MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT
We swimmers tend to be creatures of habit with the same lane, same pool, same time of day, and same workout routine. One of the ripples of this pandemic is that pool times are limited in number and length. While we are exceedingly grateful just for the opportunity to swim, and indeed our mental health is bolstered by the water, we still struggle with the disruption to our usual.
There are many reasons to swim, with physical and mental fitness being high on the list alongside triathlon, swim race and endurance event. No matter what, you are likely swimming at a different time, place and duration than you would like. Keeping this in mind, why not make the most of the minutes you do have in the pool?
Solution #1: Swim really fast the entire time. This can feel really good some days. Warm down!
Solution #2: Do a structured set with some Variable Paces and heart rates which will keep you interested and build your cardiovascular fitness. This makes sense if you are considering increasing your baseline speed…you would be able to fit in more yardage on the days when Solution #1 is the plan, for example...
Variable Paces while using perceived exertion as your guide. Are you swimming at an all-day pace (50-60%) or one that you could maintain for a minute (90%) / ten minutes (75%) / an hour (60%)?
Here is a 55 minute swim idea which uses perceived exertion and the pace clock (but your actual swimming speed does not matter). Any stroke can be used, as exertion is the main variable. Do a warm-up then repeat Set 1 a few times then swim Set 2 once. Or any mixture of the two! When you first start adding intensity you might need to add rest, but as you get more used to the type of workout you can keep the rest short as written. Never leave the water right after a 90% exertion…make sure your heart rate has recovered with a warm down before finishing.
Swim 10-12 minutes with a smooth stroke. If you know multiple strokes, consider repeating a pattern of three lengths (75 yards) freestyle + one length (25 yards) other stroke.
Swim 50 yards at 70% exertion, rest 5 seconds (use the clock)
Swim 50 yards at 80% rest 7 seconds
Swim 50 yards at 90% rest 10 seconds
Swim 100 yards easy…just move through the water any way you’d like as an active rest, letting your heart rate recover as you swim. Rest 20 seconds then repeat the pattern.
Rest 5-10 seconds between each 100
Swim 100 yards smooth at maybe 70%
Swim 100 yards with JUST the 1st 25 at 90% and the rest at 70%
Swim 100 yards with JUST the 2nd 25 at 90%
Swim 100 yards with JUST the 3rd 25 at 90%
Swim 100 yards with JUST the 4th 25 at 90%
Swim 100 yards easy letting your heart rate recover while you move through the water