How to use this plan
This training plan can be used in two ways:
As a beginner, all training should be done in heart-rate zones 1-2 for your first year. This equates to a 'conversational' pace.
Remember, this program IS JUST a volume-builder. If you are new to endurance, its recommended to focus on only volume for your first year, the following years you can start adding intensity-specific workouts as you will have a good base.
If you are a beginner that can't swim a lap or two without gasping, the best way to build endurance is to use 'active recovery'. It works and is how I went from gasping at half a length to swimming 1500 meters by the end of the summer. Assuming you have a passable forward crawl (freestyle) - the hard stroke - and you can easily swim back, breast or sidestroke - your easy stroke, here is how you can combine the two to build volume.
Start out swimming five lengths of your 'easy' stroke and on the six length go into the forward crawl for only one length. INSTEAD of stopping to rest and breath, go back into doing five lengths of your easy stroke for active recovery. REPEAT this for the duration of every swim workout of the week.
IF you were able to do the prior weeks workouts of one length of freestyle + five lengths of 'easy' stroke comfortably, then for the next week, try to add one more length of the forward crawl so you will be swimming four lengths of your easy stroke and then go into two lengths of the forward crawl, repeat. In essence you are decreasing the amount of your 'easy' stroke and increasing the amount of your 'forward crawl'.
As you get more comfortable with swimming multiple lengths of the forward crawl, you keep increasing the ratio of forward crawl lengths to your easy stroke lengths. Before you know it you will be swimming all freestyle. This can take anywhere from one to three months. This will be HARD WORK.
*You do not have to keep trying to add another length of freestyle every week if you have not gotten comfortable with the prior weeks freestyle:easy stroke ratio.
For breathing, just focus on breathing every stroke until you can comfortably swim a workout in all freestyle. Then you can work on bilateral breathing.
Missing a Training DayThere are always questions whether to make up or skip a missed training day. It's best just to skip it an move on. Though if you find you are missing a session or two per week, it's best to re-evaluate your goals and program. I like to follow the 80/20 rule. If you can hit at least 80% of your workouts every week, you should have no problem.
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