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Q&A- Getting Stuck In One Gear During Training

Question- I keep getting stuck in one gear. From a training and practice standpoint, how can I organize what I do to improve my speed and avoid swimming the same speed the whole workout?

I’m going to state the obvious- if you want to go fast, you have practice swimming fast!

Makes sense, right?

Here’s how to do it.

When your goal is to improve your speed, swimming fast is all that matters.

Set up your practice sessions to accomplish that goal.

The focus is on speed and your sets should reflect that.

Keep distances REALLY short

Whatever you’ve been doing, make the reps shorter.

Think half of what you’re used to.

25s and 50s work well here.

Keep rest periods REALLY long.

Uncomfortably long.

30 seconds is a MINIMUM, and 60 seconds is better.

The added rest allows you to swim faster.

Remember that the goal is speed, so don’t be afraid to take some rest.

Keep volume REALLY small.

It doesn’t take a lot of work to create improvements.

200-300 yards/meters of fast swimming can make a BIG difference.

Too little is better than too much.

Descend speeds (i.e. 6x50 each one is faster for 1-3 and then 4-6)

This is a great way to force you to go faster.

Take some rest between repetitions and get it moving on the last repetitions.

Alternate speeds (10x50 ODD in 40 seconds EVEN in 45 seconds)

Another great way to force you to go faster.

Take some rest between repetitions and get it moving on the ODD repetitions.

Moving Forward

You only have to use these ideas when the focus is on speed.

You can perform your regular endurance work on other days.

Incorporating these ideas just once per week, or once every other week, can make a big difference.

Once you’re swimming fast, THEN you can start progressing the sets over time.

You can extend the distances slowly.

You can shorten rest periods slowly.

You can increase volume slowly.

That way you can learn to sustain your newfound speed.

Of course, improving your skills is DEFINITELY going to result in long-term improvements in speed, so make sure that is always a focus.

Hope that helps!

If you have questions about anything related to improving your swimming, shoot them my way.

1. If you’re looking for do-it-yourself solutions to improve your swimming, check out my resources Freestyle Made Simple and Addressing Adult-Onset Swimming.

2. If you want a more personalized learning experience, we can work together to analyze your stroke or develop a technical training plan.

Exit the Water…


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