Training for Lake Ontario 2016

Training for a Lake Ontario crossing has involved some changes to my usual routines in the pool, the open water, and my dryland work over the past few years. The past three seasons I’ve been focused on shorter swims, mostly 10k races on flat water courses like Dorney Lake and Welland. I’m comfortable with 10km events, but my longest point-to-point swim to date has been the Boston Light Swim at about 13kms. That’s all well and good, but Lake Ontario along the Marilyn Bell route involves roughly five 10km swims, with variable currents, surface and weather conditions!

The aim, then, is to find what legendary endurance swimmer Jim McConica calls your “forever pace” : that pace where, with periodic refueling, you feel like you can basically go on forever.

(I alternate between that label, and thinking of it as my Dory pace!)

Since January, I’ve been using my pool sessions to alternate between shorter, more intense short-course workouts balanced with longer swims on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the McMaster pool is configured for long-course during the noon lane swims.

LakeOntario2016-pooltrainingprojectionsOriginally the plan was a slow steady build, peaking at between 40km and 50km a week, with lower and higher volume routes to those peaks.

Now, however, I’ve been focusing more on dryland, emphasizing core strength and rotator stability, and building up the weekly mileage more slowly than originally planned, following roughly along the lower projections of the original plans. I’ve been adding more dips and climbs, with more intense weeks balanced by lower-volume rest weeks.

I also try to keep getting in the lake periodically, not because short, intense cold-water swimming at those temperatures (under 5C) are really especially useful as preparation a long swim like Lake Ontario, but just to stay familiar with the cold water.

I’ll keep my swim and dryland training updated at my my Garmin Connect profile, and my swim log is here. I’ll periodically post updates here about my training, our team, the logistics of the swim, and occasional thoughts and reflections on the journey.

Thanks for being a part of the adventure!

Published by


Professor. Dad. I swim some.

One thought on “Training for Lake Ontario 2016”

  1. Loren…please continue to keep me up to date.

    Of course, let me know how I can be of assistance…i.e…on the beach or whatever.

    You are a hero in my life. I’ll support you any way I can.

    Ok, this is where I’m supposed to sign-off with something inspirational for you…sorry, I’ve got nothing….however, “You are MY inspiration” 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s