Long Distance OW Swim

training advice appreciated

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25/09/2012 at 08:55

Looks like the rest 2nd half of my post got lost somewhere. So contiuing on the OSS River Dart 10K

I did say Officially

Edited: 25/09/2012 at 08:55
25/09/2012 at 08:57

Whats happening to my posts? they keep getting cut off!

OK I discovered using the 'less than ' arrow ends the post!

officially less than 14 degrees, but felt like 12.

Edited: 25/09/2012 at 08:59
25/09/2012 at 17:12
Slugs wrote (see)

officially less than 14 degrees, but felt like 12.

12 is less than 14 though isn't it?

Sorry, couldn't resist.

I did some OW swims earlier in the year that were 11 or 12 degrees and it was rather chilly.....

25/09/2012 at 17:56

I did the Dart 10K too... and it was very cold indeed! Ok once I got over the initial shock though! It was pretty choppy in places too! Great day out

11/10/2012 at 11:26

Love the thread guys!!

I have signed up for my first ow swim doing Eton 10k next May. Never really swam outdoors so any tips much appriciated. + wetsuits optional so dont know the best way forward? Im reasonably well build and padded so dont know if the cold will be an issue. 

Did a 5k pool swim at the weekend which went ok but time of 1hr 55mins was a fair bit slower than I expected/wanted. 

If anyone knows any decent training places in the North West I would much appriciate some info. Saw a blue lagoon by LLangollen in N. Wales it looks nice but is quite small (too small for 10k practice). 

Anybody from my neck of woods (Wirral/Merseyside)?? 


11/10/2012 at 11:46

Welcome Jamie! If you can do 5k in a pool you'll be well able for 10k in open water. The mental side of long distance in a pool makes up for the extra distance outside! On the wetsuit question, I haven't done much swimming without a wetsuit in open water. I did 1,500m a couple of weeks back in a lake. It was very cold starting off, warmed up after a couple of hundred metres and was getting cold again towards the end. You would definitely need to get plenty of practice of swimming without a wetsuit between now and May but I'm sure you'd be fine without.

One of the beaches I practice at is only about 400m long. I think that is enough to train for any distance really. Its more about getting used to the choppy conditions and swimming in a straight line etc. so any open water location should be a great start. Just think safety first

I have a 2k swim this weekend in Irelands only Fjord. We get brought out by boat and swim back to shore. Looks like a good turnout and there's a couple of top swimmers signed up. Interested to see just how much they hammer me by!! Wetsuits are mandatory which I think is a bit strange. Water temp is probably still pretty decent.

11/10/2012 at 13:25

Thanks for the info B. Good luck with your swim at the weekend. 

Its nice to hear that the boredom on ow is less. I was getting a bit fed up in the pool after 5k. 

I was debating some training this weekend but didnt know if the water would be too cold at this time of year. Will have to man up and give it a go  

Im excited to get outside and experience swimming in the great outdoors. 

11/10/2012 at 19:55
Jamie, hi. I am in southport, I have been swimming at Pennington flash in Warrington. Session Mondays/Thursdays and Saturday. Sessions now finish, bit cold. Check out the Mersey tri web site they organise sessions in Crosby. Check out Head to the hills in Ambleside, they organise training weekends. They organise a great 10k and 5k swim in buttermere in September .
15/10/2012 at 14:14

Jamie, I did the Eton 10k this year. The majority wore wetsuits, only the hardened few went without rubber. I am contemplating going without if I do it next year. I've done a few 3ks 'naked' this year, so it'll be the natural progression. Its surprising how much slower you are with out the wetsuit, but as a stepping stone Dorney is probably the best place to try the distance first, with or without rubber. This year the water temperature suddenly shot up from 14 degrees about 2 weeks before to 18-19 degrees on race day.

15/10/2012 at 14:40

That swim at the weekend was cold!! Really don't know if it was doable without a wetsuit. Paramedics were waiting at the finish line rushing away anyone who was in for over 50 minutes. The winners were still shivering 30 minutes later. Good swim for me though. 37 minutes for 2k. The winners were around 26 minutes!! Finished 85th out of about 280 which is great for me.

I found it interesting to see that 5 of the top 10 were female. Big difference from any running event I've ever done.

15/10/2012 at 15:34

Congratulations on the swim!! Very good time.

I wouldnt have thought it would be 50/50 male-female split in the top 10. 

Let me know if you decide to do the Eton swim. I am leaning towards a wetsuit now with what everyone has said. Going to have my first outdoor dip this sunday in my suit so can test it. 

Thanks slugs, i thought if anything the suit would constrict and slow you down if anything. 

Do you guys carry on swimming through the winter months? 



24/11/2012 at 16:24

I'm still swimming.  I managed about 40 minutes today in the Cam without a wetsuit.  Soon I might have to double hat though.

24/11/2012 at 17:58

Impressive! I haven't been in since my last post. It was hard enough just to go running this morning

I'll be in for the annual Christmas day swim though, no wetsuits allowed of course!

24/11/2012 at 18:27

Swimming in the cold is easier than running in the cold.  The water tends to be warmer than air temperature, and you are out of the wind.  You just have to convince your mind of that when you get in.

And get changed very quickly when you get out.  That's when you really get cold

24/11/2012 at 20:40
Entered the 5k swim at the great north swim, thnk I will need a neoprene hat if it is as cold as last year. Very brave still swimming, wet suit in the loft for he winter.
02/01/2013 at 15:44

Hello everyone! Let's get this thread going again .  SuperCaz is an ace OW wetsuit-free swimmer so she knows what she's talking about.

I can't believe how much I've done since tentatively asking a few questions back in the summer.  Caz pointed me in the direction of a group who swim from Southbourne in Bournemouth and, to cut a long story short, I'm swimming through the winter in the sea, wetsuit-free.  It's the most scary, invigorating, life affirming thing I've done for years (even though I've had a few moments in big surf recently where it was anything other than life affirming...).  I've been asked to blog about it for 220 Triathlon if anyone's interested:


Next challenge: the Cold Water Swimming Championships at Tooting Bec Lido on 26th Jan where the water will be the coldest I've ever swum in - could be as low as 2 or 3 degC.  The sea's still relatively warm although we don't really know what the temp is.  My inaccurate watch said 9.6 yesterday but it could have been colder. It'll prob get colder in the next two months but am so looking forward to April when the sea should start warming up again.  Meanwhile I might be one of the nutters I've always thought were bonkers swimming at the start of the OW season in the lake without a wetsuit.  If it's 13degrees it'll feel tropical!


02/01/2013 at 16:03

I take back what I said about Caz knowing what she's talking about. Just re read her comment re swimming in the cold is easier than running in the cold. She's lying.

02/01/2013 at 16:04

B_Kins - where do you do your Christmas day swim?  Did you enjoy it?  Ours was very rough and tumble so we sort of just bobbed about a bit and sang jingle bells.  Yesterday's New Year swim was better - we actually swam somewhere because the sea was a bit calmer. And it was sunny which made a huge difference.

02/01/2013 at 16:57
You must be mad. The entries will be open soon for the utterly Buttermere swim in June, did the 5 k last year, going to do the 10k this year if my shoulder holds out. Cleanest water I have ever swam in.
02/01/2013 at 18:07

Clean water. How lovely...


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