The basics of swimming training
How swimming can improve your fitness
Key swimming training techniques need to be implemented to achieve swimming success, including swimming specificity, individualisation, progression and avoiding overloading. Here's our guide to getting the most out of your swim training.
The four key areas that everyone needs to understand before starting a swim training program are:
The stresses that are applied to the body in training must be the same as those experienced in your chosen sport. In other words, if you’re planning to really get into swimming and only have a limited amount of time to train, then you must spend the time on swimming and not on other sports like running.
If you’re planning to use swimming as part of a general fitness program this principle is nothing for you to worry about. If you are going to focus on swimming only, then it’s something you should be very aware of.
This is a crucial principle; the fundamental fact that everyone is different. Everyone responds to training in a different way. If you are swimming with a friend and doing exactly the same amount of training, don’t be concerned if one of you gets fitter quicker than the other; this is what individualisationis all about.
It might be that one of you is having some pressure at work or difficulties at home, but wherever it is, it’s surprising what can affect your training. Some days your training can go really well and the next day, even though it was exactly the same length swim, it can be a nightmare. This is individualisation.
This is all about the need to gradually increase the workload that you put your body through. It is essential to combine swim training and rest, whilst at the same time increasing the stress that the body is put through. This so-called ‘stress’ is a combination of the frequency, duration and intensity of the workout.
Progression is all about small increments. It is not a case of doing a 20 length swim one day and a 50 length swim a couple of days later. You should only progress by around 5 tp 10 per cent at a time. The safest approach is to increase your weekly mileage by no more than 5 per cent.
Overtraining is a very common problem and comes about when you don’t get enough rest during your training program. This should not be confused with overload, which is the planned exposure to an increased workload and the right amount of rest between each swim. Without the correct amount of rest you get overtraining. With the correct amount of increased training and the right rest, you get overload. Overload is essential if your swimming is to improve. You do not want to get the reverse effect, overtraining.
Once you've mastered the basics, you may fancy taking part in a charity swim event so check out our charity swim listings.