With my handy-dandy Pyramid of Open Water Success in place and three months of base training behind me I am ready to move into the distance part of my program. This is where the hair gets seriously damaged and my body’s ability to manage stress is truly tested.

Base Training

In preparation for my distance program I built up to a base of 30 kilometers of swimming, 2 hours of spinning, 2 hours of weights and 3 hours of outrigger canoeing a week. My base schedule looked something like this:

Speed and distance training along with some technique were the focus of my swims. Weights and paddling were used to increase my strength, particularly my core. Spinning provided cardio and leg strength training (an area I am focusing on this year).

I tried to challenge myself with “let’s see if you can do this” sets – sets that have an extra element of difficulty over and above swim volume. These sets were designed to make me psychologically tough and confident – something I will need during the 70k. One of my favorites was 100 x 100 IM @ 2 minutes. By the end of this set I had swum 2.5k (kilometers) of fly. Another was a 3 hour spin.

With shorter swims, the strategy has been to swim fly when every possible. It is a bit of a tough stroke – gets your heart rate up and builds power and endurance quickly.
Distance Training.

As the months progress I will be decreasing non-swim workouts and adding kilometers to my swims. By May I should be swimming 70k per week with back to back 20k swims on weekends. Open water acclimatization will be introduced through long swims. Cold water and wave training will be introduced once I am in the open water.

Next: Find out how I am using nutrition to help with my MS as I train.

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