The greatest swimming hurdle for many athletes is finding the time to fit training into an already busy life. The minutes wasted on driving to the pool or ocean, changing and then eating a post-workout snack can limit your time in the water and hinder your ability to become a better swimmer.
If you find yourself stressing about how often you get into the water, here are a few time-saving suggestions to get the most out of your swim workouts.
More: 4 Focused Swim Workouts
1. Add a More Distance
Build your volume by increasing your swim distance each week. For example, if you normally swim 2,000 meters per swim, increase your distance to 2,100 meters per swim on week one, 2,200 meters per swim on week two, 2, 300 meters per swim on week three and so on.
2. Mix Up the Intensity
Switch up your main set by completing short, fast intervals in one session set:
- 8 to 16 x 50 meters (m)
- 6 to 12 x 75 (m)
The next time do a longer sets:
- 4 to 8 x 150 (m)
- 3 to 5 x 300 (m).
Don't forget to mix it up within each swim repetition, as well. For example, try 10x50 where every 50 is 25 easy, 25 fast or 3x300 (m) where each 300 is 25 easy, 25 race-pace, 50 easy, 50 race-pace, 75 easy, 75 race pace.
3. Perfect Practice Matters Most
There's no such thing as getting too efficient in the water. Always build drills for body position, power and stroke into the warm up and cool down. The more efficient you are, the less energy you'll use. This is critical if you want to swim better, and will serve you well in the latter part of a race.
4. Get It On Film
Watch yourself move through the water to spot problem areas. Have someone record you from the front, side and back and then compare your video to a top swimmer. Check for videos to compare yourself with on Youtube.com. Look for areas to improve on, like where your hand enters the water, whether you're swimming flat and whether you're doing a scissor kick.
5. Swim Like a Fish
Use a set of short fins like Zoomers to give you a little extra propulsion, especially when you're doing short fast sets like 8 to 20 x 25 (m), and when you're doing kicking sets. Be careful not to use them for the breaststroke because the fins will put too much stress on your knees.