Tag Archives: training plan

April Training Plan

So, I’ve done a training plan for April. This is also the plan that will take me up to the 2swim4life event on May bank holiday weekend.

I estimate that I’ll do about 45kms in April if I stick to the plan, which feels at least 15kms light if I’m honest. Just like any other event though I have to manage life stuff as well and right now that all comes before swimming.

Here’s the plan:

April training plan

April training plan

The trick now is to stick to it and make it effective.

The swimming will be a mixture of distance sessions (I’ll aim to do a kilometre every 22 minutes to give me short rests in between them) which I’ll do in the mornings, then still some drills and technique work in the evening sessions. I’ll need a mixture of both on the day itself, so I need to practice both.

As it gets closer I must admit I’m getting a bit more nervous about 2swim4life!

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Training plans

I’ve finally got round to creating some swimming training plans, so I thought I’d share them with you.

A couple of weeks ago I devised a weekly plan – when to train and what exercise I’m doing. (Of course since then I haven’t been able to stick to it all, but that’s a whole other story). However, what I hadn’t done is define what I was going to do in the pool each time I went.

Normally I tend to alternate between doing speed endurance sessions, or just getting in the pool and swimming until it is time to get out. However, I’m aware that it would be a good idea to work on my technique a bit (especially my lack of rotation on my right side; and how my left hand lifts up as I stretch it out). So I wanted to create some sessions that would still be fun, would still feel like a ‘proper’ work out and would be manageable on my own.

I’ve split my sessions into four main areas:

– Warm-up / Cool down – as the names suggest, just gentle swimming, but I’ve added in some breaststroke and the use of the pull buoy and kickboard to mix it up a bit.

– Technical – drills suggested to me by Trish, one of the Swimtrek guides.

– Speed – or rather in my case, it’s about speed endurance. It’s not about the maximum speed I can swim, it’s about being able to hold a good speed for as long as possible.

– Swim – just some time in each session to just get some lengths in.

I had six different technical drills suggested to me, so I’ve created six different programmes, each programme working on four of the drills – in that way I get to mix it up and don’t get too bored of them. Then for the other areas I had two options for each, so just tossed a coin to see which one I’d do with that particular technical session.Once I planned the sessions I printed them out and laminated each of them (I had a bit of help cutting them out and laminating them from my son). Each time I go to the pool I’ll take one of these cards at random. In this way I’m hoping that I’ve got some sessions that keep me both interested and guessing.

Six [hopefully] interesting traing plans.

Six [hopefully] interesting training plans.

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Training Plan

Ever since I got back from Mallorca I’ve struggled to get back into my training. There are quite a few reasons for this, not least still suffering from sunburn after I got back. But a mixture of workload, personal life and very probably a subconscious feeling that I had done a lot of training while I was away and I wouldn’t need to worry for a while.

Well, a while is up and if I don’t start training again soon then I will need to worry. So I’ve finally got round to setting out a training plan for myself.

Training Plan

If you can’t read it, it says:

– Monday – Morning swim – session
– Tuesday – Gym
– Wednesday – Lake swim / Gym
– Thursday – nothing
– Friday – Morning swim – session
– Saturday – Gym & / or lunch swim
– Sunday – Lake swim

If I can maintain this plan for the next few weeks it should make a real difference and I’m sure I’ll really be able to capitalise on the work I did in Mallorca.  The only problem with this as a plan is that many Tuesdays and Wednesdays will have to missed due to work commitments (I often travel down to meetings in London on those days), while Saturdays may have to take a back seat to family stuff. Ah well, was ever thus. At least I now have a plan.

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Monday’s swim set

I’m going to start to write up a few of the sets that I do. There are two main reasons for this, the first is that it will act as a reminder for me if I need to devise sets again, the second is that it will provide benchmarks that I can test myself against.

Monday mornings are often quite busy in the pool as the four lanes are reduced to three as the swimming club takes up one lane. So it’s not always possible to lots of short sets (you can lose your “spot” in the lane and so are swimming into the toes of slower swimmers, or having faster swimmers do the same to you). So this week I decided to do some longer, timed sets.

– 1km, non-stop – 18 mins 30

– 1km, 5x200m – 17 mins 50

– 1km, non-stop – 19 mins 29

I enjoyed that as a session and now have a new goal to beat 19 minutes, then 18, then 19 again for the above session.

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Finding my threshold

I wrote the other day about starting to use threshold training as a way to improve my swimming times, well I finally had chance to find out what my threshold is as defined by Swim Smooth.

What you need to do is swim a 400m and 200m time trial (ie as fast as possible) and then enter those times into the form and it works out your threshold training pace. I did a 7:20 400m and a 3:33 200m and my threshold pace was defined as 1:54 / 100m.

– It’s important to note that this isn’t meant to be your fastest pace, but a pace you can keep to consistently over a longer training session.

I then did my first session using that threshold pace on Tuesday lunchtime. The goal was to swim 20 x 100m at 1:54 with just a 15sec gap between each set. What was interesting was how hard it was to go slow enough to keep to that time at the start (my first 3 or 4 sets were 1:50 or below), but then how hard it was to go fast enough by the end (the 16th or 17th set was a 1:58 because I wasn’t concentrating).

Apart from that though, I like the concept of it and will keep this in my regular training plan.

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A tweak

After reading a bit more about training at your threshold and thinking about it further it makes a lot of sense to me. So I’m going to make a tweak to my big training session.

Sprinters – Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The main thing is that I’m going to drop all the 50m sets – it doesn’t matter how good I get at swimming 50m it won’t help me much if I want to swim 10.5miles. In place of the 14 sets of 50m I’m going to add an additional 3 sets of 200m (so a net loss of 100m). Much better to add longer sets that worry about my sprinting.

The second thing I’m going to do is relax on the times slightly. The point of threshold training is to constantly train at (or just below) your top speed. Instead of sprinting and training the body to cope with short sharp bursts you train at a hard pace and train the body to cope with maintaining that pace. At first it may seem that the threshold pace is too slow, but as you reach the end of the session it soon becomes a tough pace to maintain.

I don’t want to be a sprinter, I want to be able to swim long distances quicker – so this all makes sense to me. Therefore the new plan (starting tomorrow) will look like this:

– 100m sets – time 1min 50, with 15 secs rest between each, 1-min break between sets: 2-3-4-3-2
– 200m sets – time 3mins 40, with 15 secs rest between each, 1-min break between sets: 2-3-3-2
Total 3,400

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Ouch

Well, I did it. The times soon went by the wayside, but I kept to the same break between sets (apart from when I had to dodge between the slow swimmers in the fast lane) and I completed it all.

Including warm-up and cool down a total of 3,700m before work (even before breakfast).

I’m pleased with that – I’m not sure I’ll be able to walk later, but I’m pleased with that.

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New workout

I read this workout on The Holistic Triathlete and I think I’m going to add it to my training plan once I’m ready to add another tough swim.

Obviously I still don’t understand all the warm up terminology, but the main set is quite simple:

20 x 100 threshold pace*. This should be a pace that is hard to hold over the course of the 20 x 100.
Swim off a fixed interval, giving you 10-15 seconds rest, e.g.:
If you hold 1:10s per 100, your interval should be 1:20/25
If you hold 2:00 per 100, your interval should be 2:10/15

I’m at the 2:00 end of the spectrum for 100m (actually probably about 1:45 for this exercise, which makes it even easier – 20 x 100 at 1:45, setting off every 2 minutes). It feels like a monster, but it’s these kind of sets that will allow me to go quicker over 10 miles…

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New Training Plan

Right then, if I’m going to do Windermere again next year and if going to break 7 hours I need to have a serious training plan. Training up for the swim last year was all about just getting the miles in. I didn’t care how long it took me, all I wanted to do was finish. And with very little swimming experience I knew I just had to swim as much as possible to get my body ready for it.

This time it’s different for a number of reasons:

1 – I’ve done it before, so I know what to expect
2 – I have longer to train (I only decided in April last time)
3 – I have a target to aim for

So, to get a different outcome, I need a different approach. This time I’m going to set training targets for myself and train hard to achieve them. For October my plan will be to get four sessions in a week – 2 swimming and 2 gym. However, I will merge one of the swimming and gym sessions to make it only three trips to the gym – I like doing this as it also teaches my body how to swim when it is tired. It’s hard to get a 6-mile training swim in in the pool, but this way I can make it feel as if I’m doing mile 6.

Those 3 / 4 sessions will look like this:

Monday morning- swimming
– 50m sets – time 50seconds, go every minute, 1-min break between sets: 2-3-4-3-2
– 100m sets – time 1min 45, go every 2 minutes, 1-min break between sets: 2-3-4-3-2
– 200m sets – time 3mins 35, go every 4 minutes, 1-min break between sets: 2-3-2
Total 3,500

Thursday evening – gym
– Bike: 20 minutes, Random setting, target 11kms, increase level if achieved (currently level 13)
– Weights: various arm and shoulder exercises
– Treadmill: c. 15 minutes, increasing to run up to 2.8kms

Saturday morning – gym & swim
– Gym: as above
– Swim: 1.6kms, at a leisurely pace (c. 35 mins) to include some breaststroke

I know it’s not much to start with, but it’s good to get a plan together. I also need to be careful to create a realistic plan that is achievable given my other commitments. What I don’t want to do is start to miss sessions after only a couple of weeks and then give up on it. That said, in November I plan to add another hard swim session into the mix, probably on Friday mornings.

Wish me luck.

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