General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Beginner swim training programs Rss Feed  
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2013-10-30 1:40 PM

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Subject: Beginner swim training programs
so, I'm looking for a beginner swimming training program. I'm really frustrated with what I've found so far (also, I'm overtired, which may actually be adding to the frustration more than the search itself!) I'm not an absolute newbie in the water, but I don't have much in the way of endurance yet. So when I find a beginner program that says- OK to warm up, swim 500 yards slowly, I think 500 yards would be a complete workout for me, and I couldn't do 50 without stopping. So where are the ones in between "go get lessons and a life jacket " and "Michael Phelps thinks this is a beginner" training plan?

So help! point me in the right direction for building over the winter, starting really really slow. I can't run right now, so this is my chance t get a good base built.


2013-10-30 1:41 PM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
2013-10-30 1:46 PM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs

Actually, if you really can't do 50 without stopping, I'd highly encourage you to get some lessons/coaching.  You can do without them, but they will speed your progress immensely. 

You can, however, forego the life jacket. 

2013-10-30 3:05 PM
in reply to: ratherbeswimming

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
Thanks, I'll try starting there- missed the topic as it went by!!
2013-10-30 3:07 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
I don't feel like I need a coach to just get started, but I am definitely planning on something over the winter as I go- either lessons or coaching. I'm not 100% sure there is a masters group near me (Vermont can be a little sparse for that kind of thing sometime)

Thanks! I definitely will be planning on going that way once I get going and can arrange it. Probably a good Christmas present to myself!
2013-10-30 4:35 PM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
I work with a lot of beginners that start out exactly where you are right now. The best thing to do is to start out with a lot of 25s and swim with fins on. This will put your body in a lot better position in the water and make it easier to breath. Here would be my recommendations for what you need to focus on when you first start out:

- Consistency. Don't get discouraged. Everyone started exactly where you are right now. Try to get in the water 4-5x a week.
- Keep as flat a body position on the water as possible.
- Make sure your hands enter the water about shoulder width apart and pull focusing on increasing the pressure on your hands.
- Get some cheap socks that you can wear with the fins; they can chafe.
- Exhale underwater - blow bubbles; inhale when you turn your head to breath. Don't pick your head up or your back end will drop.
- Build density in the workouts week over week.

This is a workout I usually start beginners out with:

12x25 swim w/fins @ 20-30 seconds rest; focus on body position, hand entry and breathing
8x25 kick w/fins @ 20-30 seconds rest; grab the end of the board, keep hips high and kick from the hips
12x25 swim w/fins @ 20-30 seconds rest

4x50 swim w/fins des 1-4 @ 30 seconds rest

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Best regards,

Tim Floyd


2013-10-30 5:45 PM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
Did anyone say, "get a coach" or "join a masters team"? These are the best ways to progress fast. Really. Now, that may not be an option for everyone:

Maybe you should start getting some reference points so you can accommodate the programs to your needs. Any program is only a suggestion, sometimes they are just way off for your current level, but if you don't know your level it can be hard to make appropriate changes.

I suggest you do something like this:

For warm up, go by time instead of distance, so you warm up could be:

10 min. continuos swim, easy pace, practice all styles you know, you may rest up to 30sec. 3 times.

Then you could do a main set:

12x50 crawl w. 30 sec. rest. Every 3 or 4 you may swim either breast stroke or back stroke, but try to keep the pace on the crawl. Use the pace clock to start at the nearest half min. time your 50. It's important to note down your splits, it can serve as a reference for your current level.

5 min. cool down. back stroke or breast stroke, easy.

You'll get more rest than you need, really, so once you've found your pace you can start doing sets with a fixed time, leaving every, say 2:30. or whatever. A common problem is that beginners spend too much time at the wall. The above is generous with rest, you should aim at less.

From this, it's about building up: Do more reps. do longer intervals, go faster. You can't do all at the same time. You can up the reps and once you reach say, 16x50, start doing 8x100, etc.

Always keep an eye on your splits. Regardless of how long your intervals are or how fast you swim, aim at keeping the same rest per interval. I usually say 10-15sec. is enough.
2013-10-30 6:01 PM
in reply to: JohnnyKay

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
Originally posted by JohnnyKay

Actually, if you really can't do 50 without stopping, I'd highly encourage you to get some lessons/coaching.  You can do without them, but they will speed your progress immensely. 

You can, however, forego the life jacket. 




AGreed!!
2013-10-30 7:11 PM
in reply to: AdventureBear

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
http://www.swimsmooth.com/

Body position and proper breathing is so important.
2013-10-30 7:22 PM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs

Good advice here already. I was like you when I first got in the pool. I was hanging on to the edge after 50 meters, dizzy, gasping for air and wondering how in the WORLD I would ever be able to swim for an hour straight. Just keep going; your time in the water will increase FAST. I can hardly believe how hard it was for me only 4 months ago. Now they have to kick me out of the pool for cleaning.

I did get a coach too which helps a lot on efficiency. But they can't swim for you.

2013-10-30 7:30 PM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs

This one is probably our best beginner swim program.  6 months total.  Has lots of discussion and drills.

Learn to Swim - Month 1


2013-10-31 9:34 AM
in reply to: el penguino

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Subject: RE: Beginner swim training programs
I was in your boat about a year ago. I couldn't swim much more than 25 yards without taking on a gallon of water. Get a coach. Any coach will be better than following a training plan when you don't really know how to swim.

Here is what I did. I went to my local YMCA. They usually have several instructors that are inexpensive. I found one that sounded interesting. I bought 2 months worth of sessions which were once a week for half an hour. I would swim another 2 days a week trying to do what the instructor recommended. After that I joined a swim stroke technique class at the Y which was held every Saturday for 2 hours and lasted about 6 weeks. I would try to get 2 other sessions a week in during that time. At that point I was ready to join the YMCA's Masters swim class. This is where I made huge improvements. I've been in this class for about 6 months now and I can't to see how much better I'll be after another year of this.

Swimming is very different than running or biking. You can't fake your way into it with more work. I'd recommend getting a personal swim coach as soon as possible. Then get into a good Masters swim class. Try not to get frustrated, just keep plugging away and you'll get there.
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