Swimmers? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-03-2003, 11:04 PM
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Hi everyone,

I recently began swimming for exercise. I've looked online for some kind of guide to getting the best workout possible (which is probably very easy with swimming, from what I can tell) but haven't been able to find much. My mother swam competitively in school but she isn't much help as far as getting a routine going etc. I believe my technique in the water is decent - I doubt I'll be injuring myself or anything.

Does anyone else here swim? What kind of workout do you go through? Do you use fins, weights, boueys? How many laps? How long do you exercise for? How quickly will I see my stamina improve? I know the last question is pretty dependant on other factors but if anyone has experience with this, I'd be very interested in seeing a timeline of how long it took you to get to the point you're at now from when you began.

I've considered getting lessons but I can't really afford them right now so I'm just putting this out there hoping we've got some swimmers in the crowd.

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#2 Old 12-03-2003, 11:13 PM
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When I swam competitively, we did laps. Lots and lots of laps. At least 100 once I was in the intermediate level. It changed daily, but the basics:

- 16 lap warm up (whatever stroke is comfortable, and you can alternate and take breaks- I switched between breast and freestyle every 50-100 meters)

- begin sets of strokes/drills (16 nonstop moderate paced laps of freestyle, 16 laps breaststroke with a 10 second break between each 50-100 meters, etc.)

- take a break between sets, then do another set of another stroke (say 16 laps of backstroke?), take a break, then do another stroke.

- do a cool down (you can do only 8 laps if you like here)

It's hard to describe. Think of it like in the gym- you do sets with various weights, right? So do sets of various strokes, whatever's comfortable for you. I used 16 as an example because that's what I could remember doing off the top of my head. Make sure you drink lots of water, it's surprisingly easy to get dehydrated when you're swimming (I know, it seems impossible to dry out when you're in the water, but it's possible! I learned that through a few nasty charlie-horses. ), and don't work yourself too hard. But most importantly, have fun. Swimming is a great exercise because you don't realize how hard you're working- the water soothes your muscles (it did mine, anyhow) and washes away your sweat, keeping you cool and unaware how hard you're working.
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#3 Old 12-06-2003, 11:08 AM
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i love to swim, and this is my general routine:

so, my "best" routine in the water, to date is as follows:

200 warm up breast (200)

100 x 4 free (400 total)

100 x 4/4 pull (arms only free style, arms only breast) (800 total)

100 x 2/2 kick (sometimes free kick, sometimes butterfly kick on my back) (400 total)

100 x 4 back stroke (400)

200 x 4 free (800)

500 x 2 free (1000)

500 x 2 breast (1000)

200 x 4 free (800)

200 x 2 breast (400)

100 x 2 breast (200)

200 cool down breast (200)

water walk (just walking around in the pool).

total: 6600 m or roughly 4 miles of swimming. Usually takes about 1.5-2 hours? sometimes less, sometimes more. i'm fast though.

So, this is interval training, basicly. I would rest between 100s or 200s or 500s or whatever. Whatever rest i needed, and then i began to time the rests down to 30 second intervals, 15 second intervals. I would alternate speed thoughout. For instance, first 100 easy, second one fast, third one fast, fourth one easy.

i didn't use any props. Sometimes, i would add panty hose under my suit to increase weight (the hose holds water and gets heavy), but otherwise, no boueys, no kick boards, etc. I tend to be a bit spare about things like that. lol

When first starting out, do what you can. You may start with 25s or 50s--depending upon the length of your pool. The pool where i practice is a 25. So, you could start with this routine, which is similar to the one above:

25 warm up breast

25 x 2 free

25 x 2/2 pull free/breast

25 x 2/2 kick free/breast or back-butterfly

25 x 2 back stroke

50 free

50 x 2 free

100 free

50 x 2 breast

50 free

25 x 2 free

25 x 2 breast

25 cool down breast

water walk

so, you would incrementally increase as you feel comfortable to increase distance. Once you get a distance that you like, work for time.

ok, so here's the basics of that:

start with the time you can or want to spend in the pool--say, you have 45 minutes. Make a routine (similar to above) that fits within your time allowance and your speed. YOu may want to take a "trial run" and just go on a day when you don't have to be anywhere so that you can experiment with your own times and see how long the routine of 25s takes you. anyway, you start with: ok, i warm up and cool down for sure. I can then fit in a few intervals of free style in the middle. so, do that.

Once you get comfortable with that 30 minutes or 45 minute routine, then you start to look at how long you rest between intervals, how long it takes you to do an interval. start by increasing your speed of intervals. Begin to work that--pushing yourself a bit. So, perhaps you'll do one easy, two hard, one easy. See how the times change, and how the rest changes. As you start to push yourself, your time will decrease, you'll have more time to add more laps.

once you get to a distance that you like (having added laps) start to work on your rest times. When you start out, rest as much as you need to--so that you're calm when you start your next interval. You may find that you rest a minute or more. Over time, try to decrease that--rest only a minute, rest only 45 seconds, rest only 30 seconds, rest only 15 seconds. You'll discover that you will eventually get to the point where your distances are a mile or slightly more in 30 minutes--even with rest. Then, you may just want to add more time to your swims.

I haven't been swimming for a while, but we're looking into a near-by new Y to see if it is something that we will use. my husband is interested in it, we may even have the opportunity to train together (though i doubt it!). I can't wait to get back to it. I know that i won't be able to jump right back into my old routine, but i'll be able to start over--and that's just about as much fun!

Good luck! be well and happy!
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