How to Train for a Long Endurance Swim (3-10Km)


Most people think they need to train more sessions per week to improve their endurance swimming. But if  like many people you’re restricted for time or can only make a set number of sessions per week then ensuring you incorporate the following ‘focus’ session into your plan will help you prepare for your long endurance race. (for example if you swim with your masters team 3 time per week, replace one of these high intensity interval sessions with the session below)

  • The Long Steady Swim.
    • This session’s main focus is to gradually over time increase the distance/duration you can continuously swim for.
    • Ideally start incorporating this session at least 12-16 weeks out from your race and gradually build the distance you swim continuously until you can cover 75-80% of the distance 2-3 weeks out from the race.
    • e.g if your race is 10KM then 2 weeks before the race you should be comfortable swimming 7.5-8km continuously
    • Only increase your sessions distance by 10-15% every 1 to 2 weeks so if your swimming continously for 2km in week one by week 14 you should be at 7.5Km.
    • The pace of this session should be slow and steady, at no point should you elevate your heart rate.
    • This sessions should incorporate the same fuelling strategy as race day. (e.g drinking every 3km or having gels at halfway)
    • Try to plan to complete this session before a rest day, to ensure you have time to recover.
    • During the 12-14 week build make sure you plan for recovery weeks where you drop your weekly volume to ensure you are adapting to the increased load.



Swim Oxford 4K Thames Swim

Race report from lasts weekends 2017 Swim Oxford 4Km swim 


Key Facts

  • Date: Sunday 18th June 2017
  • Start: Eynsham, Oxfordshire
  • Finish: Kings Lock, Oxfordshire
  • Distance: 4k downstream river swim

The race began early at 7.30 (6.30 registration) on a beautiful Sunday morning.


The route was set from Eynsham lock to Kings lock, 4km down a tranquil part of the Thames river.

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The water temperature was a cool 19c but because of the high outdoor temperature the river was refeshing and comfortable to swim in.


There were about 200 participants with a range of abilities, the start was a shallow water waist deep start from Eynsham lock. Plenty of support crew and water saftey from the start to the finish of the race.


The Swim Race

The swim start was less agressive than a normal open water race or triathlon, i think because of the distance more people took the start of the race easy rather than a ma dash to get in a good position.

I began the first 1Km of the race i third position, sitting nicley in the slipstream of the lead two swimmers. As expected this made it easy to hold a strong consistent pace at the start. My HR was low and stroke was strong but steady.

Once the river began to meander at about 2Km I struggled to stay in the lead swimmers slipstream and drifted to the side loosing my advantage and dropping back into 5th place.

At around 2.5km the gap between me in 5th and the front 4 swimmers widened to about 100mm and although they remained in sight for the final 1.5km I never reduced to gap and swam in 5th position from 2.5km all the way to the 4km finish line. in a time of 52.35. (results)

The hardest part of the swim was Km 2 to Km 3, the river meandered alot and it became quite hard to keep a swimming in a straight line and not drift off the edge of the river. I had a saftey kayak point me back on course on a number of occasions.

The last 1km of the race flew by and seemed effortless, either it was actually shorter or the rush of adrenaline as the finish neared helped speed the final stretch up.

The finish

Over all the  Oxford 4km was a great event, well organised, safe and alot of fun. The part of the river you swim down is so serine and beautiful you feel like you could be in the wind and the willow’s and during the swim there was not a building or boat in sight.

To top it off the finishers were treated to Tea and cake at the end, how very english.

Freestyle Arm Recovery


Top Picture:  High elbow recovery.

Bottom Picture: Straight arm recovery

  • Historically the high elbow recovery has been the “correct”way to swim freestyle.
  • However as knowledge increases and we see more and more swimmers succeeding with a straight arm style it has become clear that there is no one size fits all for freestyle technique.
  • If you feel more comfortable using straight arms or you are able to more easily find your rhythm this way then straight arm recovery may be the right option for you.
  • Switching to a straight arm recovery during more choppy swims.
  • If you find it difficult swimming in a wetsuit using a bent elbow then a straight arm may help with this.
  • It is also useful to be able to modify your stroke so that you can perform with both a straight arm and high elbow and use each different style when required. 
  • Experiment in training and find what works and how it affects your speed, pace and rhythm.

First Triathlon of the 2017 Season

Nuffield Sprints.- Eaton Dorney Lake  21st May 2017

Key takeouts

  • Based at the 2012 Olympic rowing venue
  • A great race to participate as as season opener
  • Distance 750m Swim 20Km Bike and 5km run
  • Clean, clear and warm lake (18c)
  • Well marked swim course with buoys and finish markers
  • Cycle is fast but a little boring as its 5 laps around the lake
  • Crowds mostly around the transition areas
  • Head wind on 50% of bike, slows down you average speed.
  • Run is an out and back along the foot path
  • Run is dead flat and generally smooth surface
  • Sold out for 2 straight days means busy and popular event
  • Lots of first timers as well as elite and high level age group athletes
  • Well organised race but lacks a little atmosphere

IVBP8285Bike Transition DCIM100GOPROTT Bike Set upDCIM100GOPROSupporters at the start/finish DCIM100GOPROPerfect setting for the swim DCIM100GOPROFlat run course IMG_6053Bike check in MZGF5197Riding back to car after the finishIMG_6060Finishers medal to add to the collection