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Swimming Workout Question

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Old 10-31-2008, 01:45 PM   #1
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Default Swimming Workout Question

Hello All!

Happy Friday! And, more importantly, Happy Halloween!

I have a question for all of you that include swimming in your workout. How did you start? Did you know how to swim before deciding to include it in your workout regimen or is it something that you had to learn how to do?

I'm asking because I've been off the workout bandwagon for a couple weeks due to a foot injury (sesamoiditis) that has the potential of being recurrent. Given that, I've kind of had to rethink my workout situation. Swimming seems to have the least amount of foot impact and the aquatic center by my house opens at 5:00 (perfect for my early rising self!) and closes at 12:00am (good for those insomnia days!). I'm thinking of making swimming my main cardio exercise in my regimen.

I'm just worried that I'm not a good enough swimmer to try something like that. I had swimming lessons when I was a kid where I learned the basics - floating, holding my breath, swimming underwater, jumping off the diving board, etc. And I had some in high school. I can go the backstroke, sidestroke, and freestyle, but I'm not sure if the technique is all that great. I really do love to be in the water - I'm a total water rat. But I'm a bit intimidated by all of the form stuff.

If there is a way to self teach form and all that, that would be great, since there are no classes offered that would fit in my schedule and I'm more of a self teacher anyway.

As a side note, the last time I tried doing laps, after 15 minutes, my butt was totally kicked! Perhaps there's hope for me yet?

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Old 11-09-2008, 09:46 PM   #2
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hi -
i'm going to begin swim workouts - hopefully later this week. i bought a swim cap and goggles today.

here are two sites i found earlier today.



i don't which site i'll use.

et me know how your training goes. maybe we can help motivate eachother.
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:15 AM   #3
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I swam competitively year round for years as a kid and my form is still far from perfect, so I don't know that I'd worry about it that much. I swim once a week and, at least where I swim, there are all sorts in the pool--folks who don't put their face in the water, a guy that only lifts one arm out of the water (I sometimes wonder if maybe he had a stroke, but both arms seem to operate normally when he's not in the water), another guy that sort of lists to one side and gurgles (but still swims faster than me), and folks that have perfect form. I just hope I'm somewhere in the middle.

As for 15 min of lap swimming kicking your butt, there's definitely hope for you. I think you'll find that if you swim consistently, your endurance will increase very quickly. When I first started swimming again after about 20 years off, that first workout was a really doozy. But I saw a marked improvement in my endurance every week until I reached my current level, where I've sort of leveled off. Now I'm able to swim for 75 to 90 min, including at least 20 min of intervals and with flip turns; there's no way I could have done that for my first workout (flip turns, especially, were out of the question--I just couldn't hold my breath that long).

I haven't read it (I know my form could stand some improvement--I just don't care), but I've heard good things about the book Total Immersion Swimming, if you do want a resource that might help you work on your form.
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:23 AM   #4
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I just started my swim lessons. I went into the most advanced class *gulp*.

I went to the local swim center, haven't had swimming lessons since I was 10. I had never swum laps before. I started swimming. At first, I totally did suck. After a month of working on it though I got better. I knew I wanted lessons and so I signed up but wasn't sure if I should sign up for the most advanced class or not but I did.

I went to my first class yesterday and the teacher had some comments but she said I wasn't a bad swimmer but I just needed to work on technique. I also only know front crawl and back crawl so I'm going to learn other swim strokes as well.

Anyway, I guess my point is to get in there and try. I'd look into lessons though as well.
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Old 11-10-2008, 11:09 AM   #5
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As a former competitive swimmer who also teaches triathloners to improve their strokes, I can recommend the Total Immersion book/videos. You have to have some patience with the plan, but it will give you the tools to swim in a very efficient and less effort filled manner. It has helped my students a lot.

And I think if at all possible, that you find someone to give you a few technique lessons. Swimming is all about technique and the better yours is the more you will enjoy swimming on a long term basis (such as, people get sick and tired of trying to get anything done while swimming with their heads up to breathe, etc, and then they quit and miss a great source of exercise for lack of a little help!). You can certainly do fine without help, but I think any help you can get there will not be wasted, it's an investment. Look for someone who knows all the strokes if you can find them and get pointers on them, as it is better to mix up your strokes as different muscles are used, and it cuts down on your risk of overusing you shoulders in such a repetitive manner (where swimming injuries occur and the older you are, the more likely it may happen).

You might also like aqua fit classes if you can find them - depending on the teacher and the class they can be quite demanding and it's a change from swimming laps.

The Masters Swimming site may give you some tips and workout links.

Good luck and enjoy!
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Old 11-20-2008, 02:13 PM   #6
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I began swimming this fall after many many years of not doing it. I soon realized that my freestyle/crawl stroke needed some work. I signed up for adult lessons at our HS pool (they keep a list and put together a class when they have enough people). THere were people of all levels - including two total non-swimmers. It really helped my technique and now I can swim laps much more efficiently. Still working on endurance, and since I've been sick for a couple of weeks, I'll probably have fallen off a little. FWIW cardio endurance of other sorts doesn't equate to swimming endurance, since you have to "plan" your breathing while swimming. But like Barbara says, when I go to lap swim, there are people of all levels there. I try to pick a lane with someone who appears to be swimming about my speed - and not thrashing around stirring up the water.

The gym in the next town is building an indoor pool and I'm considering if I want to join. It's a longer drive than to my gym and/or the HS pool. The downside of the HS pool is the limited hours, and the fact that esp in evening lap swim there are swim teams practicing taking several lanes out of the lap swim. Never mind that they totally trash the locker room - often it's 1/2" deep with water....

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh
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