What’s your “forever pace”?

What pace can you hold… well, maybe not “forever,” but let’s say… indefinitely. What would your pace be if you intended to swim all day – not racing, just swimming (and given that you’re fully warmed up) ?

Imagine you’re David B. (a.k.a. “chaos” on the USMS forum) swimming across the Catalina Channel. He’s a swimmer fully capable of a sub-10 hour crossing, but because of adverse currents it turns into 15 hours, 37 minutes. What’s that pace?

As I think more and more about true “marathon” swimming – I’m doing my first race over 10K in October – this seems an increasingly fundamental question. Yet it’s a question that, despite my many years in the sport, I had never thought to ask.

Now that I have more regular access to long course water, I’ve had better opportunities to answer this question. And for me, right now, that pace is about 1:24 (+/- 1 second) per 100 meters.

Obviously, since I’ve never done a swim longer than 2.5 hours, it’s difficult to say what 15 hours in the water would do (nothing good, I’d imagine). However, I’ve tested myself under a few different “adverse” circumstances – e.g., the day after a hard night of “socializing”, the day after a long weightlifting session – and it always seems to boil down to about 1:24/100m (22:30 per mile). Like clockwork.

For a 10-mile swim (ceteris paribus – not accounting for chop, current, super-warm water, etc.), that pace works out to 3 hours, 45 minutes. Anyone want to wager an over-under?

1 thought on “What’s your “forever pace”?”

  1. One foot in front of the other (repeatedly) and not looking back (very often)! RLM p.s. and, always doing your best.

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