Planning to Swim a 10K at Applegate Lake – Part 1 1


Oregon Masters Swimming has a long history of hosting national championships, going back to 1982.  This year we will have three, all in one week, and they will prove a daunting challenge.

On Sunday, July 8, swimmers will go under the Portland Bridges down the Willamette River, eleven plus miles.  Then Thursday, July 12, we will have a chance to go around the Foster Lake cable course four times for the Two Mile Cable National Championship.  Then on Saturday, July 14, the week will end with a 10K National Championship at Applegate Lake, swimming’s version of a marathon.

The question comes up: how do you train for these?  You start now, but most of you have already done that by getting ready for the State Association Championship meet.  That has laid a base of training to get you ready for the next step.

The next step is that we take suggestions from runners who go an actual marathon, 26+ miles, 2 to 5 hours of effort, similar in time to our 10K swim.  There are lots of websites with advice and training plans for runners.  The plan I will focus on is Zappos marathon training plan.  The web address is monstrous, so do a search with “Zappos marathon training plan.”

There are many marathon plans for runners.  I like Zappos because it indicates specifically on a chart things to do besides run (or in this case, swim), including cross-training, types of training, and rest.

In all of these plans, though, there are two basic considerations in training to swim a 10K or to run a marathon:

  1. you must jump up your weekly yardage, and
  2. you must go a long, continuous training effort, more than an hour, once a week. And, as you will see on the Zappos chart, you are expected to increase this distance gradually each week.

The other important element to swimming the 10K at Applegate Lake is commitment.  Plan to do it and to do the work ahead of time.

So what to do now?  Continue your regular preparation for State but add a long swim once a week.  Compete at State.  Then start 13 weeks of preparation for the 10K, which would be week 3 on the Zappos chart.

In week 3, Monday is an easy swim to loosen up from the weekend at State.  Tuesday you will rest or do cross-training of some sort, walking, bicycling, light weights – you choose.

Wednesday is intervals in your normal workout.  Thursday is an easy day or do your regular workout.  Friday is a rest day.

Saturday is a long swim, more than an hour.  Get your head into swimming an hour straight, not hard, but without stopping.  You will increase both time and distance in succeeding weeks.  I swim on Sunday also, a regular workout, as it is lovely outdoors in the morning.

Repeat by going on to the next week of the plan.

Each week, though, increase the long swim by 10 minutes or 500 yards until you are swimming almost two hours straight.  For me, that would be around 6000 yards.  On the Zappos chart that would be the equivalent to running 18 miles.  For others, it would be further.  Dave Radcliff, for instance, plans to be going 9000 yards on the long swim by May.

I would also talk to your coach, if you have one, to arrange a distance lane at least once a week for you to go that long swim and to get ideas from him or her on how he or she can help you do the 10K.  There are several other ideas to add to a 10K program for Applegate, but they can wait for Part 2.


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