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The Evolving Swimmer- Workouts for Speed

Swim workouts should be more than just staring at a black line lap after lap.

Welcome to Part IV of “The Evolving Swimmer” series. To view previous posts in the series, click here.

Don’t like to swim because it’s too boring? Does the thought of endless laps staring at a black line make you cringe? You’re not alone.

Swimming laps can be tedious. There’s no finish line, no conversing with others, and no music or television. The good news is there are many ways to jazz up your swim sessions.

Here are some of my favorite hour long swim workouts that keep me engaged, having fun, and improving my stroke.

There are 2 simple ways to spice up your swimming. Incorporate different strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Or join a master’s swim class or group lesson. For this series I am focusing on freestyle workouts since that are the most popular and the preferred stroke in triathlon.

Part IV and V of this series focuses on swim workouts suitable for any level. These 5 are a few of my favorite 2500 meter workouts that focus on improving speed. Each workout takes me about an hour to complete. Reduce or increase according to your level and goals.

Feel free to mix these up and create comprehensive swim workouts that you enjoy and can physically handle. Since this is an “evolving swimmer” series, I didn’t include designated rest times between sets. Generally speaking, keep your workout moving along at a pace that keeps you challenged but energized.

I begin each of my workouts with a general focus and only 1 or 2 stroke related targets. For example, my general focus might be fast speed intervals (25m or 50m) focusing on my head position. The key is not to overwhelm yourself with too much to think about in one session. Keep it simple so you don’t throw in the towel (pun intended:-).

Most indoor pools are 25 yards or 25 meters per length. Therefore, 50 meters is one complete lap down and back. Choose one or two stroke improvement targets before you begin (Examples:  body position, breathing, kick, knees together, keeping head down, high elbow, hip rotation, pointed toes, exhale, avoiding arm crossover, catch….).

For explanation of the drills within these workouts, see Part III of The Evolving Swimmer series.

ONE
150 warm up
100 kick with board
100 one arm drill
100 side swimming
100 six beat slide
100 kick no board
100 easy
200 with each 50 increasing speed
100 easy
300 with each 50 increasing speed
100 easy
400 with each 50 increasing speed
100 easy
500 with each 50 increasing speed
50 cool down
TWO
100 warm up
200 kick with board
100 easy
100 kick no board
5 x 200 fast intervals
100 six beat slide
100 easy, 100 fast
100 easy, 100 fast
200 moderate
200 easy kick
100 kick with board cool down
THREE
50 warm up
50 kick with board
100 moderate
50 kick with board
100 moderate
500 fast
100 moderate
500 fast
100 moderate
500 alternating fast and slow each 100
50 very easy
400 with pull buoy
FOUR
100 kick no board
100 easy
200 favorite drill
200 fast
50 easy
50 all out sprint
200 favorite drill
200 fast
50 easy
50 all out sprint
200 favorite drill
200 fast
50 easy
50 all out sprint
200 favorite drill
200 fast
50 easy
50 all out sprint
300 with pull buoy
FIVE
100 warm up
50 scully
100 six beat slide
200 moderate
1000 alternating 100’s fast and easy
20 x 50 with first 25 all out sprint, back half 25 easy
50 cool down

Every so often, treat swimming like yoga. Go with the flow and just swim. Let your mind wander, feel the movement of the water, swim at a comfortable pace, and relax. Movement in water is refreshing and weightless. Give yourself permission to release all of your stresses into the water and free your mind by embracing your own rhythm that day, no matter how fast or slow.

The desire to constantly improve can suck the joy right out of swimming. Coming from first hand experience, you don’t have to be the fastest or best swimmer to enjoy the sport. It’s good for your heart, mind and body at any age or athletic ability.

Happy Swimming!

"Compare yourself only to the person you were yesterday."

 

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