By mixing up your speed you’ll evolve into a faster swimmer. Add these three important swimming exercises to your training regime and you’ll swiftly see your speed and stamina rise.
An easy test to find your maximal and threshold pace is a must-do session.
Warm-up: 400m easy
Rest: 2 minutes
Test 1: 100m flat-out and note down time
Rest: 3-5 minutes
Test 2: 20 minutes as hard as you can. Try to pace it evenly and note distance covered and work out your pace per 100m.
Cool down: 400m easy
Compare the two 100m splits. There should be more than eight seconds difference between them. If not, you’re one-paced and should work on both your top end and sustainable pace. Use the pace from the 20 minutes test for threshold work, swim at 3-5 secs/100m slower for endurance work and include some high end drills like Workout 2. Test yourself again every six to eight weeks.
Technique is important, but backing off every time you are feeling a bit ragged and breathless will be holding you back and keeping you in a never changing one speed rut. Break the ‘Technique Threshold’ with this session.
Warm-up: 400m steady but build in intensity. Include some kicking work for core strength, some lengths with pull buoys (floats between your legs) and some lengths with fins.
Main set: 10X25m 30-second recoveries
10X50m 40-second recoveries
10X25m 30-second recoveries
Cool down: 400 m easy
These should be 100% eyeballs out, get you arms whirring, legs thrashing and lose your technique inhibitions. With regular practice, your technique and biomechanics will catch-up. Don’t be tempted to reduce the recovery durations.
The biggest mistake swimmers make with endurance work is going too hard and not finishing the workout. Break up the work and get a decent chunk of distance out of the way on the warm-up.
Warm-up: 1000m alternating one length swim with one length drill such as catch-ups, finger drags, kicks and even some backstroke, but keep it steady.
Main set: 500m
2X250m 10-second recoveries
5X100m 5-second recoveries
10X50m 3-second recoveries
Cool down: 400 m easy
Don’t get competitive with lane-mates and stick with the discipline of swimming 3-5 secs/100m slower than your threshold pace for the whole workout.