When I devised my training plan for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon over Labor Day weekend, I knew swimming would figure in hugely. I am a healthier, stronger person when I supplement my three running days per week with a couple swimming days, and I find that swimming translates well to running. But after suffering some serious burnout after swimming competitively in high school, I have to make a conscious effort to motivate myself to get in the pool. At its best, my on-again, off-again relationship with swimming compares favorably only to Ross and Rachel.
But this week, I’ve found motivation to swim in three very simple sources. First, I have my swim buddy back! Steve’s been joining me at the pool again now that his classes aren’t taking so much time, and it’s wonderful.
Second, I’ve found a beautiful new pool. I’d been swimming at the Takoma Aquatic Center for the past year or so, and loved that it’s close to my house and free. But a few months ago, Liz of Liz Runs DC introduced me to the Wilson Aquatic Center just off the Tenleytown Metro. It’s a brand new, beautiful, Olympic-sized pool that’s also close to my house and free—what’s not to love?
Finally, in a conscious effort to avoid boredom now that I’m hitting the pool more often, I took the time to compile a bunch of my favorite swim workouts. I’m sharing them below. Feel free to reciprocate by posting a comment with your own favorite swim sets or workouts.
My all-time favorite workout: 1,650 warmup, starting at warmup pace, picking up the pace each 500 yards; 6X200 IM; 200 cooldown. Why is this my favorite? I can’t be sure. I just know that yards slip away easily during this challenging yet quick workout.
Other favorite workouts: 500 warmup. Main set: 300 free, first six strokes of every 50 fast; 3X100 stroke (I alternate free and breaststroke); 6X 50 free; repeat whole set three times.
800 free warmup; 3X800, increasing intensity each 800
500 warmup, non-free every third lap. Then 300 free, 3 100 IMs, 6 50s kick, 100 easy. Repeat two more times.
My all-time favorite set: 5X400 IM. Almost a workout in and of itself, this is a set that redeems any amount of slackerdom. It’s also a great set for a low-motivation day, as it’s almost impossible to really slack off while doing butterfly.
My favorite sets: Use these as building blocks for great workouts, or tack them onto the end of your own favorites.
1,800-meter pyramid set on :15 rest: 1×50 > 1×100 > 1×150 > 1×200 > 1×250 > 1×300 > 1×250 > 1×200 > 1×150 > 1×100 > 1×50
4×25 sprint freestyle on :45, then 4×25 no-breath freestyle
five 100s (500), five 75s (375), five 50s (250) and five 25s (125) = 1,250 (do 2x = 2,500)
12X 75 swim: Free, stroke, free
30-minute timed swim