The Paradigm Of Time In The Open Water

The Paradigm Of Time In The Open Water

Open water swimmers can define their training and goals in three distinct paradigms of time: short-term, medium-term, and long-term.

2018 Swim Miami

Over the course of a lifetime in the open water, as an athlete and observer, coach and reporter, I found that the most self-satisfied swimmers and most successful coaches – either consciously or unconsciously – separate their daily activities in three separate buckets:

1. Short-term or what must be done today or over the next few days.
2. Medium-term or what must be done over the next several weeks or months.
3. Long-term or what must be done over the next year and beyond.

Let’s look at these three paradigms of time for the different types of open water swimmers:

1. Competitive swimmers who will be participating in races from 1 km to 25 km
2. Marathon swimmers who will be doing a solo marathon swim or channel crossing
3. Cold water swimmers who will be participating in a winter or ice swimming event or doing a solo Ice Kilometer or Ice Mile
4. Relay swimmers who will be participating in an ice swimming, marathon swimming, or channel crossing

Competitive Swimmers

1. Short-term: training daily, doing intense sets, occasional drills, and dryland training.
2. Medium-term: finalizing travel logistics, deciding upon, purchasing and training with swimwear and goggles, determining training cycles, setting goals for target pacing, intervals and distances, working on improved stroke mechanics, selecting training partners, teams or coaches, identifying potential training locations, working on mental focus, race tactics and overall strategy.
3. Long-term: setting intermediate and long-range goals, incorporating or adopting a lifestyle or education to support training towards those goals, analyzing, modifying or changing nutritional habits and dryland training, and if desired, determining sponsors or charity benefactors, doing marketing via social media platforms, websites and blogs.

Marathon Swimmers

1. Short-term: training daily, doing intense sets, occasional drills, and dryland training, working with training partners or escort crew.
2. Medium-term: finalizing travel logistics, deciding upon, purchasing and training with swimwear and goggles, determining training cycles, setting goals for target pacing and distances, working on improved stroke mechanics, selecting training partners, teams, coaches, escort crew identifying potential training locations, selecting and training with preferred nutrition and hydration choices, acclimatizing to anticipated water temperatures and weather conditions, working on mental strength, gaining or losing weight or strength
3. Long-term: identifying and arranging with escort pilot(s), setting intermediate and long-range goals, incorporating or adopting a lifestyle or education to support training towards those goals, analyzing, modifying or changing nutritional habits and dryland training or stroke mechanics and breathing technique,and if desired, determining sponsors or charity benefactors, doing marketing via social media platforms, websites and blogs.

Cold Water Swimmers

1. Short-term: training daily, acclimatizing slowly to colder water temperatures and weather conditions, doing dryland training, working with training partners or escort crew and mental focus in extreme conditions.
2. Medium-term: finalizing travel logistics, deciding upon, purchasing and training with swimwear and goggles, determining training cycles, setting goals for target pacing, water temperatures, distances, working on improved stroke mechanics, selecting training partners, incorporating ideal nutritional habits, working on mental strength, gaining or losing weight or strength, understanding and practicing rewarming techniques.
3. Long-term: setting intermediate and long-range goals, incorporating or adopting a lifestyle or education to support training towards those goals, understanding physiology during and after cold water exposure.

Relay Swimmers

1. Short-term: training daily, acclimatizing slowly to colder water temperatures and weather conditions, doing dryland training, working with training partners or escort crew and relay members in the anticipated conditions.
2. Medium-term: finalizing travel logistics, deciding upon, purchasing and training with swimwear and goggles, determining training cycles, setting goals for target pacing, water temperatures, distances, working on improved stroke mechanics, selecting training partners, incorporating ideal nutritional habits, practicing cycle of swimming then resting on boat and then swimming again.
3. Long-term: setting intermediate and long-range goals including transition from relay swimmer to marathon swimming,and if desired, determining sponsors or charity benefactors, doing marketing via social media platforms, websites and blogs.

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