Double, triple, and quintuple (that is 5x, 12 mile swim, 560 mile bike, 131 mile run) coming to a location near you (Lake Anna, that is) this October 8-13.
If anyone is doing this and needs advice for the swim portion, PM me.
I am signed up for next year. What advice do you have? Please share with all of us!
So in essence you'll be doing around an 8K swim. For that distance I'd say prep as if you're swimming a 10K, so 15-20K a week.
Minimum 3 days a week (dedicated). I'd break it up like this:
1 x technique day, lots of drills (stroking, navigating, sighting, feeding) of 3-4K
[b]1 x pacing day[\b]. Long intervals with little rest in between (like just enough to drink something, :15). Work up to doing a pool 10K once a month as you get closer to the race, say about 3-4 times but don't do a 10K within a month of your race. Say: 6K one week, then 7K, then 8K, then 10K, then back down to 6K. Swim them in even intervals, like 6 x 1000m. Keep the pace steady, which means don't burst off the blocks at the beginning only to peter out toward the end. For this, I use one of those Finis tempo trainers. I set it to beep each time I hit the wall, say every :25 in a SCM pool, which'll give you a 1:40 per 100m. It is incredibly difficult to stay slow enough to do this at the beginning, but then by the end of the 6K or 10K you're struggling to hit the wall before the beep. Pacing is very important in marathon swims. Too often, beginners (yours truly included) will go out at about a 3K open water race pace, only to drop way down later. In 2012 Swim for the Potomac 10K, I did the first 4 loops (0-5K) in the same amount of time it took me to swim loops 5-6 (5-7.5K)! I couldn't pace to save my life.
BTW, this pace should be the pace you feel comfortable maintaining for the race you're going to do. I use the Swim Smooth CSS calculator. The club tested swimmers a couple months ago and came up with the same interval, I just don't remember what they called it. Bottom line: the CSS gives you a pace you should be able to hold consistently for 1500m. Adjust up for the swim you're going to do. I'd add about :10 to your CSS and make that your 100m pace. My prep for Swim the Suck last year (10 miles) was 1:53 per 100, which was :10 more than my CSS pace.
[b]1 x medium day[\b], shorter sets. Keep this day to about 4-5K. The point of this day is to spend more time horizontal, but go a bit faster than your pacing day. Sets like (all :10 rest):
1 x 500;
2 x 400 (build second 200 of each;
3 x 300 (build second 150 of each);
4 x 200 (build second 100 of each);
5 x 100 (odds pace; evens fast).
That's a nice, solid 3500. With a 1000 w/u and drill, and a 500 c/d, you've got a nice 5K day.
I managed Swim the Suck on 15-25K a week, and my shoulders felt great and I hit below my goal.
I say "time horizontal" for a reason. If your lower back is not used to spending that much time (10K for me is ~3:30) horizontal, it'll be detrimental to the rest of your insane race. Same goes for proper sighting. If your sighting during ~2 hours of swimming is to pull your entire head up, your back sooner or later will rebel. That's what killed me in Swim for the Potomac, so after that I spent the remaining month before Swim the Suck (10 miles) just swimming long and slow. 10 x 1000 with :15 or less in between just to drink. Just to get my back used to spending that much time. I built up to a 12K in the pool. (Swimp3 would come in handy on those days.) And my 10-miler went (wait for it....) SWIMMINGLY! 4:44 and no back or shoulder pain!
Good luck. I don't envy you. Well, I envy the swim part, but you can keep the biking and running.
When you're bored with that, there is a triathlon in Europe where you run from London to Dover, swim the English Channel, then bike to Paris. ;)
OK, so much for my attempt at using [b] and all that jazz...
"which'll give you a 1:40 per 100m. It is incredibly difficult to stay slow enough to do this at the beginning..."
Hi, I see we haven't met.
Haha, but seriously thank you for the advice!