Train For The Event

Whether you are entering the 5k or 10k, this is a challenging event and working towards a training plan is an important part of the challenge!

Take a look at our venue, London Royal Docks OWS, we have a wonderful open water setting, a great team and facilities and we’ll be there to support you in your training.
There are many resources available online now, so the best advice is to find a plan that suits your current swimming ability, stick with it… and most importantly, have fun!

NOWCA Tips for OWS

Completer to Competer tips for Dock2Dock 10km



    Z3 wetsuits can suit everyone. The D2D competitors are supported by our partners with our try before you buy policy. Spend time making sure the size and fit match the type of swimmer you are. You should always train in the wetsuit you intend on using and you can always try before you buy in our regular sessions (see LRDOWS timetable) Staff can also advise on fit and type which is invaluable.


    Goggles should fit perfectly and suck to the face without the strap! NOTE: the strap should not create the seal because shape of the mask will. The strap is just there to hold them in place. This will be more comfortable on a long swim.


    Make sure you have anti-fog in your goggles and know how to use it correctly (we have coaches onsite during regular sessions who can advise as well as weekly coaches squad sessions) To join our squads aimed at all ages and ability.


    Anti-chaffing cream should definitely be used on a long swim. Apply mostly on the side(s) you breathe too.


  • Hydration and energy levels are vital for long swims. Always swim when you are hydrated. Start drinking water at least an hour before your workout then a minimum of 500ml just before and after your swim. If you are swimming longer than 40 minutes you should consider having a supplemental energy drink and maybe leave it on land so that you can take sips during your session.
  • Train with nutrition that is going to be given on the day. (For the 2019 D2D there will be nutrition available at regular sessions along with details of use at the coached squad sessions) If this brand doesn’t suit your body then it’s ok to plan your own regime and stick to it. You can always have your own marked nutrition on our feed stations (we will have 3 places on the course to pick up drinks and food)



    These tips are for those who are looking to complete!

    • If you’re new to open water swimming or haven’t yet built your training to go faster, then, these are important facts.
    • Take your speed and skill from the pool to open water. This means if you’re learning to swim do it with a coach in a pool environment. It is much more productive.
    • However-if you can swim 400m without stopping you are ready to get in the open water – add one or two open water sessions but keep in the pool too.
    • Your first 4 week phase of sets should always be aiming to get a combined 400m time IE 16 x 25m, 8 x 50m, 4 x 100m, 2 x 200m
    • Speed sets have a longer recovery time between each effort.
    • Endurance sets have a shorter and shorter recovery time.
    • Note* At this stage you can’t get in the water often enough. If you’re trying to improve your stroke don’t make the mistake of doing only long swims. “A little but often” is the best strategy. If you feel as if you are slowing down during each interval you may be swimming too far in one go or not giving yourself adequate recovery time.
    • Focus on short Intervals, concentrating on technique and time together.
    • Once you start open water swimming you can increase distance but don’t go too long. A good goal is to measure your performance by timing your efforts. A good idea is to start doing the NOWCA Swim which is an outdoor weekly timed 400m at all participating NOWCA venues. You’ll need to do more than just that however so start gradually building your distance weekly
    • Swim 200, 400, 500, 750 and 1000m distances without stopping. Time them all. Then repeat. At this stage without realising you are starting to compete against yourself. This is a transition phase where you can start to set yourself consistency and timed goals.
    • Each 4-week phase you can add one longer swim each week of 2000, 2500, 4000, 5000m. Once you’ve swam at least 5km you’ll be in the swim fitness of your life! If the 10km was the next day you’d probably finish it…..however ideally with pre planning you will allow yourself 4 weeks to get two more long/hard weeks in before you start to decrease distance.
    • When you reduce the distance two weeks before the event DON’T SLOW DOWN! Stay strong and focus on swimming faster every session the final two weeks but add in complete rest days.
  • You’re now ready for your first 10km open water swim!

    These tips are for those who wish to compete!

    • Continue to use the concepts within the completer tips as they work for everyone.
    • Measure and monitor everything!
    • As with the completer you should be working on the premise that you take speed from the pool to open water and work with intervals. You these both in the pool and open water. Yes, it’s important to be able to achieve the distance but if you want to compete you will need not only endurance but pace and speed.
    • Pool Intervals can look like: 20+ x 50m, 10-20+ x 100m, 5-10+ x 200m (4 x 400m)
    • Note* all workouts must have a warm up and cool down phase which includes technique and flexibility
    • Open Water Intervals can look like: 1-8 x 400m, 2-4 x 500m, 2 x 5 x 750m 1-4 x 1000m 1-3 x 1500m (note* distances depend on course distances available, all OWS should incorporate a warm up on land and in the water and a cool down plus flexibility on land)
    • Every two weeks do one longer swim adding to the distance you’ve achieved previously. All with a good speed just below your usual 1500m race pace: Distance increments EG could be = 1500m > 2000m > 2500m up to 5000m
    • Leave a 10km swim to the race day. YOU DON’T NEED TO DO IT BEFORE THE DAY OF THE RACE!!
  • You’re now ready to compete in your next 10km OWS Race!


  • In 2018 we launched our Wednesday evening squad sessions. They were a success and great training and are tailored to help you towards your swim goals. These will start again the first week in May 2019 – check website before booking your place.
    As the numbers grow there will be coached beginner, intermediate and advanced groups. The format is that these sessions last between 45-60 minutes, has a coach and is progressive and following a training programme. For more details and how to sign up see the LRDOWS website.
  • Good luck 🙂