Coach Corner August 8: John Stevens August 05, 2022 22:17 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Adapting Pool Workouts for Open Water It’s a beautiful day. The sun is out, the air is warm… but you’ve got a pool swim scheduled. We know many of you have been there. So today, let’s dive into adapting pool swims for open water. STEP 1: Understand Intent & Plan Accordingly While the workout specifics may change, you want to preserve its purpose. Is it built around fast sprint intervals, best done as out-and-backs from shore? Or is it a longer endurance session where you can use a familiar route, sight to easy landmarks, and dedicate full focus to your technique? STEP 2: Make Measurement Adjustments Distance is not always the best measurement for open water. For short intervals (<200), count strokes. Pick a round number close to your pool stroke rate (e.g. 15 strokes per 25m) and then calculate your strokes per interval (e.g. 60 strokes per 100). For longer intervals, simplify the set: instead of 2 x 250, swim 1 x 500. If using a watch, you can also set the auto-lap distance to the interval length, so you aren’t constantly checking your wrist. You can also measure with time. For example, if you know that a 200 takes you about 3 minutes, simply use 3 minutes for your interval. STEP 3: Decide on Toys and Drills You can absolutely incorporate toys - but there’s a few important do’s and don’ts: OK to use: Pull buoys (note: if using a wetsuit, these can be a bit challenging or less useful). Paddles. However, they can be difficult in wind/chop, so aim for calm water. Fins. These can also help if you’re feeling nervous or fatigued. Not Recommended: Ankle bands. (Anyone who has used an ankle strap knows how quickly you can end up feeling like you're drowning, even in the pool.) Snorkel. Sighting is critical in open water, both for navigation and to maintain safe awareness of your surroundings: swimmers, boats, etc. You lose this ability with a snorkel – and you’re also more likely to get water into the top of your snorkel, creating an additional danger. As for drills: simply omit the snorkel. Two simple drills you can perform are the closed fist drill (swim short intervals with a closed fist, focusing on feel and holding water), and the single arm freestyle drill (10 strokes right arm only, 10 left arm only, 10 normal strokes, repeat). STEP 4: Evaluate the Conditions and Swim Safely Open water is ideal for race-specific training, but unlike a race, you likely don’t have big buoys, protected routes, or safety kayaks. Use an inflatable safety buoy. This makes you more visible to boats and works as a floatation device in an emergency. Some have a compartment to store keys, phones… even an occasional post-workout beer ;) Swim with other people. This increases your visibility and ensures support in an emergency. It’s also a great way to push yourself and simulate race conditions! Check the weather for wind, storms, tides/currents, and water temperature beforehand. One final note: occasionally, a prescribed Squad pool swim might just not be suited for open water. If you encounter this: Check the bottom of the workout. Often, we’ve already included a simplified open water version for you. Swap it for another swim you have scheduled. Replace it with an Open Water session from the Optional Workout Library. Don’t feel shackled to the pool. It’s an important tool for specificity and technique work, but we race in open water, and that race-specific work is also important. Get outside, be safe, and have fun!