Do you feel like swimming?
October 14, 2013 9:30 AM   Subscribe

I would like to start swimming laps as part of a fitness regime. Special snowflake details below the fold.

I'm in my mid-30s and I already walk two miles a day most of the week. Swimming is one of the forms of exercise that feels the least like exercise to me. I respond well to goals and structure, but I also know that I sometimes set goals for myself that are a little too ambitious, and I get frustrated.

I'd like to work up to swimming a mile a day three or four days a week, but I also think that might be a lot to do right out of the gate. There doesn't seem to be a Couch to 5K program for swimming, so I'm asking here: What's a good goal to start with that will get me in the pool and keep me going back, and won't frustrate me too much?
posted by pxe2000 to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
 
I believe Swimplan.com will do what you want. You may also take a look at this.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:39 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh there is definitely a program analogous to Couch to 5K: 0 to 1650. Also, there is a swimming subreddit with lots of tips, ideas, support, and links to other training programs. I also really enjoy using Swimplan to help design workouts. I like it so much, I even pay for it. It'll take times you input for the different strokes to create goals for your workouts and you can indicate how ambitious you want to me and what gear you have on hand. I really love it.

Just remember that swimming will be a challenge. Don't give up: take a lesson to work on form, don't be afraid of using gear to help you build endurance (fins are a normal part of many workouts even for super in-shape swimmers), and take breaks. Also, if you're trying to lose weight, realize a lot of folks tend to be starving after a swim workout. Find some good low calories options you can binge on, if needed.
posted by adorap0621 at 9:40 AM on October 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


Do you know how to swim? Did you take lessons as a kid? I would recommend finding a class or a private instructor at your local pool to learn the basics, then build your aerobic fitness into laps fitness.

I can say that swimming endurance is different creature than fitness outside of the pool, so even if you are fit from walking, you will have to build up to swimming a mile at a time.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:40 AM on October 14, 2013


computech_apolloniajames: My family had a swimming pool growing up and I swam pretty frequently at the pond down the street from where I live. (I say "swam" because it closed Labor Day weekend.) I also took lessons during summer camp.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:49 AM on October 14, 2013


I swam semi-competitively as a young child twenty years ago, but I didn't swim for fitness since then until summer 2012. I had a lot of success with the 0 to 1650 plan that adorap0621 linked and endorse that for what you are looking for. In the end, I didn't enjoy swimming very much and decided to maintain fitness in other ways, but that program did get me to swim a straight mile in about six weeks. I am a little younger than you and was probably a little more fit than you when I started this, but I didn't have any difficulty jumping right into that Week 1 workout. If you do have difficulty, there's a 0 to 700 workout linked from that page that you could do first.
posted by Kwine at 10:10 AM on October 14, 2013


Your question may be sufficiently answered, but also look for a masters swim class. I took one when I was younger and it made my time in the pool less boring because there was a coach prescribing the workouts. A large board visible to anyone in the pool would list something like 2 x breast, 4 x freestyle, 2 x breast, 6 x freestyle ... or something like that. Swimmers didn't have to really think or motivate. We could start at our leisure once we arrived and just count out our laps until we finished. It was definitely good to have a goal and then to achieve it.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 10:50 AM on October 14, 2013


Depending on your form, swimming a mile might be easy, a workout, or impossible. I'd check in with a masters program and have them help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your freestyle.
posted by lstanley at 1:09 PM on October 14, 2013


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