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 x 2 free
50 x 2 breast
25 x 2 free
25 x 2 breast
25 cool down breast
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!