Training plan: Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim

Disclaimer: My training plan is not based on any sort of science, or on advice from any kind of professional coach, but instead on conversations with veteran open-water swimmers and my own experience. It is also based on a conversation with the guy who sold me my wetsuit a few years ago, who says as long as you get in a decent amount of yards/meters every week, it doesn’t matter how many days you swim.

Goal: To finish the 4.4-mile Great Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim on June 12, 2011. The operative word here is “finish.” I’m not looking to win here, just complete the distance.

Plan: Right now, I’m swimming two to three days a week, 3,000 meters per workout. I’ll maintain that schedule, making sure I’m swimming three days per week as the race gets closer. Starting sometime around March, at least one of these days will be a long swim.

Long swims: 4.4 miles is roughly seven kilometers, so I’ll make my longest swim 7,000 meters, and aim to complete it sometime between May 29 or June 5. I *have* to start working up to that distance with increasingly longer weekly swims in early May, but I’ll likely start adding a weekly 5,000-meter swim long before that.

Fuel: I swim roughly 30-minute miles in open water, so I’m hoping to finish the swim somewhere around two and a half hours. That’s almost long enough to think about refueling mid-swim, which is something I’ve never, ever messed with. If you have, please share advice on the topic: Do you stash a gel in your wetsuit? Or … what?

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Training plan: Chesapeake Bay Bridge Swim

  1. Liz

    I have no idea about how you would do this, but it definitely seems like you should eat something. Do wetsuits have pockets for that sort of thing? Otherwise I would definitely have an extra gu or 2 right before the race

  2. Meredith

    At the race itself, they usually have two food and drink boats you’re allowed to stop at and hang on to while you eat.

  3. Mark Bresee

    Amy, I am also doing the 4.4 this June, and am on a similar training plan it seems. I swim with a masters group 3 days a week and am hoping for a 2.5 hour swim as well. Gonna lengthen out my long swims in open water in late March, live is Mississippi so it gets warmer faster. If you here of any more formal plans or know of any, would love to hear about. Good luck training.

  4. jonathan

    Amy — good luck this weekend. I carried a gel pouch in the leg of my wetsuit last year, and it was pretty easy to get out and get a little something along the way. If nothing else, it will temporarily get the Bay taste out of your mouth. Water/snack boats are nice too, but if you’re not in the middle of the channel, you might have to go out of your way to get to it, so don’t necessarily count on getting water.

    It looks like you’ve collected all of the tips you can — have fun, and I’ll see you at Hemingway’s.

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