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shyguy
October 25th, 2011, 09:43 PM
Hey guys! I'm a skinny, unathletic 28yo that just started swimming. I swam on my own for a couple months and just joined a masters team (w/ coach) a couple weeks ago. I'm mainly doing this for fitness right now, but I would like to try and improve as much as I can. I'm very slow - around 2mins/100m in my attempts at "fast" sets :eek:. Doing anything more than 2:20/100 for any length of time feels like I'm killing myself.

I guess I'm wondering what reasonable goals would be in 1 month, 3 month, 1 year for an average person in my position. Is it reasonable to expect that I can achieve halfway reasonable times? I worry that I might be one of those people that just has a really low aerobic ceiling or something.

Also, how often should I be practicing? I've been swimming 3 times a week (an hour a practice right now, around 2000m). Should I increase this soon or wait? If so, how soon?

swimslick
October 26th, 2011, 02:28 PM
Sounds like a conversation you should be having with your new coach! There are so many variables so it would be hard to answer those questions without knowing more. For example, are your strokes technically sound? You'll find that if you can technically improve your strokes, you'll swim more efficiently, faster, and with less of a feeling of killing yourself :)

As a noob who just wants to improve fitness, some reasonable goals might be to swim 3x a week for the first month or two, 4x a week for the 3rd month on, making sure to stretch and do dryland 2x a week, etc. Or if you can't get in more practices, then do more yardage/meters per practice. Don't worry about times just yet. Just improve your aerobic capacity and get fit! As you do this you'll be better able to answer your own questions :) I would definitely set a goal of making sure you are executing proper technique so your strokes are efficient as they can be, and it will help ensure that you don't develop any injuries.

robertsrobson
October 27th, 2011, 10:38 AM
At 2 mins / 100 it is a given that you could make big improvements to your technique and swim faster on that alone.

It's worth investing in some 1-2-1 coaching or go to a specific technique classs if you can, and any chance to see yourself on video will be of benefit.

orca1946
October 27th, 2011, 02:34 PM
Good for you in wanting to improve! Ask the coach for an idea of a time table to improve, they will know what to do with a series of drills & workouts.
You might also add a gym workout 1 - 3 times a week. Keep us posted.

ande
October 27th, 2011, 04:24 PM
you're training for fitness right now.
you want to improve as much as YOU can.
your current time for the 100 free is 2:00
you wonder what reasonable goals would be in 1 month, 3 month, 1 year
Is it reasonable to expect that I can achieve halfway reasonable times?
You worry that you might be one of those people that just has a really low aerobic ceiling.
you asked "how often should I be practicing?"
you're currently swimming 3 times a week (1 hour / practice & 2k).
you asked "Should I increase this soon or wait? If so, how soon?"

Hey NOOB,

you want to improve as much as YOU can.
define this more, improve what?
a 50, a 100? a 200? a 500?
what you can repeat 10 x 100 on with 10 sec rest

your current time is for the 100 free is 2 minutes
you've got lots of low hanging fruit
Technique is the biggest opportunity for you
the best way to improve your technique is get one on one technique lessons from someone who knows their stuff and teaches well
have her identify your most important things to correct,
you just need a few, hopefully she'll get in the pool and watch you under water.

LIKE:

Improve your push offs
STREAMLINE skinny, push off hard, glide far then begin your kick and start swimming at the right moments

Improve your SPLITTING
which is the effort you use to do a particular swim, many swimmers especially beginners, try too hard and use too much effort in the first 1/4 or half of a swim which makes their last half to 3/4ths hurt worse and their over all time is slower.


Identify where you are:
have your coach or a friend time you for a
25, 50, & 100 free go as fast as you can
rest 3 minutes between your 25 & 50, and
7 minutes between your 50 & 100

ALSO improve your kick
have someone time you for a fast 25 and 50 kick
work on kicking correctly and faster

have your coach or friend video you swimming freestyle (on an Iphone)
1) towards and away swimming easy
2) towards and away swimming fast
3) from the side easy
4) from the side fast
watch it and youtube it

you wonder what reasonable goals would be for 1 month, 3 month, 1 year
Don't worry about times, set process goals instead of results goals,
Let your results be whatever they'll be
Process goals are things like:
swim 5 - 6 x / wk,
lift weights 2 or 3 x / wk
test your 25, 50, 100, & 200 free once a week
increase your yardage, time per work out
swim in 1 meet
get 1 on 1 technique lessons once every week or 2


Is it reasonable to expect that I can achieve halfway reasonable times? depends, this is totally subjective, what are halfway reasonable times?
keep it fun, focus on the process, if you improve your technique, train harder, further and faster, your times will be faster.

You worry that you might be one of those people who has a really low aerobic ceiling.
your aerobic capicity is the result of the training you've done over your life and recently, the more you do, the more it will improve
train 4, 5, or 6 times a week
swim further each practice, you're at 2k right now, build up to 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 or even 5.0 per practice,
add on or build up in stages
you'll get used to it and soon you do things you've never done before.
Your body adapts to the stresses it undergoes.
You can handle more than you think you can.

to test sets
like 10 x 100 fr on 10 sec rest, swim smooth and steady at 80 - 85% effort

how often should I be practicing?
you're currently swimming 3 times a week, for an hour, doing around 2k).
if you REALLY want to improve as much as YOU can.
you need to do more

you asked: "Should I increase this soon or wait? If so, how soon?" Begin NOW, if you REALLY want to improve as much as YOU can.
if it doesn't matter put it off.

shyguy
October 27th, 2011, 11:52 PM
Thanks so much for all the responses! As for the technique, my coach has identified several things to work on - most often head position, and breathing technique. She has also said that I dont have much of a kick, which makes sense, as I feel like I hold back some on kicking in order to keep from being worn out. We havent talked much about the specifics of kicking, though she has had me do kick drills, some with fins (which happen to turn my legs into jelly after a few laps).

I hadnt even thought of weight training, but I guess it would make a lot of sense given my lack of body muscle. Ive been trying to put on weight, but with no real plan of how to do it.

I know there is supposed to be video as a part of our program, Ill have to look into that more.

I guess the main reason I was wondering about the times was because of how suprised I was at how slow I actually was compared to times I see on here. It's hard to imagine that technique improvements could shave so MUCH time given how much effort I had to put in for that lousy 2 min 100 but given what everyone said here I guess it must be true. Ande asked WHAT I wanted to improve in. I guess Im not sure yet - I havent swam enough to really knkw what my strengths and weaknesses are.

Ill ask the coach about increasing workouts per week; we certainly have lots of times to choose from.