Jamie Tout DEFCON Training

Jamie Tout DEFCON Training

DEFCON is an acronym for defense readiness condition or a start of alert used by the United States Armed Forces. The DEFCON system prescribes five graduated levels of readiness for the U.S. military.

World-record holder and 68-year-old author Jamie Tout of Austin, Texas uses a similar system to prepare for his events.* His hardcore-to-the-bone DEFCON training approach is defined below:

He explains, “My DEFCON training regimen is a minimum of 12 weeks long with the goal being 5 months. DEFCON 5 is 5 weeks.  I think this training regimen is good for someone how has not swum a marathon swim in awhile or who has never swum a marathon.  I you have a few marathon swims under your belt, you can get by with a couple of months of 35,000 to 40,000 yards a week.  Although 5 months is the goal in DEFCON 5, I would say you made it if you complete 12 weeks at 50,000 yards plus the 8-mile swims.

DEFCON 1

First month of training: 4 weeks of 10,000 yards a week including a 4-mile swim with no days off.  

The training is very easy with an emphasis on the 4-mile swim.   This is the time you make financial and work/family commitments to do the swim.  This, in the long run, is the most important part of the training.  If you start off making some wrong decisions, they will only multiply later on in your training.If you train with a masters group stop training with them prior to starting DEFCON 1. “

DEFCON 2

Second month of training:  4 weeks of 20,000 yards a week including a 5-mile swim with no days off and the emphasis still on the 5-mile swim.

DEFCON 3

Third month of training:  4 weeks of 30,000 yards a week including a 6-mile swim with no days off, but the emphasis shifts to the weekly yardage.

DEFCON 4

Fourth month of training:  4 weeks of 40,000 yards a week including a 7-mile swim with no days off with the emphasis continuing on the yardage.

DEFCON 5

Fifth month of training:  12 weeks of 50,000 yards a week with eight 8-mile swims, nine 9-mile swims, one 5-hour swim, one 6-hour swim, and one 7-hour swim.    

If you come along too fast, you will fall apart at six weeks into DEFCON 5.   On the other hand, if you get through the 12 weeks of DEFCON 5, you are ready.   

The last time I was able to complete DEFCON 5 was in 2015 when I swam across the Catalina Channel at age 62 11 hours 18 minutes, flew across the U.S., and four days later, swam my fastest Manhattan Island Marathon Swim of the ten circumnavigation swims I have done in 7 hours 31 minutes [see below].

Free tip:  try to negative split the 9-mile swims.  Do the first 3 miles in 29 minutes, then the second 3 miles in 28 minutes, and the third three miles in 27 minutes (each).” 

Jamie Tout finishing up his Catalina Channel crossing in 2015

When I can’t manage my DEFCON training program, I turn to a 14-week program that I got from The King of the Manhattan Island Swim Kris Rutford.  I call it Kris’ Program.

Weeks #1-4: 3 weeks of 35,000 yards

Weeks #5-8: 4 weeks of 40,000 yards

Weeks #9-12: 4 weeks of 50,000 yards        

Week #13: 36,000 yards

Week #14: 20,000 yards

including: 2 x 4-hour swims, 1 x 5-hour swim, and 1 x 6-hour swim

Jamie Tout‘s Oldest to Swim Records

  1.  Triple Crown of Stage Swims completed on August 29th 2021 at 68 years 3 months 5 days
  2.  ‘Au I Na Mokupuni ‘Ekolu Maui Nui Swim on August 29th 2021 at 68 years 3 months 5 days
  3.  Kalohi Channel crossing on August 27th 2021 at 68 years 3 months 3 days
  4.  Pailolo Channel crossing on August 29th 2021 at 68 years 3 months 5 days
  5. SCAR Swim Challenge on May 1st 2021 at 67 years 11 months 9 days
  6. SCAR Swim ChallengeSaguaro Lake crossing on April 28th 2021 at 67 years 11 months 6 days
  7. SCAR Swim ChallengeCanyon Lake crossing on April 29th 2021 at 67 years 11 months 7 days
  8. SCAR Swim ChallengeApache Lake crossing on April 30th 2021 at 67 years 11 months 8 days
  9. SCAR Swim ChallengeRoosevelt Lake crossing on May 1st 2021 at 67 years 11 months 9 days
  10. 8 Bridges River Swim on June 22nd 2017 at 64 years 29 days
  11. 8 Bridges River Swim – Stage 1 (29.4 km The Islands) on June 15th 2017 at 64 years 22 days
  12. 8 Bridges River Swim – Stage 2 (31.8 km The Lighthouses) on June 16th 2017 at 64 years 23 days
  13. 8 Bridges River Swim – Stage 5 (31.8 km The Beast) on June 20th 2017 at 64 years 27 days
  14. 8 Bridges River Swim – Stage 7 (29.1 km) on June 22nd 2017 at 64 years 29 days
  15. END WET Red River Swim on June 15th 2019 at 66 years 22 days

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