Building Swimming Endurance for a Race

swimmerAfter some period of inactivity, Ben has begun swimming again a week ago. He usually goes to the pool 5 times every week and swim for about 40-60 minutes. He started from 10 laps (50m pool), and now he can do 20 laps.

The problem, however, is that he still has to interrupt himself every other lap. He decides to swim because he wants to join a race, and also to lose some unwanted weight.

What Ben needs is to build and improve his endurance in the water so he can actually swim in the race. This article presents a workout aimed at building swimming endurance for a race.

Workout structure

The swimming workout follows the following structure: warm-up, drills, focus sets, and cool-down. Warm-up requires stretching, easy and relaxed swimming, and getting comfortable in the water. The drills focus on technique and form.

Focus sets are designed to build your endurance in swimming. Cool-down exercises are similar to warm-up exercises.

If you are a beginner, you need to spend considerable time in the drills part of the workout that focuses on technique and form, before you begin to intensify your workout in endurance/long distance sets.

Remember: You don’t gain much benefit from swimming long distances unless you really have perfected the technique and form.

Workout 1

You can start the training with endurance focus of 1100 meters. For warm-up, you have 200 meters of easy swimming. For the drills, complete the following: 50 meters side kicks drill, 50 meters side-to-side freestyle, 50 meters catch-up freestyle, and 50 meters backstroke.

Your focus set is 3 x 200 meters, with a 30-second rest for each of the 3 stops. Swimming effort should be steady, but not so hard. For the cool-down, swim 2 x 50 meters, with a 15-second rest between – even lengths swim backstroke, odd lengths swim catch-up freestyle.

Once your swimming workouts progress and your endurance, as well as your form and technique improve you can now increase the distances in your focus sets.

If you want to keep things fun and enjoyable, you can play around with the focus sets, using different sets to mix things up.

Workout 2

Later on in your swimming training cycle, focus sets may look like this: The endurance focus is now 2100 meters (peak in the training cycle).

For warm-up, you have 200 meters of easy swimming. For the drills, complete the following: 200 meters swim, 50 meters side kick drill, 50 meters side-to-side freestyle, 50 meters catch-up freestyle, and 50 meters backstroke.

Your first focus set is set 1: 4-3-2-1 descending ladder: 400 meters rest (40 seconds), 300 meters rest (30 seconds), 200 meters rest (20 seconds), 100 meters.

Your second focus set is 5 x 100 meters on a time interval (for example, 2:15)/ for the cool-down, swim 200-meter easy swim, with strokes of your choice.

Respiratory training

If you really want to build your swimming endurance for an upcoming race, respiratory training might help you.

A study conducted by researchers at the University at Buffalo reveals that participants who were subjected to a resistance-breathing training protocol generally improved their respiratory muscle strength.

The research also shows that swimmers can build and improve their breathing capacity and swimming endurance through targeted respiratory training.