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Thread: Warming up for a race

  1. #1
    Active Member
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    Oct 2012
    Brooklyn, NY

    Warming up for a race

    I recently read an article on the importance of warming up. I have started beginning my workout by doing a 5 minute swim at an easy pace (usually about 16 or 18 laps), then a brief rest, then a 300 moderate tempo warmup. I then follow this with 4x50 on the kickboard. That means I am doing about half a mile of warmups. I then get into my workout, which is usually intervals of 100s, 50s, and 25s, swum mostly at anywhere from 80 to 100% of maximum effort.

    My question...on the day of the race, there is usually one hour before the meet starts. How much swimming should I be doing? Should I do my full warm-up, so all the kinks and lactic acid are worked out of my muscles? And what about between races...Let's say I have a 50 freestyle and then a 50 breast a half hour later. What should I be doing in between?

  2. #2
    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Aug 2009
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    Re: Warming up for a race

    I notice all the fast swimmers warming up and cooling for every event.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2013
    Springfield IL

    Re: Warming up for a race

    I wondered this same thing. Had my first meet in march. I swam about 8-10 laps, then did 3 starts and 25's.

    Before each race I got in the dive well/warm up area and did some short laps so probably 100 before the race.

    I don't think I did enough... but I was worried about getting tired.

  4. #4
    Green Mountain Boy rxleakem's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    Southwestern Vermont
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    Re: Warming up for a race

    Of course, everyone is individual. I do around 1200 yards for a warmup, then usually a 100 before the race and 200 after, regardless of distance for the event. So I end up swimming over a mile on race day, before the racing! The only exception to this is the 200 fly - that, IMHO, deserves no warmup!
    Last edited by rxleakem; March 21st, 2013 at 08:56 PM.

  5. #5
    Age Grouper in Training jaadams1's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Wenatchee, WA
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    Re: Warming up for a race

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    I notice all the fast swimmers warming up and cooling for every event.
    I'm random. I usually go into an event dry. Unless I just finished an event prior, I don't like to go dripping to the blocks. Not sure why. I'll cool down after a race, and use that as my warmup for the next one as well. No big deal to me though, but I'm different.
    "Don't be upset by the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do." - K.A. Benthin

    Inland NW Top Ten & Records Chair, and Web-Dude

  6. #6
    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Aug 2002

    Re: Warming up for a race

    I warmup with about 1000 about 2 hours before my first swim.I warmup until I don't feel stiff,swim one 25 at race pace,then cool down until I don't feel stiff.About 30 min before my event I start moving around,getting loose and warming up on the pool deck.I want to be well warmed up before I swim,but I also want to be dry(standing wet on the blocks seems to not be part of warming up to me.YMMV)Back when men wore the fullbody techsuits, getting one on was practically enough warm up.After the race I do a 300 cooldown. Unless you sprint too much it is pretty hard to warmup too much.I am sure more people have swum slow from not enough warmup than for too much.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson

  7. #7
    Very Active Member habu987's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    the TARDIS

    Re: Warming up for a race

    I do a pre-meet warmup during the open pool warmup before the meet kicks off and, depending on how long I have between events, will sometimes warm up before an event. I always cool down after an event...unless it's the last event of a long/late meet, then I just get the heck outta the pool!

    The length of my pre-meet warmup depends on what I'm swimming that day and how I'm feeling in the water. I always do at least an 800, but if I'm doing longer events (the 200s and the 400 IM, for example), I'll stretch that out. Also, if I'm feeling cruddy in the water, I'll stretch that warmup out until I start to feel decent. At a meet in October, I felt like complete crud in the water during warmup, so I ended up doing a 2100.

    If I have more than 30-40 minutes before my first event, I'll hop back in to do some stroke specific warmup. For example, if my first event is the 100 fly, and it's an hour after warmup, I'll hop in and do a 300-400, with some stretch out free, fly drills, and 12.5 fly sprints. If my events are sprints, especially the 50s, I'll hop in for a 100-400. If the event is a longer event, like the 400 IM, I'll hop in for a 400-600. If I have less than 30 minutes or so between events, I won't do an additional warmup before heading to the blocks. I do generally head to the blocks about 10 minutes before my race to stretch and shake my muscles out.

    After all my events, I cooldown using the general rule of thumb that I will cooldown for at least twice the distance I swam, or at least a 300 for the sprints. I don't do anything longer than the 400 IM (and that only 2-3 times a season), so I'm not putting a ton of time in the warmdown pool.

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