Coach Cassie,  Top Tips

What training should I do before taking on an 8k event?

Our resident Olympian answers your swimming questions

I haven’t done any swims over 5k but I’m thinking of taking on an 8k swim. What training should I do before the event?
Jon Walters

It depends on what you are hoping to achieve and how much you swim already, but I have put together a rough guide for you.

If it is purely completion, then I would recommend some long swims to acclimatise to the distance. Maybe a set of 4×1.5k or 3k, 2k, 1k with 40 seconds rest. I must warn you this can be very, very boring but it gets the metres in!

I would always recommend some change of pace in any session, including the long distance sessions. This will make you overall faster, as your body will be able to process lactate better, and also you will be used to swimming at different speeds. This is great if you want to overtake in a race as you will be used to the pace change.

A nice main set is 20x100m or 10x200m aiming to swim them all at roughly 60-70% of maximum but at an evenish pace (don’t start off like a mad man then find it really hard to finish).

Finally, you can mix the two together, eg, 3k at 50% effort, 2k at 60% effort and 1k at 70%+ or 4 x 1.5k as 1000m steady, 500m very strong.

I hope you enjoy the 8km, it’s a great feeling finishing a long distance swim.

“Swimming was my whole life for over 20 years. I poured every ounce of enthusiasm into it. I am so fortunate to have found these new outlets for that enthusiasm.”

Cassie Patten won bronze in the first ever Olympic 10km marathon swim, in the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Cassie now coaches and is a frequent commentator at open water events.

Email your questions to: with the subject ‘Coach Cassie’

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