Anyone out there with experience in these events that can share their wisdom??? I’m seriously considering taking a stab at 20 bridges in the near (?) future. What would you suggest as a minimum distance race to have completed before making the leap to the 28 miles around manhattan?
Any insight would be greatly appreciated…..
Glad to hear you are going to take a stab at 20 Bridges!! It’s a fantastic swim.
Excellent question, as with most training decisions, do what works for you and what you’re comfortable with. NYOW requires that you submit an 1hr swim as part of the selection process. The 28.5mi swim usually takes 8-10hrs but know that this is a current assisted swim – you’re not expected to swim a mile in 15mins in still water. 😉
Here’s my general guideline:
1. Training for marathon swimming and marathon running is similar. You usually never do a full marathon during your training.
2. Salt water, current, and other environmental training are, in my opinion, more important than pure mileage.
3. Take a look at what other athletic activities you’re doing. Pairing your swimming with other activities will help you keep muscle strength, work on your cardio, and cut down on the need to do a bunch of garbage miles in the water (extra mileage and can actually cause shoulder injuries).
4. You can do races as part of your training plan but definitely not required. Some people do this with many marathon swims under their belt and others, it’s their first one. The key is finding the confidence in yourself to complete it!!
Hope this helps! Feel free to reach out with any other questions!
Excellent advice Qing.
My general advice would be to work your way up. It would not make sense to go from doing a few 1-2 mile swims and then try 20 Bridges.
If you have done a number of 5k swims with a few 10k’s then you are better prepared. What helped me a lot was to do a couple of swims that were at least half the time of your expected long swim, ie in the order of 4-5 hours. Some of the 8 Bridges swims fit that description.
Good luck and happy training. It is a remarkable experience.
Great advice above. Two things I’d add. Having experience powering through active, choppy water will be very helpful. And be precise and honest about your 1 hour pool swim time. Don’t guess, have someone actually time you. The race directors build the models of your swim based on that time. For me, the model held within 2 minutes.
It’s a beautiful and challenging swim.