How to follow your swim workouts easily and get the most out of your time in the water.
Swim Workouts often have many elements to them, designed to work on different aspects of your fitness and stroke. If you are new to training in this way, they can appear a little daunting at first. This article will help you understand them better. You'll soon get used to them, don't worry.
Swim Training Zones
In the first week of your training plan, we set you a Fitness Test to find your Critical Swim Speed (CSS). Using our Online Calculator,
you can then calculate your CSS.
You will need to have entered your CSS into your TrainingPeaks settings (see below) to see the planned distance and duration for all swim workouts.
The swim workouts cannot currently be exported to your device like you can for the bike and run. We hope that TrainingPeaks will enable this soon.
In our swim workouts, we use a few abbreviations to cut down on word count and make things simpler. They will soon become second nature to you.
- Z1 = Training Zone 1
- Z2 = Training Zone 2
- Z3 = Training Zone 3
- Z4 = Training Zone 4
- Z5 = Training Zone 5
- secs = Seconds
- mins = Minutes
- Kick = Kicking on your front while holding a kick float at arm's length
- Pull = Front crawl with pull buoy float between thighs
- FS = Freestyle or front crawl
- Back = Backstroke
- Breast = Breaststroke
- Choice Any stroke or swim drill
An Example Swim Workout
Let's have a look at an example swim set below to help you decipher the various elements:
1 x (100 FS in Z2 + 100 Kick in Z2 + 15 secs rest),
-- Here you start off with 100 freestyle in Zone 2, then 100 kick in Zone 2. Then take 15 secs rest before moving onto the next line:
2 x (100 Drill* in Z2 + 100 Pull in Z2 + 15 sec rests).
-- Do 100 of Drill in Zone 2 (we explain the drill in the workout). Then 100 Pull in Zone 2. Then 15 secs rest. You do all this TWICE before going to the main set:
2 x (100 Pull in Z2 + 200 FS in Z3 + 20 sec rests),
-- 100 Pull in Zone 2, then 200 freestyle in Zone 3, then 20 secs rest. You do all that TWICE.
3 x (100 Pull in Z2 + 100 FS in Z4 + 20 sec rests),
-- 100 Pull in Zone 2, then 100 freestyle in Zone 4, then 20 secs rest. You do all that 3 TIMES
3 x (100 Pull in Z2 + 100 FS in Z5 + 20 sec rests).
-- 100 Pull in Zone 2, then 100 freestyle in Zone 5, then 20 secs rest. You do all that 3 TIMES before going to Warm Down.
2 x (50 FS in Z2 + 50 Choice in Z2).
-- 50 freestyle in Zone 2, and 50 your choice of stroke. You do all that TWICE with no rest....finito!
To help you become more efficient in the water, we incorporate sets of Drills. Refer to this article
and select Drills that are most relevant to you to improve your technique.
Meters or Yards?
For all swims (whether in a Yard or Meter Pool), follow the Workout Description section's distances. Our plans are used globally and so cater for both units of measurement. The swims are generally a little longer than we would normally design because the swims are around 10% shorter for those who train in yards.
There is also a yard/meter button you can toggle in the Workout Details section to view your target paces.
Duration of Workouts
The swim workout duration we give in your training plan is a guide. Just follow the distance guidelines, and don't worry about how long the workout takes you.
How To Remember Your Workout
It's a good idea to print your swim workouts and take them in a plastic sleeve to poolside (a small whiteboard also works). If you have a Garmin, you can also Recreate them in Garmin Connect to follow on your watch as you swim.
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