunity to practise your open water skills, in particular, breathing/sighting and also try to concentrate on swimming in a straight line without having a black line on the bottom of the pool to follow!
As long as your swim workouts have purpose and are approximately right in terms of volume and intensity, then you will deliver your training goals.
If all of the above proves impractical for whatever reason, then carry out a steady-state swim for the prescribed distance/duration and focus on your stroke and sighting.
Swimming with a buddy, or with a safety boat will keep you safe and offer opportunities to practice race skills. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings by checking your entry/exit and ensure you are swimming in a safe water area. Be prepared with appropriate equipment for the conditions and water temperature. If you have to swim alone, tell someone and use a bright buoy that floats behind you while swimming to help others see you. It can double up as a flotation device if needed. Wear a brightly coloured swim hat too, so boats can see you.
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