1,500m two ways

As I get closer to my due date, and as London gets hotter and hotter, I’m finding swimming is my fitness saviour.

I’m definitely slower and get tired a lot quicker than ever before, but I always feel better for just getting into the pool and moving my body. Being in the water also helps to ease my heavy legs and deflate my ugly swollen feet and ankles!

This week I’ve hit the pool four times, and while I can’t go as far or as fast as usual, I’m aiming for 1,500m per session. My sets aren’t the most varied at the moment, as I can’t do backstroke (due to buoyancy issues) and I also find it slightly awkward swimming fly in a busy, public pool, but on the plus side this is encouraging me to get the kick board and pull buoy out to make things a bit more interesting.

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Here are two options for 1,500m sets, which I’ve enjoyed this week while 36 weeks pregnant:

Warm-up

200m front crawl

Main set

200m breaststroke

4 x 50m free kick off 1 minute 30 seconds
200m front crawl pull
200m front crawl
4 x 50m breaststroke kick plus 15 seconds rest between sets
200m front crawl pull

Swim down

100m front crawl

1,500 m

Or

Warm up

400m front crawl

Main set

4 x 50m from crawl kick off 1 minute 30 seconds
200m breaststroke
200m front crawl
200m front crawl pull

Swim down

300m front crawl full

1,500m

Do let me know if you have done any fun swim sets lately that I can enjoy this week.

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Swimming upstream

It’s been a funny old week in the UK, and by ‘funny old’ what I actually mean is abjectly disastrous. This blog isn’t usually a platform for my political opinions, but this week comes as an exception and as politics and well-being collide I’ve found myself laying awake at night worrying, doing sun salutations to the sound of Radio 4’s Today Programme, putting on the news in the gym and talking politics while on the road with my running pals.

So before I share this week’s swim set, as I know my blog has quite an international readership, I just wanted anyone reading to know that a significant proportion of the British population is tolerant, inclusive and outward looking and that we know and value how much internationalism in the UK enriches our lives, culture, economy, skills base, workforce and communities.

I have so much more to say on the subject, but here is not the place. I just want to reiterate the point that we are a tolerant nation, and for better (and sometimes for worse), a democratic one. I think the past week has really highlighted the need for all of us in the UK to do some soul searching and to take a serious look at ourselves to try and understand how we have become a nation so divided. We need to reflect on how we got ourselves into this mess in the first place, and, in the coming weeks, months and years, we need to make a plan (something which no one appears to have felt necessary up to now), to get ourselves out.

This week as politicians have been trying to keep their heads above water, I’ve submerged mine in order to escape. This session is just 2,000m, but the sprints are killers. It took me a few attempts to get the 25m front crawl without breathing but it was pretty satisfying once I’d cracked it.

Enjoy!

Warm up
200m choice

Main set
4 x 100m IM sprinting on fly and breaststroke
30 seconds rest between sets
4 x 100m IM sprinting on back and front crawl
30 seconds rest between sets

8 x 25m front crawl no/minimal breathing
15 seconds rest between sets

200m front crawl breathing bi-lateral (either every 3 or 5 strokes)

4 x 100m sprint to easy every 25m as:
100m full stroke
100m kick
100m full stroke
100m kick
30 seconds rest between sets

Swim down
200m front crawl

Total 2,000m

I am, IM: A 40 minute medley swim set

After my last swimming session post I received lots of positive feedback so I’ve decided to share a swim set here each week. Hopefully this will motivate you to get your weekly chlorine hit, as well as having the added bonus for me of making sure I get to the pool at least once a week and put together a worthwhile session (rather than lazily doing laps).

I know a couple of people at least who bowed out of the fly in the last session. This set has more fly, but there is plenty of rest between sets and you never need to do more than one length/25m of fly at a time, so I’d urge you to give it a go. If full stroke is too much you can try fly legs with one arm pulls. Here you need to do a fly leg kick and pull one arm at a time, leaving the other arm out in front of you. Here the trick to getting this drill right it making sure you are still doing a fly pull (not a front crawl one).

Another question related to listening to music etc. while swimming. I have to admit I’ve never done this and while it is each to his own (and I do like to listen to music when running), when I swim I quite like the escape of being in the water and being isolated from technology and distractions. I also believe that there is a lot to focus on while you swim – especially when you are just starting out – in terms of getting your body position right and your strokes fluid and consistent, and there is the concern that listening music or a podcast would distract from that. We all have room for improvement on all strokes so I’ve added a drill set to the end of this session to tap into that and hopefully to keep you engaging in swimming and not looking for other distractions!

Right, that’s enough from me, here you go, it’s 2,200m and should take around 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Warm up:
200m front crawl

Main set:
2 x 175m as
Fly to front crawl (50m)
Back to front crawl (50m)
Breast to front crawl (50m)
Front crawl (25m)

30-45 seconds rest between sets (take longer if it means you’ll do the fly!)

3 x 150m front crawl as
Swim (150m)
Kick (150m)
Pull (150m)

15 seconds rest between sets
4 x 125m as
Fly, back, breast, front crawl, front crawl x4

30 seconds rest between sets

5 x 100m front crawl alternating each length drill to swim

10-15 seconds between sets

Drills:
Shark fin – on each pull touch your hand to your armpit, then return it to your side, lift it to your armpit again before completing the pull.

Catch-ups – after each stroke leave your hand in front of you until the other hand meets it.

Catch-ups with drag – as above but as you pull allow your fingertips to ‘tickle’ the surface of the water and keep your elbows high.

Top hat – as you bring your hand out of the water touch the top of your head before you allow it to re-enter and complete the pull.

Breathing every 3,5,7 strokes

Swim down:
200m front crawl

2,200

I hope you enjoy the set and as always feedback and requests welcome.

Happy swimming!

A fun 45 minute swim set

After a blissful, (if not slightly indulgent on the food and wine front), long weekend, on Tuesday I decided to stay out of the rain and switch my run for a gym/swim combo.

Lunchtime saw me power through a Kayla Itsines-inspired HITT workout, with jumping squat-lunges and cross-body mountain climbers designed to turn all of your muscles to jelly.

In the evening I headed to the pool and had such a great session I wanted to share it here.

This is a 2,100m session which should take around 45 minutes and is a great way to keep you interested and engaged for the whole set:

Warm-up

2oom front crawl
100m backstroke
100m breaststroke
(400m)

Main set

300m front crawl
2 x 150m front crawl (30 seconds rest after each)
3 x 100m front crawl (30 seconds rest after each)
4 x 75m front crawl kick (20 seconds rest after each)
5 x 50m as 25m fly, 25m backstroke, rest 10 seconds, 25m  backstroke, 25m breaststroke, rest 10 seconds, 25m breaststoke, 25m frontcrawl, rest 10 seconds, 25m fly, 25m backstroke, rest 10 seconds, 25m  backstroke, 25m breaststroke, rest 1 minute
6 x 25m front crawl off 30 seconds
(1,600m)

Swim down

100m easy

If you have a fun swimming session do share it with me and I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

Happy swimming!