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Thread: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

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    When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Started swimming again this year in an effort to get in better shape. Haven't done it since college (I'm 43), and that was just for exercise. Did it as a kid, now my kids also swim. At any rate, I'm just doing laps right now. Usually 6 sets of 500, occasionally only 5 and occasionally 7 or 8. ~5 days a week when life doesn't get in the way (so about 15,000 yards per week). About 25% breast, 25% back, and 50% free. I have occasionally thrown some fly in there, but I just can't do it without it fatiguing me to the point where the remainder of the set is very suboptimal.

    At any rate, I am wondering at what point I should start looking to transition to doing workouts, rather than just laps. There is no Masters program that will work for me, so I'd just be following the posted workouts from the forums. Should I just jump right in? Should I start from "week 1," or just hit it right in the middle? Also, should I just be looking mostly at the general workouts, of mixing it up with the IM workouts to get more strokes, or start with general and slowly work my way towards the IM stuff?

    Anything y'all need to know to help guide me the right way?

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    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    When I came back to swimming 12 years ago, I did the same thing. I mainly swam laps - sets of 200's with easy 25's between. Then I decided to make the leap to workouts and used the workouts on this forum. Which workouts you use should depend on your goals. Are you trying to work your way back into meet swimming? Sprints? Distance? Open water?

    I swim open water so I began using some of the open water workouts. However, I plateaued doing that so I started working in some sprint workouts and saw improvement.

    My recommendation is to jump right in with workouts, but not necessarily all of them in order. If that is your preference, do so, but feel free to modify the workout based on your needs and how you feel. Sometimes, I take what is largely a free workout and turn it into more IM for the variety. I swim enough straight free training for open water. Other times, I'll decide I want to modify distance or rep. I skip around the forums and the dates based on my schedule. About once every two weeks, I even throw in one of the New/Expectant Mother Workouts. They are a nice change of pace and offer some great stroke work.

    I wouldn't worry about trying to follow a single workout thread in order until your goals are defined and your now needing to shave time.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    A few times in my decades of swimming there have been instances wherein I had to "return" to swimming after a layoff of many weeks, or even months, due to an injury/surgery, and recovery, or...a military deployment. What works for me...to "get back into it"...when I first start going back to the pool I first just do long, slow yardage like you've been doing up to this point. At some point I will begin to break up some of the longer portions into segments/intervals...doing the same yardage, same pace...just broken into smaller segments, and on a timed interval. I feel like that helps get me back into the mentality of doing intervals and sets. After a couple of sessions like that I begin to gradually increase intensity on the smaller segments, then on the longer ones, until I feel comfortable that I've conditioned myself back into "a workout" shape.

    Good luck.

    Dan

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Just jump in at whatever point is your preference. Everything is adjustable anyway (reps, times, distances). As soon as you get comfortable start making the intervals faster and keep progressing. Continue working hard but most importantly, have fun.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by srcoyote View Post
    Which workouts you use should depend on your goals. Are you trying to work your way back into meet swimming? Sprints? Distance? Open water?
    No set goals for any events that are swimming related - I've blown past my weight loss goal, but still have a little work to do to get my standing heart rate down to the arbitrary number I've picked. One of my kids is a AAAA swimmer in a few events, so that takes up a whole lot of the free time I would have. So the notion of doing any competitions myself is not really feasible at present. In the future, perhaps, but not right now.

    But I generally do better when I have something a bit more concrete to try to accomplish. For example, I started out making 300 yard sets, and only about 1500 yards. So I've worked my way up too 500 yard sets and up to 4000 yards per workout. So my stamina has improved significantly, I'd now like to try to improve my strength a bit, so I think some of the shorter/faster sets with fins/paddles will probably help with that. But I WOULD like to get back to being able to do Butterfly, which was "my" stroke as a kid. I am inclined to go with just the basic training for now?

    Thanks everyone for the quick feedback.

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    Very Active Member srcoyote's Avatar
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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    But I WOULD like to get back to being able to do Butterfly, which was "my" stroke as a kid.
    I wish you well on this. I was a flyer in my youth. I still enjoy it, but decreased core flexibility at 47 limits my stamina in the stroke. I'm good for a 100 or a 400 IM here and there. I think my 200 days are over.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    There is no question you are more than ready for interval workouts. Pick some from the forum or blog posts that appeal. I think you'll see the benefits quickly.

    If you feel uncomfortable with a full interval workout, transition from your current workouts by adding shorter and faster sets at your own pace like 5-10x50 or 5x100 and eliminating some of the sets you are currently swimming.

    You'll need a pace clock or watch. Pick swim intervals that you know you can make to start with or swim the reps starting out on a rest interval until you figure out what swim interval you can make an ratchet down. Add more intervals, stroke work, and drill as you progress.

    Enjoy.
    Some guys they just give up living and start dying little by little, piece by piece. Some guys come home from work and wash up and go racin’ in the street. (Bruce Springsteen, 1978)

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    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Congrats on deciding to get back into swimming! I would only recommend plunging directly into workouts if you can say with confidence that you have a perfect stroke technique - and this is pretty difficult to do especially if you've been out of the pool for awhile. I would suggest finding a coach who can analyze your stroke technique and your specific needs. You might have, for example, a weaker side of the body, or need to adjust the timing of your stroke, etc. Knowing your technical needs will allow you to have more efficient workouts since you will be able to adjust them such that you are both developing strength and fine-tuning your technique,which is a very important consideration. Making sure your technique is sound will also help you avoid injuries as your build up strength and conditioning.

    And since you are going to be a solo swimmer, which can be challenging, I would recommend Elaine K's article with six suggestions for the solo swimmer: http://www.swimspire.com/six-suggestions-solo-swimmer/


    Elaine also started a forum thread on this topic which you might find interesting: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...highlight=solo


    All the best of luck to you on your new swimming journey!

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimspire View Post
    Congrats on deciding to get back into swimming! I would only recommend plunging directly into workouts if you can say with confidence that you have a perfect stroke technique - and this is pretty difficult to do especially if you've been out of the pool for awhile. I would suggest finding a coach who can analyze your stroke technique and your specific needs. You might have, for example, a weaker side of the body, or need to adjust the timing of your stroke, etc. Knowing your technical needs will allow you to have more efficient workouts since you will be able to adjust them such that you are both developing strength and fine-tuning your technique,which is a very important consideration. Making sure your technique is sound will also help you avoid injuries as your build up strength and conditioning.

    And since you are going to be a solo swimmer, which can be challenging, I would recommend Elaine K's article with six suggestions for the solo swimmer: http://www.swimspire.com/six-suggestions-solo-swimmer/


    Elaine also started a forum thread on this topic which you might find interesting: http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...highlight=solo


    All the best of luck to you on your new swimming journey!

    Thanks for the shout-out, Julia!
    +1 on your advice to 67. May I add to it? One of the reasons to work on perfect stroke technique is to avoid repetitive stress injuries. If you plunge into workouts and ramp up your swimming without proper stroke technique, you can end up with all sorts of physical problems you would be best to avoid.

    At the very least, have somebody shoot video of your stroke, upload it to YouTube, and post the link here on the forums. Your fellow Forumites would be happy to provide stroke technique feedback.
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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Wow, Elaine, that's a great article. I never thought about volunteering but it's something I'll definitely consider.

    For me, just getting in the pool these days is a workout, so I envy those of you here on the boards who consider just doing a slow 1500 a warm up.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Thanks for feedback......i had actually seen the prior thread about solo swimmers and did peruse it a little.

    As an engineer, I'm pretty analytical, and have always enjoyed listening to the kids' coaches when they talked technique. Am pretty good friends with a retired one, as well. Have gotten input from one on shoulder pain, which led to a big change in freestyle. They have also told me what they worked on during private lessons afterwards.

    Not that that would be any substitute for observation. That may have to wait until this Summer, though, just because of the difficulty in finding a pool I can use where one of them can observe me. I have thought about talking to one of them in particular who might be able to have some time that aligns with me. He has taken my best swimmer, and improved her worst stroke from "slower than B" to AA in trying to get her IM where it should be. So I certainly have quality coaches I can talk to.

    What I do now is try to focus on the feedback my body gives me. I "look" for the way my muscles feel during the strokes. My free is pretty good (and I can tell my how chaffed my shoulders are from my whiskers!), but my breast and back are inconsistent. I focus on my legs in breast, I lose my pull, and vice versa. I focus on my pull in back, I lose my reach and vice versa (though that is coming together, as I have gone from 18-19 strokes per lap to 14-15). So that is also one of the things I hope workouts do, is let me focus on one thing at a time to make it habit.

    I'm rambling. Thanks again for all.the feedback. The Garmin (pace clock substitute) should be here early next week, so I'll be starting to transition then.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeniseMW View Post
    Wow, Elaine, that's a great article. I never thought about volunteering but it's something I'll definitely consider.

    For me, just getting in the pool these days is a workout, so I envy those of you here on the boards who consider just doing a slow 1500 a warm up.
    Thanks, Denise!
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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Well, THAT was humbling!

    So observations from trying out a small workout.
    - Not going to do another one of these the morning after 67Queen and I have a date night - lap swimming after a couple glasses of wine, NP. This was a little more challenging.
    - UDK's......you could call these things "ankle breakers" for all I am concerned.
    - I have a newfound respect for sprinters. 250 yards of any stroke (well.....except fly) is easier than a 25 yard sprint.
    - I think that the CIA could replace water boarding with backstroke sprints and get the same result.
    - Just threw away my neti-pot, as I won't be needing it if I keep doing backstroke sprints
    - I had forgotten how obnoxious some groups of people, collectively, are. Water aerobics people start taking over teh pool 45 minutes before their 30 minute long class starts
    - Lane ropes are removed 15 minutes before lap swimming ends (see above)

    At any rate, trying to inject a little humor into the morning. Actually felt good to do a little fly for short durations. But holy smokes, it took it out of me! Will definitely try to get an earlier start next time, so as not to run afoul of the water aerobics people. There are triathlon people in teh pool until 8:00, the first water aerobics person is usually there at 8:45, and they start filing in around 9:15. Class starts at 10:00. By 9:30, they move your wattle bottle and stuff so they can put their stuff at the end of the lane.......which of course means you have to move it just to get out of the pool.........but I will say that fins, paddles, deck bag, a printed workout, etc. served to be a bit more of a deterrent. One good thing about sprints, though! When the obnoxious water aerobics people see you pounding the water hard, they are less likely to walk across your lane right in the middle of your workout.

    Maybe my water aerobics gripes should go in Elaine's solo swimmer rant thread. It has been a while since I either swam on the same day as they had a class, or I wasn't done by 9:15. Speaking of Elaine and that thread, just curious. What part of GA? Grew up a bit south of Atlanta and swam for a team that was in Forest Park, but is now in Jonesboro - Tara Tarpons. There were 3 of us that made the 45 minute trek up to Forest Park a few times a week.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    67King What's with those folks in water aerobics class? Half of them don't even work out that hard (yes, I've taken a class and know it can be difficult). What annoys me the most, though, are the water walkers, the people who jump in with their shower caps and noodles and weights and take up the entire lane. Occasionally one will agree to share, but why does each one need a lane to him/herself? Go figure.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    - I have a newfound respect for sprinters. 250 yards of any stroke (well.....except fly) is easier than a 25 yard sprint.
    - I think that the CIA could replace water boarding with backstroke sprints and get the same result.
    - Just threw away my neti-pot, as I won't be needing it if I keep doing backstroke sprints
    - I had forgotten how obnoxious some groups of people, collectively, are. Water aerobics people start taking over teh pool 45 minutes before their 30 minute long class starts
    - Lane ropes are removed 15 minutes before lap swimming ends (see above)
    Stay with us on the Forums, 67, because I have missed your kind of humor! We used to have That Guy making us laugh with just about every post, but he hasn't posted on here in a long time.

    I loved your comments about backstroke! The only way I can handle backstroke sprints is by using a nose clip, so I don't waterboard myself! I trained myself to swim backstroke without the clip otherwise, because I race the 400 IM and can't stand using nose clips for the other strokes.

    Here on the Forums, that obnoxious group known as water aerobics people are not-so-affectionately referred to as "noodlers". The are a pain in the
    , aren't they? May I add another miserable noodler trait to your list of frustrations? The noodlers here at Sun City Peachtree where I live complain about the water temperature INCESSANTLY. Mind you, the pool is 84 degrees, and if they would just move while they're in the water, perhaps they wouldn't be "sooo coooold!"

    You asked about my location. Sun City Peachtree is located in the northern part of Griffin, actually in northern Spalding County. I am VERY familiar with the Tara Tarpons, because I have trained off and on at the Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center since moving to Georgia in 2009. My former part-time coach and training partner (he's too busy for private coaching now) is the coach of the S.M.A.R.T. swim team, the other kids swim team that trains at the pool.

    Was Tracy Collett one of your Forest Park Tarpon teammates?

    One last comment...
    I love your effective use of Smilies, too. Those little buggers make me smile!
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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post
    Stay with us on the Forums, 67, because I have missed your kind of humor!

    You asked about my location. Sun City Peachtree is located in the northern part of Griffin, actually in northern Spalding County. I am VERY familiar with the Tara Tarpons, because I have trained off and on at the Steve Lundquist Aquatic Center since moving to Georgia in 2009. My former part-time coach and training partner (he's too busy for private coaching now) is the coach of the S.M.A.R.T. swim team, the other kids swim team that trains at the pool.

    Was Tracy Collett one of your Forest Park Tarpon teammates?

    One last comment...
    I love your effective use of Smilies, too. Those little buggers make me smile!
    Thanks for the compliments! Hey, if we can't make fun of ourselves, who can?

    I was at Tara about the time Steve Lundquist was setting the WR at that 84 Olympics......but the only folks I recall from the team, other than the coach, Bob Bugg (who I believe lives in Griffin, now), were my fellow Griffinites.......yep, I'm from there, originally. Grew up on the south side, though, between College and Maple St's. Not far from the city pool where the Summer team (Gators) swam in my day (may still?). I think I may have swum there from 83-85 or so? I didn't last long.....I really never knew how to push myself to practice hard until I was older doing different sports. But hey, I did set myself up nicely to get the "Most Improved" award. Lots easier to drop 5 seconds when you are 10 seconds off the pace than when you are at the front, you know!?

    I'm like you on the pool temperature. Way too hot. This pool clearly is designed with them in mind. Kept probably at 85 degrees or so, the stairs go down into a lane, making it a pretty useless lane for anything other than freestyle (there is about 3' of usable space beside it). There are no T's at the ends of the lanes.......so that was another thing I couldn't figure out, trying to judge my distance to the wall doing flip turns!!!! The middle lane has a water jet thing right where you push off.

    The other pool I use, when I can train while my kids are at practice, is much better. A good 5 degrees cooler, everyone I've seen there is a lap swimmer. T's on the ends, recessed water jets, the stairs in a "L" section. Hopefully this Summer I'll be able to do all of my swimming there.

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    Thanks for the compliments! Hey, if we can't make fun of ourselves, who can?

    I was at Tara about the time Steve Lundquist was setting the WR at that 84 Olympics......but the only folks I recall from the team, other than the coach, Bob Bugg (who I believe lives in Griffin, now), were my fellow Griffinites.......yep, I'm from there, originally. Grew up on the south side, though, between College and Maple St's. Not far from the city pool where the Summer team (Gators) swam in my day (may still?). I think I may have swum there from 83-85 or so? I didn't last long.....I really never knew how to push myself to practice hard until I was older doing different sports. But hey, I did set myself up nicely to get the "Most Improved" award. Lots easier to drop 5 seconds when you are 10 seconds off the pace than when you are at the front, you know!?

    I'm like you on the pool temperature. Way too hot. This pool clearly is designed with them in mind. Kept probably at 85 degrees or so, the stairs go down into a lane, making it a pretty useless lane for anything other than freestyle (there is about 3' of usable space beside it). There are no T's at the ends of the lanes.......so that was another thing I couldn't figure out, trying to judge my distance to the wall doing flip turns!!!! The middle lane has a water jet thing right where you push off.

    The other pool I use, when I can train while my kids are at practice, is much better. A good 5 degrees cooler, everyone I've seen there is a lap swimmer. T's on the ends, recessed water jets, the stairs in a "L" section. Hopefully this Summer I'll be able to do all of my swimming there.

    You're originally from Griffin? Small world! We're San Diego transplants (by way of San Antonio; long story...). I pass through your old 'hood every Monday when I go to Griffin United Methodist Church to volunteer for the artistic director of Griffin Choral Arts, a community chorus.

    Yep, I know Bob Bugg, and I have trained at the pool where he trains (and helped design). I affectionately call it the "Buggatorium":
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The 25m pool is located on the property of his friends on Maddox Rd. in Griffin. Click on the photo and read what the banner on the wall says. He's a great coach, too. We did a trade-out a few years back; he coached me in exchange for me shooting stroke videos for him. He now coaches war vets; good on him!

    As for the Gators, they're still slithering around. Someday, if it ever gets built, they will have a new community pool to train in at Wyomia Tyus Park. It was part of the approved TSPLOST, but it will be awhile...

    Hey, there's another USMS swimmer in your area who is on my team, the Georgia Masters Killer Whales. He's on the Forums as Swimosaur. You two should meet; he's a great guy!

    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post

    Small world!.................artistic director of Griffin Choral Arts, a community chorus.
    I bet you know my mother.......Margie King?

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post

    Yep, I know Bob Bugg, and I have trained at the pool where he trains (and helped design). I affectionately call it the "Buggatorium":
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The 25m pool is located on the property of his friends on Maddox Rd. in Griffin. Click on the photo and read what the banner on the wall says. He's a great coach, too. We did a trade-out a few years back; he coached me in exchange for me shooting stroke videos for him. He now coaches war vets; good on him!

    As for the Gators, they're still slithering around. Someday, if it ever gets built, they will have a new community pool to train in at Wyomia Tyus Park. It was part of the approved TSPLOST, but it will be awhile...

    Hey, there's another USMS swimmer in your area who is on my team, the Georgia Masters Killer Whales. He's on the Forums as Swimosaur. You two should meet; he's a great guy!

    Now that I've picked my jaw up off the floor about you being involved in something that my mother does (and she confirmed that she knows you well!), other stuff.

    Wow. Wow. That is amazing. I want to think he was a butterflyer in his younger days, and would have been an Olympic favorite had we not boycotted the 1980 games. I want to think he has some step daughters my age, but I haven't really kept up with a lot of that.

    Also very happy to see some investment in teh community! Oak Ridge, where my kids swim, is kind of like how Griffin at least used to be. Big community center, hige city park, all of teh sports done through the city. And as such, a city pool (indoor in our case). Sadly, so many things have gone away from community run activities to letting private entities, mostly churches, build gyms and other things, and operate sports leagues. My kids' middle school had 8 times as many relay teams at that meet than did the one in Oak Ridge.....yet Oak Ridge has the pool (7 lane, 25 yard). Part of it is UT, as well. And that team is a bit of a leviathan, but I won't comment further on that, as I have issues with small teams like ours having to de facto recruit against the state university for youth swimmers. We've been to some very, very nice YMCA facilities, many built with corporate sponsorship. But UT has 3 50M pools, so there really isn't much drive with our local Y's to do that.

    I remember stumbling across another guy from Knoxville, and wondered if he were on the team at UT (TN Aquatics). Seems when I looked at his profile, his name was Jason or Judd or something wiht a J, don't recall. I know a few folks there. Some parents of former swimming teammates, and I've met some guys at the pool where I swim (a Gold's Gym) who weren't able to make the practices there at all times. At any rate, as I said, I was pretty humbled this morning. Gotta keep chugging to get into enough shape to actually do the workouts. And get a nose clip. There's a pretty strong back stoker who is neighbors with my sister in the Denver burbs. She just moved back there from California. I think she uses them. Real tall girl. Probably a fat chance, but it is a small world, right? You might have heard of her, too. I think her name is Misty or something?

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    Re: When/how to transition from "lap" swimming to workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    I bet you know my mother.......Margie King?
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    Oh, you mean that lady on the bottom right of this photo I shot of the choir? THAT'S YOUR MOM??? OF COURSE I KNOW HER! As you know, she serves on the B.O.D. and is in the choir. I worked for GCA for five years, and then I gave notice a year ago and just volunteer for Steve Mulder. (Long story about not wanting to work for the board; HOWEVER, it had NOTHING to do with your mom. She is one of my GCA favorites!!!)
    http://ElaineiaKsTravels.wordpress.com

    ~ Believing in your dreams can be far more rewarding than living by your limitations ~Karla Peterson

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