View Full Version : Short Distance/Intervals vs. Long Distance/intervals

February 7th, 2004, 09:02 PM
Hey all. My first 4 days back in the water have been pretty good so far. It's gonna be awhile before I'm back to doing the 2000 - 3000 yard workouts that I was used to in high school, but I'll get there slowly but surely.

Since I'm very out of shape, I can't go very long distances without having to stop for rest, and if I do go as far as I can (about 100 - 150 yards at a time is my maximum right now) I have to rest for quite awhile. I have ben doing workouts of about 700 yards total so far, and while I was swimming today, I got into a debate with myself, and figured I'd ask for some advice here.

As a former competitive swimmer, who has been out of the water for 7 - 8 years, I am very out of shape. As I get back into swimming, would it be better for me to do sets that are shorter distances with shorter rest intervals (ie 25's & 50's on :10 - :20 secs rest), or longer distances with longer rest intervals (ie. 75's & 100's on :30 - :45 secs rest)??

I'm still at a point where if I swim a 100, I have to rest for quite awhile (almost a minute) before I can do another. So I wonder if I would be better off to do shorter distances with less rest for the time being, until my stamina builds up, or should I do the 100's and just rest alot?

Thanks in advance!

February 8th, 2004, 09:27 AM
I'd do both to give yourself some variety. You might also want to mix in some backstroke, or some breastroke kick on your back to be able to breathe a bit more on a long swim.

Where you are at in training is trying to build some distance base. So the overall goal is low intensity, long swimming. Of course low intensity, and long swimming are both relative to where you are!

Slowly bring the total distance you are doing each week up, and periodically try and see how far you can go without stopping. You will vary a lot in your training, so if you feel bad, take an easy day. You will have a breakthrough soon, don't worry.

Swim fast,

February 8th, 2004, 10:55 AM
You can build an endurance base with sets of 50's on short rest (5-10 sec). Choose a pace and an interval that allow you to cmplete a set of 20 50"s. Don't swim too fast at the beginning of the set.

February 8th, 2004, 11:55 AM
I'm a lot older than you and had been away from swimming for about 30 years, so my return was pretty slow. When I started back I was in poor shape too, to say the least. I brought myself from about 300 meters to 800 meters then stopped making progress. At that point I decided I need some professional advice and sought out a coach (no USMS team in my area). This is how my coach increased my endurance in private coaching sessions. She started me with a warm up of 800 meters, any stroke with very min rest, if any. The point was to keep moving. Flip turns when appropriate. So you might have seen me swim free for a couple of laps, flip, and swim breast for a couple more laps, turn and swim back for a few more. Over the course of many months the warm up was increased in distance and with more restrictions such as swim 500 free, swim 250 breast, swim 250 back, no open turns. The increase was very slow and gradual The next part of the workouts was drills to work on technique and they increased slowly over the course of time also, but with adequate rest so I could concentrate on proper form. The last part of the workouts was the dreaded 'speed play' as she called it. Short and long distances swam on short rests. I don't know how she determined I was ready to step up the intensity of the workouts but in one month this summer she doubled the distance I could swim. The funny thing was, I never realized what she was doing until one day she said, that was 3,000 care to go for 4?

February 10th, 2004, 07:33 PM
I don't try to do that much with 10 seconds rest. I'm going to turn 47 and some of the workouts I seen on these boards like doing fly at 1:30 interval. The best workout time for me is 1:39 and when I tired in fly and swim moderately slow its around 1:55 or so. The same goes for breaststroke. The best I did in workout was a time trail after a 200 yard warm up at the begining of the workout is 1:36. So, I wouldn't be able to make 1:35. The only stroke I can do repeats under 1:35 in workouts is freestyle. So, I develop workouts that fit me not younger swimmers or more elite swimmers in my age group. I did for example 3 100 free's at 1:50 and 2 and 2:00 and 2 100 breaststrokes at 2:15 and one at 2:30 and 2 100 flys at 2:30.