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Thread: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

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    What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    I know this is a very newbie question, and there is ample info in swim books/sites about this, but I'd love to hear from REAL SWIMMERS like you, thank you very much.

    What works for you?

    Lately I've been doing a series of 200m to 25m swims, usually totalling 800m, as a warmup.

    Example: 2x200m + 2x100m + 2x50m + 4x25m, starting very easy, ending at "fast" pace.

    In the future I hope to incorporate drills into the warmup, but I don't have a clue yet.

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skuj View Post
    I know this is a very newbie question, and there is ample info in swim books/sites about this, but I'd love to hear from REAL SWIMMERS like you, thank you very much.

    What works for you?

    Lately I've been doing a series of 200m to 25m swims, usually totalling 800m, as a warmup.

    Example: 2x200m + 2x100m + 2x50m + 4x25m, starting very easy, ending at "fast" pace.

    In the future I hope to incorporate drills into the warmup, but I don't have a clue yet.
    I use practice to determine what kinds of warm-ups make me feel best (READ: ready to race). I then incorporate those warm-ups into my meet warm-up. At a meet that goes several days, I can definitely say that my opening easy stretch out swim of 400-500 yards begins to grow on each new day of the meet, so at a 3-4 day meet I am usually doing like 7-800 yards easy swimming before I do some fine tuning stuff (a mix of kicking, drilling, variable sprint, and then some pace if the upcoming race calls for it).

    However I also come from a high mileage background so my meet warm-ups would probably come across as "over swimming" to some.

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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    I do the same warm up that I did in HS/college. 500 FR- usually pretty pokey, some drill or just moving around. 400 IM SKSD and then either 4x50s build or 8x25's build, maybe some fast 12.5's to practice breakouts and underwater work and 2-3 starts.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    I was doing a bit longer warmup with some aerobic until my last meet when I realized I am a sprinter now and probably don't need aerobic. So I basically did prior to every session:
    200 fr
    200 IM k
    8x50 k/dr dr/sw :50
    4x25 variable speed :30
    50 EZ
    2 starts
    100 EZ

    Then before every race I'd do 200 fr/bk x50, then 100-150 with sprint drills (heads-up free, back with dolphin kick, UDK work, breast progressions, etc depending on the race).
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    In-season, I go 1500, which is the warmup I like to do anyday I'm training solo:
    • 1 x 400: IM, kick-drill
    • 4 x 100: free descend to target 400/500 race pace, interval set about 20 seconds above that pace
      • If the pool is too crowded for 100s, I'll go 8 x 50s, descending in 4s

    • 4 x 100 or 8 x 50: IM kick
    • 12 x 25 or 6 x 50
      • If 25s, then I go odds easy, evens build to fast, targeting the strokes I'm going to race
      • If 50s, I'll got #1 and #6 easy. #2 to #5 build to fast stroke


    At a taper meet, I will go 1,000 as
    • 1 x 400: IM, kick-drill
    • 6 x 50: free, descend in 3s
    • 8 x 25: odds easy, evens build to fast stroke
    • 1 x 50: BLAST FAST kick
    • 1 x 50: cruise


    Of course, this is ideal. I have pretty much been able to do this at almost all local/regional meets as there was enough space. At Nationals, you just do what you can, but even at Indy, I was able to do the above by strategically timing when/where I got into warmup

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    Very Active Member Mark Usher's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Our "default" warm-up at practice is:
    200 swim
    200 kick
    200 pull
    8x50 drill/swim
    I'm a slow warmer upper, and will start out at an easy 1:50-2:00 100 pace until I get loose and get my HR and breathing going. I'll work up to doing the 50's on 1:00 interval.

    Our coach will do some creative warm ups occasionally to keep it from getting too boring or mundane.

    At meets I try to do a longer warm up an hour before my first race, cycling through some long swims, kicking/drills, starts & turns at race speed and then some 25 builds. Maybe 800-1000yds. I'll wrap up to stay warm and then hop back in about 15 minutes before, mostly to get my HR up and to get a "feel" for the water again.
    After a race I'll warm down for an easy 200-400 yds.
    Last edited by Mark Usher; March 18th, 2019 at 12:08 PM.

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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    I appreciate these responses, thanks. I am devouring all. There is so much to learn!!

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    WOW! I must be the really lazy one! For meets 3-400 free and 100 of all 4 strokes .

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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Skuj,

    There are several reasons for warm-up.

    Getting the body ready to race: As the others have replied, it is an individual preference although there are several "realms" to go through. The first is the "easy" swimming/kicking/pulling to get your muscles activated - 500 works pretty good. Then a harder effort set (300-400 yrds) where you are are stressing the entire body system with 80-90% effort. Next is 300 harder set where you are pushing at 90-95% effort. Some easy swimming followed by pace work and/or starts followed by a warm-down to flush out bi-products.

    Getting to know the pool: This is the part of warm-up that rarely gets mentioned and is as important as your body getting ready. Use your warm-up to get to know the walls (slippery or grippy), the targets on the bottom and ends because not all pools are the same and a missed turns is the pitts, checking out the ceiling and flags if you are doing back or IM, if you are outdoors the sun can play a role as well. And, not all lanes are the same, so try to swim a bit in the lanes you will race in (if the meet is pre-seeded).

    Equipment functionality: Making sure your goggles, cap, swim, etc. are all good. Warm-up with the same equipment you will race with. Do several starts appropriate to the strokes you will do - to make sure the cap and goggles will stay on.

    Good Luck!

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Windrath View Post
    Getting to know the pool: This is the part of warm-up that rarely gets mentioned and is as important as your body getting ready. Use your warm-up to get to know the walls (slippery or grippy), the targets on the bottom and ends because not all pools are the same and a missed turns is the pitts, checking out the ceiling and flags if you are doing back or IM, if you are outdoors the sun can play a role as well. And, not all lanes are the same, so try to swim a bit in the lanes you will race in (if the meet is pre-seeded).
    this x1000

    I try to choose the lane I am swimming in the most, or the lane I am swimming my best event in. I do this even at pools I have been swimming at for years (or been practicing in for years).

    Quote Originally Posted by orca1946 View Post
    WOW! I must be the really lazy one! For meets 3-400 free and 100 of all 4 strokes .
    I wouldn't say that. Different strokes for different folks. If someone posted that they just jump in and do a 50 freestyle, 25 smooth 25 fast and that's it, but it works for them and they swim the speed/times/way they want to swim, then who's to say they are wrong. The key thing is whatever works for YOU. That's why I added the caveat about my own warm-up. It works great for me, but maybe not for someone else, especially a drop dead sprinter.

    It's also why I use variations of warm-ups I use in practice. That's where I figure out what works, so it works there, I know it should work for me at a meet.

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    Very Active Member mjtyson's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Good ol' fashioned 1x400, 4x100, 4x50.
    --Mike Tyson (yes, my real name)

    https://blogs.marathonswimmers.org/ironmike/

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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    A few years back I arrived at a meet very late and missed the w/u completely. Concluded after that it's not a good idea to race without w/u. Yikes.

    For a lot of OW swims, with or without a wetsuit, I try to get in ahead and swim at least a few hundred yards to loosen up. But that's not always possible in OW events and one can just start the event out at a slower pace and build, if you can't get in the water ahead of the race.

    I've tried using fins for 4- 6 fast 50s in a meet w/u, to get a sense of swimming fast and liked it. But I've rarely, if ever, seen anyone else with fins on in a meet w/u. Not sure why.

    I never thought about incorporating kick drill (pwb, post above) or pull (usher, post above) in a meet w/u, but it seems like an interesting idea worth trying.

    My usual meet w/u is 300 to 400 ez sw to stretch and then some 50s desc followed by a few 25s from the middle of the pool w/turns and breakouts and finally a few starts. Enough to fee like the meet pool isn't strange a place anymore I'm an old guy and don't want to waste too many good swims in the w/u (same with practice swings in golf)

    My meet w/u is not the same as our typical master team w/u, which varies from about 1,200 to 1,400 yards, usually not straight. Typically 500 to 600 straight followed by some 50s, 100s, or 200+s, with drill and stroke mixed in. Sometimes 800 or 1200 straight with every 4th or 8th lap stroke (helps in counting).
    Last edited by Sojerz; March 19th, 2019 at 02:11 PM.
    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 Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    most meets won't let you use fins, paddles, snorkels, etc.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    most meets won't let you use fins, paddles, snorkels, etc.
    It can also depend upon when you get in the pool. If you are an early bird like me, you can often times get away with using equipment before the warm-up pool(s) become over crowded. Only equipment bans I have seen though have been for fins and paddles (which I totally understand). If you asked me which pieces I would most like to have at my disposal during a warm-up, it would be snorkel, kickboard, buoy in that order (mainly because I could always use the kickboard as a buoy in a pinch).

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    It can also depend upon when you get in the pool. If you are an early bird like me, you can often times get away with using equipment before the warm-up pool(s) become over crowded. Only equipment bans I have seen though have been for fins and paddles (which I totally understand). If you asked me which pieces I would most like to have at my disposal during a warm-up, it would be snorkel, kickboard, buoy in that order (mainly because I could always use the kickboard as a buoy in a pinch).
    There was some team at Sectionals that insisted on getting in the packed diving well pool (they were running split men's/women's pools for prelims which meant the diving well was the only warmup/down area) with fins, paddles, and snorkels. That was pretty annoying.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    There was some team at Sectionals that insisted on getting in the packed diving well pool (they were running split men's/women's pools for prelims which meant the diving well was the only warmup/down area) with fins, paddles, and snorkels. That was pretty annoying.
    Yeah that one is on the coach. Have to show respect to the rest of the competitors. At my last Sectionals (out at Jenks, OK), I warmed up each morning and afternoon and used all my equipment. Meet director came over and said "hey man, I am cool with you using your equipment right now because no one is really in the pool, but as soon as it gets crowded, can you pack up your gear?" It worked out fine each time because I was either done with the equipment portion of my warm-up or out of the water completely before things even got remotely crowded!

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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Regarding equipment at meets during warm-up:

    To JP's experience, as the 2016 Oregon USMS Nationals Head Safety Marshall, I pretty much banned equipment from warm-ups for safety and clutter reasons. There are too many people in the pool and getting in/out. All that stuff creates tripping & slipping obstacles. And, if some gets wacked by a paddle during an arm recovery, it could be bad. I had a few jerks give me a hard time, but they all followed the rules and everyone was safe.

    And, beyond that, paddles and fins can damage the touch pads if they are in place. At $1,000/pad, I would ban them if it was my pool.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    Yeah that one is on the coach. Have to show respect to the rest of the competitors. At my last Sectionals (out at Jenks, OK), I warmed up each morning and afternoon and used all my equipment. Meet director came over and said "hey man, I am cool with you using your equipment right now because no one is really in the pool, but as soon as it gets crowded, can you pack up your gear?" It worked out fine each time because I was either done with the equipment portion of my warm-up or out of the water completely before things even got remotely crowded!
    Jenks seems like it's an awesome pool. I swam at their old pool in high school that they had built originally in SCM and "converted" to SCY by building a wooden bulkhead/dock thing. So weird. Oklahoma used to have one championship meet quality pool in the aging OCCC Olympic Festival complex, now they have that Jenks pool and another very nice pool in Edmond. I'm hoping there's an SCY Sectionals there again before my aging curve starts going the wrong way :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Windrath View Post
    Regarding equipment at meets during warm-up:

    To JP's experience, as the 2016 Oregon USMS Nationals Head Safety Marshall, I pretty much banned equipment from warm-ups for safety and clutter reasons. There are too many people in the pool and getting in/out. All that stuff creates tripping & slipping obstacles. And, if some gets wacked by a paddle during an arm recovery, it could be bad. I had a few jerks give me a hard time, but they all followed the rules and everyone was safe.

    And, beyond that, paddles and fins can damage the touch pads if they are in place. At $1,000/pad, I would ban them if it was my pool.
    Masters has the added degree of difficultly in a shared warmup/down pool of having such a vast variance in speeds. You go from Matt Grevers to 4 minute per hundred 90-year-olds. At least at Sectionals (and other large national-level USA-S meets) everyone is at a minimum standard. I would not want to make that more difficult to navigate with paddles and fins flying around.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    Jenks seems like it's an awesome pool. I swam at their old pool in high school that they had built originally in SCM and "converted" to SCY by building a wooden bulkhead/dock thing. So weird. Oklahoma used to have one championship meet quality pool in the aging OCCC Olympic Festival complex, now they have that Jenks pool and another very nice pool in Edmond. I'm hoping there's an SCY Sectionals there again before my aging curve starts going the wrong way :P
    Yeah the SCM pool is the "warm-up" pool now. Word to the wise: stay the fk away from that pool if you go to a meet there (unless its LCM, in which case you are stuck using it for warm-up/warm-down). The amazing air filtration system does NOT extend to the old pool, so that place becomes like a gas chamber. By day 3, you can't breathe. Also just checked and looks like Sectionals IS at Jenks for this summer, LCM!

    It is a damn shame they tore down the OCCC facility. That place was showing its age, its just so sad no one wanted to invest the money to bring it up to snuff again.

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    Re: What is your typical warmup for a session or a race?

    I tried an 800m (16:55) + 8x25m on 1min (start with 27sec, gradually get to 21sec) tonight, and I loved it. I'd previously thought that 800m was excessive, but I need 15min+ of easy swimming to really feel right. It takes me a looooong time to warmup. I love the 25m. I adjust the pace to whatever it is I am trying to do post warmup. (Tonight it was a 41sec 50m.)
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:36.5/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:55.5/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

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