Oct
21
2011

21 October 11: HOW-TO: Swim 100x100s

by hillarybiscay

Last night I tweeted about a 12,000-yard swim workout that I had just composed for one of my athletes. This tweet precipitated a lot of comments, and it seemed that most folks would not have imagined that an athlete would actually have requested this sort of workout. Granted, we have coaches so that we don’t just do as we please all the time in training; so it’s not as if my athletes have all of their “requests” approved. But this particular athlete is training for a 30+ hour running race, so swim workouts like this are part of her cross-training plan—and yes, she did request a 12,000-yard swim. 

I also received some questions about my fave 100x100s swim workout, so I thought I would post some basic tips for those attempting this swim for the first time.

kona underwater

Be mentally prepared. For many, this swim may be 2-3x the duration of your average swim workout. I find that mindset is half the battle during session like this. As opposed to a “normal” swim workout, during which we are all probably consciously or sub-consciously counting down how many laps remain from the start, for the 100×100, one’s mindset needs to be, “I am swimming all morning.” Embrace being in the water and don’t even think about being done. Then when you get to 100 #90, you will be surprised at how “quickly” the workout went.

Bring refreshments. I typically go through about 2 bottles of water with electrolyte and 350 total calories during this session. In addition to your bottles with sports drink, gels or bananas are always an easy source of additional calories. Typically I take 2-3 extra breaks of 60-90 seconds during the swim to shove these calories down and to drink, in case the intervals do not allow enough time to do so (which for me they usually don’t).

Bring toys. While staring at the black line for 2.5-3.5 hours might not be the most exciting activity one could imagine, you can add some spice by switching up your equipment throughout the session. I like to alternate between swimming without equipment and pulling using various combinations of paddles, buoy, and band.

Ultraman swim, en route to a new course record- 2010

Bring friends. I want to tell you that these swims absolutely can be done solo; I have done it, and the athlete I mention above does these long ones solo every time (great mental training for sure). However, I should also tell you that I recruit friends for this workout whenever possible because I know that I will push myself harder with company and because, in my opinion, swimming is simply more fun with friends.

Pace Yourself. Now that I’ve just mentioned “pushing myself,” I want to tell you to pace yourselves! Again, I am directing these comments to those who are new or relatively new to the 10,000 swim adventure: these are survival tips. And in the interest of survival, I want to advise you that this is not the time to be doing all-out 100s or attempting sendoffs that you are not certain you can make. This session—at least at first—is about volume rather than intensity.

Commit. Don’t give yourself an option or an out with this workout. Because, believe me, you will have plenty of time to come up with a reason to stop early or get out if you give yourself that opportunity. I always like posting my intention beforehand here or on other social media, not to brag but to make myself accountable! Obviously having training partners for this session helps in the accountability department as well.

If you are interested, here are some of my reports and even sample workouts from my 10k swim adventures:

Linsey’s Dirty Thirty

10,000 yards at 10,000 meters

Katya’s Wedding Swim

GCM’s First Birthday Set

 

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas Gerlach Pro Triathlete October 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

I have a tough time making the 4000 yard set these days – yikes – can’t imagine 12,000. Was hoping to see you this weekend but don’t see you on the start list. Hope all is well. -TG

Reply

Alice October 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

How do you keep count, especially since you say not to focus on how many you’ve done?

Reply

lindsay October 22, 2011 at 3:51 am

so the other day i got back in the pool and swam 2000. I thought i was pretty cool, till i read this. haah. I am learning to swim again. hehe

Reply

kelly s (ksphotos22) October 22, 2011 at 9:21 am

thank you!!!!

Reply

MilesMusclesMom October 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I really think that the only way I could ever attack this amount of volume with be in open water. SO what?? around the lake 4 times?? lol
that is some serious mental dicipline to stay in the pool for that long (well-for me).

Reply

Meaghan October 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I love this workout – thank you!!!

Reply

lucy francis October 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

This is a mad workout I’l like to try one day but my problem is pool availability. My club sessions aren’t long enough to fit in this distance and done outside of those sessions there’s lots of public splashing around … I would end up “killing” one of them like a demented shark.
So the only option leaves me with a 60 yard open air unheated pool on a cold day when everyone else would rather be doing something else…hum.
I may have to break this up into a 5,000 for my first attempt:-) and with a wetsuit next spring (april). there! I said it…..
I’ll let you know how i get on!
thaks for all the tips

Reply

lucy francis October 23, 2011 at 9:52 am

This is a mad workout I’l like to try one day but my problem is pool availability. My club sessions aren’t long enough to fit in this distance and done outside of those sessions there’s lots of public splashing around … I would end up “killing” one of them like a demented shark.
So the only option leaves me with a 60 yard open air unheated pool on a cold day when everyone else would rather be doing something else…hum.
I may have to break this up into a 5,000 for my first attempt:-) and with a wetsuit next spring (april). there! I said it…..
I’ll let you know how i get on!
thanks for all the tips

Reply

lucy francis October 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

er…and posted x2!!! how ironic is that!? does that mean I must do the set twice bringing it to a total of 10k? eeeek

Reply

IB October 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I’ve done this 100 x 100. The life guards get bored and somewhat concerned. Most alarming is that I was really “pruney” — fingers and toes very wrinkled. Must keep track of laps by moving your water bottle across tiles, like an abacus.

Reply

jenni October 23, 2011 at 7:06 pm

The longest swim I’ve ever done was 4444 meters on my 44th bday (followed by a 44 mile bike and 4.4 mi. run) 🙂 Someday I may try this if I can figure out how to not trigger back pain when I swim! I kept count using pennies – put 44 pennies and one dime on the deck and for every 100 I put one back in the bag. The dime reminded me that the last one was not 100.
Don’t you have to go to the bathroom at some point?!

Reply

Craig D. October 24, 2011 at 8:06 am

I attempted the 10k twice.
I have no problem with having enough time in the pool. I may have to move lanes but always have time.
Attempt 1. At about 6k on my Solo swim the “you can stop” voice started popping into my head. I silenced it till 8k and then I got a cramp, and my mind jumped all over ok that’s it that is all you can take.
Attemp 2. I made it past the cramping segment and broke it down with 1 without equip, 1 with paddles, 1 with buoy, 1 with paddle and buoy. I made it, but I was mentally exhausted at the end. I wasn’t tired because of all the swimming, just tired from mentally fighting myself from getting out of the pool. Weird Right?
No friends are willing to join me for all 10k but about 4k.

Reply

Tnt October 24, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Hillary – you read my mind… i was thinking how do I do a 100 x 100 workout. But one question – how do you build up to it from a year off? I was thinking 10 week build up, adding 1k each week? Or do I only need to hit 6k and wing the extra 4k on epic day?

Reply

Alice October 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Is your swimming stroke different in the pool than it is in open water?

Reply

Alison March 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I just completed my first (and only!) 100×100 swim… thanks for the inspiration!
http://yearofalison.blogspot.ca/2013/03/epic-swim-100x100m.html

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 3 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: