What we have in common is that we love swimming. That is why, starting today, we want to try and satisfy your curiosity about swimming by offering you a series of tips each week that you can study more carefully, tell other people about or just try out on yourself.
We will begin by looking at the importance of planning.
You have probably wondered countless times why you struggle to come into form or why you never manage to hit your targets, despite all your hard work in training. The answer might be right there before your very eyes: you are not training properly.
In professional swimming the organising of training sessions is called planning. It is a well-known fact that “not planning” means planning to fail.
Whether you are an “amateur”, masters swimmer or competitive athlete, you must ask yourself two key questions before beginning your training,
1. WHAT is my goal?
2. HOW can I achieve it?
If you are an amateur swimmer and are only interested in keeping fit, try and set a short-term goal: I want to swim 20 lengths in less than 12 minutes, I want to swim 8×25 butterfly effortlessly, etc…
In any case, remember the most important advice: vary your training!
– Vary each training session and plan your entire week, attempting to incorporate various different exercises serving different purposes (improving your stroke, increasing your speed…).
– Vary the intensity of your exercises, alternating speed work (with longer recovery periods, mainly over 25 metres) with aerobic work (with shorter recovery periods and performed over distances of 100 metres upwards).
– Vary your training methods. Do both leg work (possibly using fins) and arm work (why not try out hand paddles?) and do not forget to devote time to improving your swimming technique.
If, on the other hand, you are a masters or competitive swimmer the best approach to a new season is to act like a “beginner”: forget about what you did last season and ask yourself what you can do to improve. The keys to a successful training plan are experimentation and enthusiasm.
Having set your goal, begin drawing up a plan with your trainer. Devise a plan based on what you already know, work together and be proactive. Do not be afraid to experiment. Work out your plan as if you were a “shrimp”: choose your target race and then, working backwards, pick out some “trial” races and decide how you plan to train to achieve your target.
Bear in mind your other commitments (work or education) remembering that planning must be done in stages, so do not rush matters. Work out your plan “step-by-step”, day by day, week by week. Note down everything that comes to mind, it will come in useful later.
Finally, remember some simple advice:
1. Act like a sponge: ask questions, observe carefully and try things out. Copying is the best way of learning.
2. Have fun: swimming is enjoyable and boredom kills any enjoyment. Incorporate some fun exercises in your training using equipment from the swimming club (balls, float-weighted rings) or simply try out some new exercises.
3. Take notes about everything: times, sensations, problems or ideas. It might all be useful in the future.
This is just the beginning of our adventure together. Come back and visit us, we have lots more to tell you and get you to try out.