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knelson
January 22nd, 2006, 11:42 PM
After doing a spinning (i.e. stationary bike) class yesterday I got to wondering if there would be a benefit to training for swimming in a similar manner. So, for those who aren't familiar with spinning classes, they involve cycling continuously for an hour or whatever, varying tempo and resistance, but always keeping the pedals moving, even in the rest segments. The instructor rides along with the class, facing them, and explains what to do. For example, "ok, now we'll do 30 seconds sprint, followed by 20 seconds rest, repeated five times." You get the idea.

Obviously most competitve swimmers don't do their workouts quite like this. Yes, we vary the intensity while swimming, but the true rest is done standing at the wall. The logistics to a continuous workout in swimming would be more difficult because everyone's heads would be underwater, but if the technical glitches could be worked out would it be better than the current method?

So do you think this would work in swimming? It seems to me it might be especially useful in masters swimming where many of us are under time constraints and need to get our workouts in quickly. Honestly, I don't know if it would be better, worse or the same as the current swimming training philosophy, but it seems like it's at least a good discussion topic :)

Lastly, yeah I know there's already a poll thread asking whether we swim continuously or do intervals: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1944,
but this is different. I'm proposing continuous swimming AND intervals.

Betsy
January 23rd, 2006, 10:38 AM
Interesting question.
Some coaches use "active recovery" and have the swimmers swim easy or drill between sets instead of resting at the wall.
The main difference in a spinning class and a swimming workout is the pace clock. Without using the pace clock, you can't be sure how fast you are going. If you swim continuously, you tend to swimmer slower. The only way to see the clock and calculate your time is to stop. On a bike, you can check a readout of your speed or your rpm.
I also think what you are training for makes a difference. Learning and practicing your race pace are essential to racing. Even marathon runners do intervals as part of their training.
As I have thought this through as I wrote the reply, my personal opinion is that if you are just conditioning, it would work. If you are serious about competition, it wouldn't work.

knelson
January 23rd, 2006, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by Betsy
The only way to see the clock and calculate your time is to stop. On a bike, you can check a readout of your speed or your rpm.

I disagree with this. I use the pace clock constantly while I'm swimming, not just when I stop. Also, the bikes at the gym I go to have no type of readout, so I can't use that. You have to rely on your body to tell you how hard you're working. I think you could easily do the same thing swimming.

Yeah, the use of "active rest" was one of the things that made me think this would work in swimming. I definitely feel better after a very hard swim if I can do some easy swimming rather than standing at the wall, huffing and puffing.

aquageek
January 23rd, 2006, 11:05 AM
It's definitely an interesting idea. However, I'd have trouble remembering a whole hour workout and keeping time without stopping to look at the clock. I guess the coach could use a grease pen on a board and lower it in the water at the walls to tell you the time or what's next.

fatboy
January 23rd, 2006, 11:14 AM
Would the speedplay (fartlek) training method be similar to the bike spinning class? Something like swim 3 x 1000 on your interval - alternate 200 easy, 200 moderate?

I think this is mostly used at the beginning of a season when building aerobic base.

knelson
January 23rd, 2006, 11:24 AM
Yes, I'd say it's identical to fartlek or "speed play" training just taken to another level since you'd never stop. It wouldn't be 3 x 1000, it would be a 3000.

I agree trying to remember the entire workout wouldn't work. Ideally I think the coach would need to be heard underwater using an underwater speaker or headsets for each swimmer.

scyfreestyler
January 23rd, 2006, 12:08 PM
Not trying to be a smartass....

Give it a shot Kirk. Try this system for 30 days and report back to us letting us know what sort of results you obtained. It would be best if 3-4 people tried this system to get a better idea of how it works from person to person. I would volunteer but my workouts are far too brief lately to qualify me for this task.

Hopefully by the time you guys figure out if this routine will be beneficial, I will be ready to use it!:)

knelson
January 23rd, 2006, 12:17 PM
My training schedule now doesn't really allow it. I swim with a team and couldn't just break off and do something different on my own. The only way I could do it would be to swim lap swim at a public pool and I'm not a big fan of those! Someone who already does most of their swimming without a coach would be a prime candidate for this.

scyfreestyler
January 23rd, 2006, 12:20 PM
I hear ya. Well, my meet this weekend has inspired me to push for greater things so maybe I will add this to my list of things to do. If/when I do, I will let you know.

LindsayNB
January 24th, 2006, 01:43 PM
Our coach sometimes has us do long kick sets where he uses a whistle to indicate changes in speed/intensity. It seems you could do the same thing with a continuous freestyle set. Lapping and passing might be a slight issue and would be more of an issue if you mixed strokes.

BillS
January 24th, 2006, 02:57 PM
Assuming you swim in the deep end, one sort of variation on this theme is to switch to vertical kicking any time there's a break. You can hear the next set that way, and keep the heart rate up if that's your goal.

I'll do it sometimes after warmup when the coach is making the morning announcements, but I'm usually quite content to rest in the gutter once the main sets start.

jean sterling
January 24th, 2006, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
Our coach sometimes has us do long kick sets where he uses a whistle to indicate changes in speed/intensity.

We do those sometimes, and they are killers!

dorothyrde
January 26th, 2006, 03:16 PM
I tried a short version of this today. I did some interval stuff for about 1000 yards, and then since I had limited time on lunch, did the next 1000 continuous, just playing with the intensity.

I did 200 back moderate pace, 100 IM sprint, 200 breast moderate pace, 100 IM sprint, 200 free moderate, 100 IM sprint, 100 IM drill at an easy pace. This took about 20 minutes(I know, I am slow), but I got such a pleasant swimmers high from it, I will do it again. The sprints were really hard, but doable at that short a time, so I will try varying the sprint distances and other speedsand try to work up to a longer period of time. I did get really thirsty though.

Thanks for the idea.

knelson
January 26th, 2006, 04:59 PM
I will allow a couple stops for proper hydration. I guess if you really don't want to stop you could kick on your back and drink from your water bottle. Report back on whether you can do this without drowning, please. :)

dorothyrde
January 26th, 2006, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by knelson
I will allow a couple stops for proper hydration. I guess if you really don't want to stop you could kick on your back and drink from your water bottle. Report back on whether you can do this without drowning, please. :)

I cannot even run and drink water at the same time....you want me to swim and drink water, oh my!

blainesapprentice
January 30th, 2007, 10:21 AM
I realize this is an older thread...but I just stumbled upon and thought I would mention 2 things.

First, back in December, I was doing a one hour continuous swim every day while working on some endurance for a marathon swim. Generally, it was just pacing back and forth at a moderate pace, but as my hour had dwindled down to the last 10minutes I would do a 100spint and then get right back into a moderate pace warmdown. I actually felt sooo good on those 100sprint frees that I did, because I was so warm and lose from 50minutes of swimming...but in any event. I feel like I was building a lot of arm strength by swimming an hour straight if that is rational to say.

Secondly, I will give this a try after my college season ends, in 3weeks:-D I will do this kinda training leading up to the masters meet I will be swimming at on the first weekend in march.

swimr4life
January 30th, 2007, 02:22 PM
Our coach sometimes has us do long kick sets where he uses a whistle to indicate changes in speed/intensity. It seems you could do the same thing with a continuous freestyle set. Lapping and passing might be a slight issue and would be more of an issue if you mixed strokes.

I do this with my swimmers. I like it because it builds both speed and endurance. The kids like it too. I think its fun to change things up every once and a while. It's also good to do with vertical kicking and (gasp) fins!

quicksilver
January 30th, 2007, 10:40 PM
It's an interesting way to train. When on my own ...I will often go more or less continuous. There's really no one to chat with ...so this helps.

A typical workout might be...

500 warm up of mixed strokes and a few laps of kicking...then right into 10 x 50 drill on :45.

I then go right into the main set (all backstroke) ...
(1) 200 fast on a 2:40 interval.
(2) 100's strong pace on a 1:20 interval
(4) easy paced 50's on :45

This set gets repeated five times for a total of 3000 yards. Total workout is 4,000 yds not including warm down.

It's a great way to keep things interesting...and to be able to switch gears during your swim. Basically it's similar to fartlek swimming. But the pace clock is the guide. You can build a solid aerobic base while using the 50's to keep the focus on good form.

globuggie
January 31st, 2007, 04:49 PM
I've tried it a few times. I'm lacking in endurance, so it was rather difficult for me. It's something I could see doing on my own every week or so, but not with a group, unless it's just a long set of one stroke changing intensity at certain points.

chefster
September 23rd, 2008, 11:25 AM
Thats the method I use all summer in the lakes. I will swimm easy for about 5 minutes then start to pick it up , when i feel the burn I slow down and do long stretch catch ups for a bout a minute then start to turn it back up...will swim 40 minutes to an hour like this....you definetly feel it by the end.

norascats
September 23rd, 2008, 06:33 PM
I can think ofother ways to rest without standing at the wall. Tread water while checking the clock or getting instructions. Bobbing helps to regulate the breathing and heartbeat. Long slow bobs are very restful.
I like the idea of continuous swimming.
I always feel like resting at the wall is cheating.

geochuck
September 23rd, 2008, 06:55 PM
Continuous swimming is not the way to become a fast swimmer.

Interval swimming is better.