All this time off from running has given me a lot of time to dial in my swimming. I started out just doing what I’ve always done and just put in long laps. This last month, however, I started breaking down my three swims/week into separate focuses and it’s been incredible how much of a difference that makes!
One of the easiest ways to get better at swimming is just swimming more often. Almost all of 2017 I felt like swimming 1x per week was good enough. Now, looking at how big of a difference swimming multiple times per week has made, I realize I was totally wrong! No matter where you’re at, swimming like everything else, takes work. Check out these volumes over the last six months:
This month I’m averaging about 10,000 yards per week, which is crazy!
Here’s how my week breaks down –
Mondays are drill days. I don’t really like these days because I feel so terrible doing drills, but hey, that’s what they’re for! I alternate between a drill and a 500yd freestyle set for a total around 3,000 yards as shown below. Drills are: paddles, kickboard, pull buoy, kickboard.
Interval day, aka swim death. I’m on a progression set where after my warm up, I go 10×100, 8×100, 6×100 and aim to increase my 100 speeds by 5 seconds each set. This drives both consistency but feels similar to negative splits in running. I’ll admit, sometimes I forget one of the one hundreds, but I’m starting to work towards the lower end of my range each time, which is awesome! Twenty four back to back 100s is rough, but at the end, a nice 500 cool down comes with a sense of accomplishment (or some gnarly leg cramps as seen below in how I had to break it out)!
10×100 @ 1:25-1:30
8×100 @ 1:20-1:25
6×100 @ 1:15-1:20
This is the true test. Every week ends with a “lets see what you got” swim. I’m not doing this to challenge Michael Phelps in a 100 yard sprint, I’m in it to improve my long distance speed. So my Friday sets are simple: warm up, swim distance, cool down. I’ve been trying to hone in on my 2 mile time and I’m really happy to say that every week I’ve been able to make gains on it. This feels similar to when I was training for NYC marathon and progressively improving my 13.1 mile times! Amazing feeling and cool way to head into the weekend!
What about you? Have you been focusing on swim lately? What’s working for you?