Swim Workouts

Now that most of us are moving into the off season you may have started thinking about what you’d like to work on for next year. Or maybe you’re still enjoying some down time and just getting back into the swing of things. No matter what you’re up to, I thought I’d share some tidbits of swimming workouts to help add some variety to your routine.

  1. Quick Yardage

Here’s a great set that you can do when you’re low on time but need to get in a decent amount of yardage. It’s called a loco, typically I’ll do this sequence: 1-1-2-2-3-3-4-4-4-4-3-3-2-2-1-1. Those are lengths of the pool, totalling 1000 yards (or meters). For each pair of numbers, the first number is fast/above threshold while the second number is easy/moderate/recovery. You swim continuously through the sequence of numbers, so there’s no rest but active recovery is built into the set. The great thing about this workout is you can adjust the sequence and only go up to 3’s or make it longer and go up to 5’s. You can also instead do sets of 3, i.e. 1-1-1-2-2-2-3-3-3 and so on. In that scenario the first number is fast, the second is moderate and the third is easy. These sets are great because you can make them as long or as short as you’d like and they’re sure to get your heart rate up.

  1. A Challenge

If you’re looking for a new challenging set here’s one that I love and hate.  4x400m@6:00 – Swim the first 300 faster than your threshold pace ~75-80%, stop, take 10 seconds rest then swim the last 100 fast ~90%. This set is hard and mentally challenging but you will feel accomplished when you finish. You can easily alter the distances, intervals or number of repeats to make it work for you. For example 3×200@4:00, 150 strong, 15 seconds rest, 50 sprint.   You’ll want about a minute rest between repeats, if you’re doing the set correctly you’ll need it.

  1. Speed Work

Just like biking and running, you’re not going to get faster at swimming unless you do some speed work. One of my favorite speed sets is under-over 50’s with zoomers. For an under-over, sprint kick under water as far as you can, when you can’t hold your breath any longer, swim easy freestyle to the wall. The second length is all out sprint swimming at 100%. Try 4-8 of these 50’s before you cool down for the day, pick an interval that gives you about 30 seconds rest as these are all out effort. As an alternative, you could also do sets of 25’s like this with a little lest rest.

I hope you can squeeze some of these sets into your routine. Let me know what you think if you try these or some combination of these out, I’d love to hear about it! Thanks for reading, enjoy the last weeks of warm weather!

Welcome to the dungeon, where I spend many hours each week. I love that it’s meters and has a hot tub but no windows and dim lighting can be somewhat depressing. You can see they tried to add some flare to the walls to make it better.

6 thoughts on “Swim Workouts

  1. We did under-overs in Masters this morning! Any sets with 25’s and zoomers are fun and help to keep things interesting. And I love the loco idea- I’m going to do more of those in my solo swim workouts-seems less mind numbing than 100-200-300, etc ladders up and down. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    1. Emy where do you swim masters? Funny that you did u/o’s today! Angie Hop had asked me about swim workouts yesterday and I had already written this… Mind readers! 😉

      1. Woodbury Lifetime Tues/Thurs at the super fun time of 5:30am! Coach Olga- she’s awesome!! What pool is that in your photo?

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