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What is a fun, long swim workout to build my endurance?

This 3,000 yard workout will target your endurance energy system and will build your race day stamina and technique. Here’s the workout: 2,000 yards continuous with at least one sighting stroke per 25 yards. Keep the pace at a sustainable and even one for the entire 2000 meters/yards. Each 100 split should be within 3-5 seconds of each other, so resist the urge to go out too hard. However, don’t take it too easy either. This will take some practice, but you should be able to define your 100 meter pace that is sustainable for the entire 2000 set. Hydrate and rest for 1-2 minutes after the 2000 yard/meter effort and then swim a 600 with hand paddles at threshold pace plus 10 seconds. The purpose of this 600 is to build muscular strength in a fatigued state. Be mindful of proper swim technique and body position as you fatigue. It is easy to drop into old bad habits when you get tired both physically and mentally. Stay fully present in this workout and fine tune proper technique in a fatigued state. This will benefit you at the end of a long race when you are fatiguing as well, as you will have practiced this already in training. Rest for 60 seconds after the 600 and take a sip of water or sport drink. Finally finish up with a 400 meter cool down broken into 4 segments (25 swim, 25 drill, 25 swim, 25 back kick).
It at all possible, do your long swim in open water (but be safe; swim with a buddy or where there are lifeguards).  Practice swimming straight and sighting.  Start off with a sprint - as if in the beginning of the race - and quickly settle into a steady swim at or slightly below your race pace.

To make this a bit more fun, do the open water swim as a Fartlek - swim several short race efforts, with one or more people. Have the others “crowd” you at the beginning of each interval, and swim “across” you during the intervals.  This give you more experience swimming in a crowd, while you are working on sighting and swimming straight.

In my training classes, I often swim ahead of my athletes and then come to a dead stop in the water. If everyone is sighting correctly, they shouldn’t crash into me!
I would start with a 100 meter warm up then follow up by doing 4x100 with a 20 second rest, then 4x200 with a 30 second rest lastly 2x400 with a 60second rest in between. It also helps to make a small purchase of a polar heart rate monitor so you will be able to pace yourself more effectively.

To build up endurance in the water use tubing and a kick board:

Kickboard: using a kickboard is the old fashion way to build up endurance and to build speed in the water.  Use a pool approximately 50 meters in length.  Keep the kickboard out in front of you with your arms fully extended. You can keep your head out of the water if you’re not comfortable; otherwise keep your head in the water.  Try to kick as hard as you can without separating your lower legs too much. Keep your ankles loose and under the water line. You want to hear a rumble from your kicking. If you hear a lot of splashing you are bending your knees too much.

Tubing: tubing can be fun and is great for endurance building.  Secure a tubing system with belt harness around your waist.  Make sure the harness is comfortable and secured before you start your swim.  When it has been properly attached, start your stoke as you normally would. When your tubing becomes taut, just relax and swim normally, make sure to breathe and extend your arms out for a complete stroke.  Switch off with the kickboard after about 10-15 minutes with the tubing.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.