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krushed
February 27th, 2011, 09:33 PM
Hi everyone,

I'm looking for ideas for near/medium/long term goals to set for myself.

I'm 28 and got back into swimming about 5 months ago. Previously I swam for a club team when I was 12. I swim by myself and get in to the pool 4x a week and run 2-3x a week (on off days). A typical workout for me is 3x500 freestyle and then a couple hundred in kicking.

I would like to get a lot faster and swim a lot farther. Swimming as fast as I can, I manage a 34 second 50. I swim a 500 in ~11 min. I can breathe bilaterally and do flip turns in my freestyle sets (it took me a few months to get those into my workouts because I didn't have the cardiovascular system to handle both for a long time).

What are some milestones that you've set for yourself? What skills/times should a beginner be able to accomplish? How about an intermediate swimmer?

Thanks,
Nick

orca1946
February 27th, 2011, 10:30 PM
Those are all good starts. Have you checked into a local masters team?

try I M sets to improve in all strokes.

MIX UP MORE 50 - 100'S, NOT JUST 500 YD SETS.

Bobinator
February 27th, 2011, 10:39 PM
There is a great section of workouts in the forum, check it out!
You can scale back the number of reps and intervals to whatever you need but still stay with the general idea of the workout. You could also visit the Blog area of this site. Most swimmers post their daily workouts in their blogs. You can find simple and easy workouts (like mine) or borrow from USMS National Champions who post on a regular basis.
Also check out Ande's blog and postings; he has several threads on this forum that give wonderful information on almost any swim topic you could think of.
Have fun!

Rykno
February 28th, 2011, 03:09 AM
What are some milestones that you've set for yourself? What skills/times should a beginner be able to accomplish? How about an intermediate swimmer?

milestones are good, but try to have shortteam as well as long term.

when I got back in the pool after a 10-11 yr break I made some goals that made it easier to get back in the pool.
swim 2x/week
swim10x100m swimming the same time with little rest.

after a few months I made new goals
swim3x/week
swim 10x100 start 1:45
that summer i swam my first 3km OW with a goal to swim under 45 and swam it 45:13, I was happy but more determined to improve

new goals after that summer
swim 3x/week min 12,000m total
10x100 st 1:40
3km under 40:00 wound up swimming 38:02

following year
4x/week 13,500m/week
10x100 st 1:35
3km under 37:30, and wound up swimming 36:40

the following year I got hurt so I just wanted to maintain my previous years status, my 3km time was 40:21 dissappointing ,but online with the way I trained that year.

after 4 yrs back in the pool and feeling healthy my goals for this year look like
swim 4x/week --> 15,000m
10x100 st 1:25
3km under 37:00 again

srcoyote
February 28th, 2011, 09:27 AM
I agree with the others on techniques, but if you'd like a bit of a benchmark:

If you can sprint a 50 in :34, you should be able to work your way into a 500 in 7:30 at a cruising pace.

Swimosaur
February 28th, 2011, 10:54 AM
Oops.

Swimosaur
February 28th, 2011, 11:04 AM
Hi everyone ... I'm looking for ideas for near/medium/long term goals to set for myself ... I swim a 500 in ~11 min ... What are some milestones that you've set for yourself? What skills/times should a beginner be able to accomplish? How about an intermediate swimmer?

Near. When I first started swimming again, after 33 years out of the pool, one of my first goals was to swim a 1650 without stopping. Why? ... just because. It took a couple of months to get there, but I did. For you a 1650 would take a little over 30 minutes. If you can swim 30 minutes without stopping, you are in pretty good shape!

Another goal might be stroke efficiency, or its close surrogate, stroke count. How many strokes do you take per length? Count the number of times your right hand enters the water and multiply by 2. If it's more than about 18 (some might say fewer, some might say more), then work on improving your body position and lengthening your stroke. With better efficiency, you can swim farther, easier, and faster.

Medium. For me, the idea of entering a meet was a big motivator. Consider joining USMS, and finding a meet, maybe six months out. Maybe you want to show off your excellent endurance by swimming a 500 free. Or maybe you just want to get your feet wet and swim a 50. I like meets. They are loads of fun and keep me out of trouble!

Don't worry about times. No matter what your times are, the goals are to get fitter and healthier and more skillful. Staying in the water will do that. Getting discouraged over clock times & quitting won't. Don't worry too much about faster -- faster will take care of itself!

Long. Stay fit & healthy! Keep it fun! There are lots of skills to develop and mountains to climb. Maybe you'd like to swim ALL freestyle distances in competition at least once. Maybe you'd like to learn backstroke too! Last year I set a goal to swim a 400 IM in competition and it's turned into one of my better events. This year I resolved to swim a 200 fly, which I did, finishing legally and with my dignity largely intact. Mission accomplished! I did not worry about the time.

It is fun to go to the same meet one year and then again the next year, and either try to go faster, or swim more difficult events. Sooner or later USMS nationals will come to your area and you'll get to see & meet some really great swimmers.

Hope that helps!

stillwater
February 28th, 2011, 11:23 AM
Break 30 seconds in the 50, and one minute in the 100 (Yards) Pick your stroke.

nkfrench
February 28th, 2011, 02:03 PM
I'll advise replacing one of those 500 repeat swims with a set of 5 x 100 giving yourself 15-20 seconds rest between 100's at first.

Then figure out a fixed send-off time (eg: 5 x 100y @ 2:00) that you can maintain; then bring down that send-off interval to 1:50, 1:45, 1:40, and 1:30 as you get faster and your swim muscles get conditioned. This will help you learn pacing as well as let you get better feedback on what technique helps you swim faster. If you are holding an interval that doesn't allow much rest, you will learn how to finesse and swim economically so you can make ALL the intervals without blowing up at the beginning of the set.

Switch it up with sets of 10 x 50y at, say, 1:00.

I find swimming sets of 100's odd swims IM, even swims free ("I Am Free!") to be great overall conditioning and more entertaining to swim. Allow extra rest time after the IMs.

When I was going :34 for a 50 free, I was about 1:10 for 100 free, 2:32 for 200 free, and 6:37 for 500 free. [YMMV - sprinting is not my strength.]

The advice to work on stroke count is very good. Also, swim technique has changed a lot since you were 12 years old. Watch some good swimmers and see how there is so much more emphasis on the underwater kicking off the walls (everything except breaststroke), how the butterfly is flatter, how the breaststroke body position has changed, how the starts don't pike as much.

[Updated]
10 x 100 sets would be even better than 5 x 100 sets, as previous posts suggest.

Allen Stark
February 28th, 2011, 02:50 PM
If you want technique advice post a video.

lnlds
February 28th, 2011, 03:04 PM
The advice to work on stroke count is very good. Also, swim technique has changed a lot since you were 12 years old. Watch some good swimmers and see how there is so much more emphasis on the underwater kicking off the walls (everything except breaststroke), how the butterfly is flatter, how the breaststroke body position has changed, how the starts don't pike as much.

Another thing to make note of is the old way that you may have learned to swim freestyle is with your head up and the water level at your forehead, where as now the convention is to have your head in line with your body.

Karl_S
February 28th, 2011, 04:11 PM
I'll advise replacing one of those 500 repeat swims with a set of 5 x 100 giving yourself 15-20 seconds rest between 100's at first.

Then figure out a fixed send-off time (eg: 5 x 100y @ 2:00) that you can maintain; then bring down that send-off interval to 1:50, 1:45, 1:40, and 1:30 as you get faster and your swim muscles get conditioned. This will help you learn pacing as well as let you get better feedback on what technique helps you swim faster. If you are holding an interval that doesn't allow much rest, you will learn how to finesse and swim economically so you can make ALL the intervals without blowing up at the beginning of the set.

Switch it up with sets of 10 x 50y at, say, 1:00. ...
[Updated]
10 x 100 sets would be even better than 5 x 100 sets, as previous posts suggest.
I endorse Nancy's advise. Short of getting a coach to work on your stroke, I can think of nothing better to improve your swimming than interval training. It is also a great way to set goals and track progress, as in, once you can complete 10x100 on the 2:00 send-off, the next goal is to complete 10x100 on the 1:50 send-off. I'm frequently working to increase the number of repeats I can do on a given interval, or decrease the interval time for a given number of repeats. I think Ande calls this "shifting the training grid" in his SFF tips.

couldbebetterfly
February 28th, 2011, 11:15 PM
Break 30 seconds in the 50, and one minute in the 100 (Yards) Pick your stroke.

Just so you don't get disheartened, I've been at this Masters swimming lark for 10+ years on & off, have never gone under 1 minute for 100 yards free, and went sub 30 yesterday on a 50 for the very 1st time!

Lots of good advice here though, keep swimming, keep enjoying it :)

krushed
February 28th, 2011, 11:42 PM
It's awesome to hear about where everyone started from and how you got to where you are. For me, as a beginner, it keeps me motivated.

Some days I get in the pool and swim and feel really beat up and slow. Those days are hard because I feel like I'm not getting any better. Then other days, I get in and I feel like I can keep going. I think the general trend is upwards though. I'm just getting bored with doing 500's.

I think I'm going to set some interval goals. I will try 10x100's. I've found that I can't sustain a high pace for a very long time. Today I did 1x500 then 5x50's just for fun and mustered about a :54 but felt really winded/tired by the end of the set. I think my cardio system is still lacking. I wish I could improve it faster.

I think I will shoot for 10x100 with 20 sec rest to figure out a conservative send off time and work with that.

On filming:
1. Any suggestions for filming swimming underwater?
2. What angles are most useful for critique and if the person stays stationary, will they be able to film enough of the stroke?
3. Should I film when I'm fresh (best form) or when I'm midway through my workout and my form is getting sloppy?

You guys are amazing.

PS: couldbebetterfly, congrats on the sub 30 50. That's fantastic.

Karl_S
March 1st, 2011, 08:42 AM
went sub 30 yesterday on a 50 for the very 1st time!
Good going!
How did that 500 go?

KevinS
March 1st, 2011, 10:06 AM
I am very much a beginner at this, it has been it has been 15 years since I last swam competitively - which breaks down to about 3 or 4 pounds a year extra weight I gained during that time - So I have my work cut out for me.

Short Term
Already started dropping weight, and can do broken sets of 1,500 or more yards. I would like to get comfortable doing a good 3,000 yard set, and a continuous 1,000.

Mid
Compete and establish some baseline times, hopefully somewhat respectable times - although I have pretty realistic expectations in all 50's, 100's, 200 IM, 200 Free/back, and 500. (I am looking to do this in about a year - hopefully a little less).

Long
Keep at it, and hopefully start dropping some time, and maybe get to a level where I can be somewhat competitive.

couldbebetterfly
March 1st, 2011, 01:55 PM
How did that 500 go?

Painful! I'll drop into the mid-distance lane later and give you a full run down :)

notsofast
March 1st, 2011, 04:33 PM
Here's a link to a site for triathletes:
http://www.swimsmooth.com/training.html
It gives some solid guidance on how to estimate what kind of workout to start from - and what times to shoot for, based on how you swim now.

Kenji
March 2nd, 2011, 09:35 PM
If you want technique advice post a video.

Would you want this taken from the deck or under water?