Author Topic: Learning to swim/improving swimming  (Read 38603 times)

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #425 on: January 24, 2019, 09:40:03 am »
If I can get from 400m arms only and feeling like I'm half dead, to 1500m and feeling good at the end of it in about 2 months, then I'd say a mile in September is well within your reach.

Same here (checking my logs) I went from nothing to >1 mile in 2 months.

My weekly swims went something like:-

150, 250, 266, 200, 500, 833, 1100, 1500, 1450, 2150

(However, I wasn't recovering from any sort of injury, just a long time away from swimming.)

Swim Serpentine is very relaxed (if you want it to be), would definitely recommend it!
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
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Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #426 on: January 24, 2019, 07:06:48 pm »
Swimming is mostly about stamina, once you have it you can keep going until you get bored. I did double my usual 1250m in the Olympic pool at the weekend and didn't feel any more tired. That said sometimes I feel as though I'm swimming like a big bag of spanners, other times a rocket-propelled dolphin on waterskis. Sadly, I always move at the speed of the former.
!nataS pihsroW

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #427 on: January 24, 2019, 07:18:42 pm »
A VERY long time ago, I thought I'd see how far I could swim. I usually mucked around after my first four lengths, though I was taking myself for a swim around three mornings a week.

So I did 28 x 33 metre lengths.

I did 54 lengths the next day, which I repeated quite frequently.

Once you can keep going, you can keep going.

This was indoors, in a heated pool.

I appreciate open air swimming is a different beastie.

I can't swim at all any more as I don't have the strength.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #428 on: January 24, 2019, 08:03:24 pm »
I don't think they do 33 m pools any longer. Other than a couple of Olympic 50m (all I can think of in London is Crystal Palace – where I go – and the Olympic Park Aquacentre), everything is 25m, which is a bit disappointing, you just get going and then have to turn around. Usually into the back of a slow person who, of course, never lets you overtake at the end. And then the murders begin.
!nataS pihsroW

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #429 on: January 24, 2019, 08:22:35 pm »
I know. The twin 33m pools at Swiss Cottage are no more. (The 'teaching' pool was 25m).
I used the 33m pool at Sheffield University as a student.

I think the Dolphin in Poole was also that length.

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #430 on: January 24, 2019, 08:57:21 pm »
Ladywell pool was 33m and really a rather lovely place to swim (and the thing that got me back into cycling – it was far enough to make walking there and back over Hilly Fields every lunchtime a bit of a drag, so I thought I'd try cycling...). Lewisham were uncommonly dedicated to its demolition though. They finally got their way when they built a new titchy pool at the other end of town.
!nataS pihsroW

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #431 on: January 25, 2019, 06:12:05 am »
What all this shows is that swimming fitness is specific to swimming and does eff all for anything else, unlike eg cycling and running to a degree.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #432 on: January 25, 2019, 12:37:01 pm »
My local pool (Putney Leisure Centre) is a 33 1/3m pool although they often have the lanes set up sideways using the diving pool bit (it's an L shaped pool) and so the lanes are 24.5m.

I appreciate open air swimming is a different beastie.

Indeed. Note that Swim Serpentine recommends, prior to the event, to be able to do either:-
* the full distance in open water
* twice the full distance in a pool non-stop

They also strongly recommend doing some open water swimming before the event, it is quite a bit different from the pool, the lack of mini-breaks at the end of each length soon add up, and you need to set your pace slightly slower to account for this. There are plenty of psychological factors to consider too (sharing the lake with fish, feet touching plants and other things, very low visibility in the water, water taste, swim biff, etc).

Also you'll be swimming in a wetsuit (or using a tow-float if not) and you don't want the event itself to be the first time getting used to that. Wiggle often have perfectly good wetsuits on sale for ~£100, Decathlon stock some too although I've no idea how good they are. Renting them isn't much cheaper if you're going to use them for a while to get used to them. Saying that, I rented one the first time I went to my local open water swimming lake and got advice from the company about which size would be best, I was then able to buy one on-line with confidence.

There are plenty of open water swimming places in the UK although they tend to only open up in May once the water temperature gets high enough (usually 12 deg C although each place may be different). I use Shepperton Lakes for my open water prep, it's also a handy 22km cycle ride away, and I can even go for a run around the lake if I really hate myself.

Reminds me, need to order a tow-float as I've booked a family holiday to Lake Annecy again this year and hope to nip off to do a longer swim each day and there are a few motor craft that use the lake so I want to be as visible as possible.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #433 on: January 25, 2019, 12:40:38 pm »
What all this shows is that swimming fitness is specific to swimming and does eff all for anything else, unlike eg cycling and running to a degree.

It does help with general cardiovascular fitness, but with cycling and running the lack of fitness will first show up in the legs until you're relatively well trained.

Swimming is still also good non-impact exercise that has a good calorie burn rate.

On the negative side, poor technique will aggravate or even initiate shoulder/elbow injuries, and breaststroke is not recommended if you have knee problems.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #434 on: January 27, 2019, 02:51:10 pm »
So, went to the "Over 50's" swimming session this lunchtime....sadly no one asked if I was old enough  :facepalm: and improved the 200m I managed on Wednesday to 500m.

It felt okay but my legs are still not there and I had to stop for a few seconds every 50m to get my breath back. No doubt I could have done more but frankly, I feel it is best to build up slowly as the arm I had injured three years ago has started to hurt again.  :(

A mile by September looks possible....if I can do something about my legs and if my arm holds together!


Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #435 on: January 27, 2019, 03:55:35 pm »
If you're doing crawl and aiming for a long distance swim, I wouldn't worry too much about the legs. They're very inefficient in terms of effort in for propulsion out so best reserved for sprinting. You just need to do enough to stop your body twisting too much. Try to have a look at some top-class swimmers doing a long distance race (remembering that 'long' for a swimmer is much shorter than for a runner) and you'll see what I mean.
"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everybody on the couch."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #436 on: January 28, 2019, 01:36:55 pm »
It felt okay but my legs are still not there and I had to stop for a few seconds every 50m to get my breath back. No doubt I could have done more but frankly, I feel it is best to build up slowly as the arm I had injured three years ago has started to hurt again.  :(

Another trick is to do one length crawl and then one gentle breaststroke (or backstroke) to recover. Then move to two lengths crawl, one length recovery, etc until you're able to keep crawl up continuously. I've got a few old swims logged where I was doing 1:1 or 2:1 like this.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #437 on: January 29, 2019, 07:40:52 am »
Thanks both.

Sadly, my front crawl is more like something which is very unlike swimming and never gets me more than 10m without needing to stop! I just can't get the breathing right.

If the gout I now have goes away over the next day or so, I will try some more distance on Wednesday. I might even see about trying to get some coaching to get me back on the correct path. I am sure a better stroke would make the distance much easier.


Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #438 on: January 29, 2019, 07:46:32 am »
I watch this video regularly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3HhNlysFDs

(It's interesting how my stroke has improved[1] since watching this video regularly. Every time I watch it I think "ah, I need to do this more" or "I need to change this" and try and remember to do that next time I'm in the pool.)

Definitely consider some coaching, I had a couple of lessons last year and it certainly helped me discover the things I need to focus on.

1. Or returned closer to what I was coached to do years ago
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #439 on: January 29, 2019, 08:44:40 am »
I do five lengths breaststroke to warm up, then alternate front crawl for the next 35, and then the final 10 front crawl, finishing on a sprint. (I lied about 20s/length upthread obviously, I meant to say 30s, I'm not that fast! I'm not even very fast.) I can do all 50 front crawl, but I like to exercise different parts. I did a several years ago do my knee in which took breaststroke off the menu for a good while. That got better, but I'm careful with kicks as they do indeed risk stressing the knees.

Pacing your breathing is obviously important if you want to avoid stopping every length or so. There's nothing wrong with breathing every stroke (push out the breath while underwater, so you draw a full breath when you surface). And slow the pace slightly so you're not so out of breath. Stamina is something you build gradually.
!nataS pihsroW

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #440 on: January 29, 2019, 09:11:37 am »
I might have a watch of that video, I'm acutely aware that my stroke has appeared organically rather than through coaching.  Yesterday I did my semi-usual 200m warm up followed by 3 x 400m. I keep thinking I'll go for a full mile, with another 200m cooldown, but I've normally got bored by then.

I do need to start breaststroke carefully again, though wih my recent hip injury and ongoing subsequent back problems.  I'm not sure what happened yesterday, but both feet were cramping at different times and are aching this morning.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #441 on: January 29, 2019, 07:18:30 pm »
Decided to use my Tuesday brief swim session for a quick blast having watched that video again (I get ~20min in the pool before it closes for kids lessons and I watch my daughter's lesson from the hot tub - tough life).

4x100m pull warm up at a brisk 1:40/100m pace with ~1 minute rests

25m free warm up sprint (in pool start, no dive) in ~22s, rest

25m free all out sprint (in pool start, no dive) in 17.4s, swallow lungs and rest

50m sprint (in pool start, no dive, flat turn as someone was in the way of a proper tumble turn) in 38.4s

1x100m pull cool down at 1:45/100m.

So my current all out sprint pace (1:08.8/100m) is what that video lists as 'steady'. HR hit 175bpm during the 50m sprint. Ugh.

Long term aim is to get down to 1:30/100m Swim FTP (i.e. pace I can sustain for 1h).

My arms hurt (I did 1000m of pull yesterday too.)

(I don't bother with dive starts as (a) they're a bit over the top even though they give a 1-2s advantage, (b) my prescription goggles usually come off and I don't want to adjust them any tighter to keep them on.)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #442 on: February 04, 2019, 09:22:30 am »
Swim Serpentine entries open for 2019:-

https://www.swimserpentine.co.uk/how-enter/online-entry/

(Accidentally signed up for the Super 6 event.)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Learning to swim/improving swimming
« Reply #443 on: February 05, 2019, 12:36:52 pm »
I've signed up for the Mile event. I think its useful that "they" allow you to pick your starting time as that means I will be able to get a morning train down rather than staying overnight as I did for Ride London.

I've also signed up for this... https://www.diabetes.org.uk/get_involved/fundraising-events/swim22

Having had diabetes (its under control due to weight loss) and having lost my brother in part to the illness, its something I feel I should do....it also gives me a reason to get the miles in, in advance of the September swim.

Now.... shame I don't have any friends I can pester for sponsorship....  :P