I've been swimming my butt off lately and loving every second of it, but I'd love to have some suggestions to change things up a bit and keep it from getting boring. Are there any other avid swimmers here? I've looked and can't seem to find any!
Hi, I'm a former competitive swimmer (30+ years ago) and have done a lot of swimming in the last 2 years as I lost weight. Just love the water. I am in pretty good shape now after all this time, and do about 3000 yards in an hour, 3 times a week ( I also run and do a lot of classes at my fitness center now so swimming is not the only exercise I do). I can also do all 4 competitive strokes. I'm telling you this so you'll have some context as to what I find useful, it may not fit your situtation, but maybe something will interest you?
I usually do about 30 laps to warm up, and then spend the rest of the time doing intervals - like 10 x 100 yards (4 lengths), resting 15 seconds in between, and things like that. I make up my own workouts to fit how I am feeling, but I've gotten some good info from the Masters swimming site (usms.org) and from Swimming World Magazine (swimmingworldmagazine.com). Lots of links, etc.
My reccomendation is to figure out some kind of workout for yourself given your abilities and likes, rather than just swimming laps, and to mix up strokes if possible, to make things easier on your shoulders (about the only body part that can get injured in swimming, I think). Also, some kind of intervals is good as it helps to maintain interest and it varies your heart rate throughout the workout. As you get more into swimming, also, interval training helps build your fitness faster and get more out of the laps you do, so you don't end up having to add endless more and more laps as the only way to continue to get fit It does not matter how much you are doing, it matters that you are doing it! Start slow and build up, you will find you can do more yardage pretty quickly.
I also do stretches and some exercises in the water. Great for flexibility.
I swim once a week, about 3,000 yards or meters, depending on which way the pool has the lanes running that day. It takes me 75 to 90 min (depending on whether we're swimming yards or meters that day and how many times I lose count in the middle of a set and have to do extra laps ); I'm definitely not the faster swimmer in the pool but I'm not in a rush. The swimming makes a nice change of pace from the rest of the exercise that I do. Since it isn't weight bearing, swimming is a lot easier on my body. The rest of the week I run intervals and do strength training and plyometrics with a trainer, both of which are pretty hard on my body. So my Saturday morning swim often comes as a relief.
Here are some ideas to spice up your workout:
Add intervals, as Pink Geranium suggested. I do four sets of 200 yards of intervals: for each set I swim 25 yrds/mtrs as fast as I can and then swim 25 yrds/mtrs at a recovery pace. On the last set, I do breast stroke on the recovery laps--it's my reward for doing all freestyle on the other sets. Or do timed sets: time how long it takes you to swim 50 yards at a moderate pace, then swim 50 yards a faster pace (start with maybe 10 seconds faster than your moderate pace) with short rests (say 15 sec) in between. Try to keep increasing the time or increase the length of the swim to 100 yards.
Mix it up in terms of the strokes you are doing. Do some backstroke, some breaststroke, some butterfly.
Challenge yourself to swim as far as you can underwater. I do the last lap of my workout underwater (last week I made it almost 37 yards without coming up for air).
Do flip turns. They require great breath control.
Try to rest for shorter periods between sets and increase the number of laps you do without stopping to rest.
Use toys! I bought a pair of flippers last year and wear them during the sets where I am isolating my kicking. I love love love my flippers. I go so fast in them and they are a much better workout for my legs than kicking without flippers (although flippers can be hard on your ankles or knees, so if you have joint problems they may not be something you can use--talk to your doctor before you use them). You can also get paddles to wear on your hands and a buoy to put between your legs to concentrate on the pulling portion of your stroke.
Thanks for all of the suggestions... there's lots here to keep me busy! All I've been doing so far is lanes and after about 100 lanes I get so bored!
I'm not all that fast of a swimmer, but I see MAJOR improvements in my technique and speed from 2 months ago.
Thanks for the help!
I used to be a competitive swimmer, too, and I definitely recommend changing it up!!
I was distance/IM, so I did a LOT of pacing stuff, which I still love. Never a sprinter. Since I have so many of my practice workouts still ingrained in my brain, I sort of don't have a plan when I go (I was a REALLY disciplined swimmer!).
Frequently I'll do 200 free warm up, 200 back, 500 free, then 200/400 IM (depending on how I'm feeling).
Swimming is the best feeling everrrrrrrrr
☮ ♥ =
Short term goal...
ONEDERLAND by Fall Semester... 9/7/10
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