If you have been bitten by the Open Water bug and have set a goal of swimming an open water event, maybe Kaitalampi or any of the dozen races happening in Finland during the summer, you have probably started wondering how you can best prepare for a long swim. It does not matter whether your goal is to get to the finishing line or whether you want to swim your race as fast as possible; you still need to train for it! If you are a regular follower of Amfibia, you probably have an idea how important technical skill is in swimming, but during this spring and summer, we will also provide some general “rules” for you to follow when planning your training program. If you would like to have a more “specific” training program for yourself from experienced coaching, check out our “Elite coaching” service. Do not let the name fool you, the coaching is for everybody!!
The first thing to take into consideration when planning your program is to answer how much training is optimal for my development? Obviously, your life situation will dictate how many sessions you can do on any given week, but there are still some general “rules” that can be applied when developing an optimal program for yourself.
If the goal is development, then the training should be programmed for DEVELOPMENT!
The first principle of training design is “Overload”, which means that in order for your body to develop you have to continuously stress your body more in training. You develop in response to practice by developing your fitness to handle a similar load better in future practices and if you do progressively train more or harder, the development will cease. However, you can not just randomly swim more and more each time you jump into a lake or pool but rather intelligently design a progression within a training cycle to expose the body to more and more training stimulus to create a need for development.
In summary, define a minimum level of training and start your training cycle from that minimal level and then progressively add more volume (especially in the first part of your training season). When your development stops, which means you are not developing in some measurable way, back off for a week or so. Then start a new cycle from a lower level again and build up your training from there!
Examples of training cycles for beginners and intermediate open water swimmers
Eetu Karvonen, Amfibia Head Coach