This workout of the week is a special analysis of a 3,000 yard workout I personally completed with MySwimPro on the Apple Watch Series 4. In this article I’ll overview the workout strategy and run through a set by set analysis looking at the data captured with MySwimPro!
- Distance: 3,000 Yards
- Duration: 59 Minutes
- Focus: Aerobic Conditioning
This workout was completed in a 25 yard swimming pool running a custom written swim workout with MySwimPro and the Apple Watch. The only equipment used was a pull buoy and two sets of paddles (one small and one large). The workout took just under 60 minutes to complete with :30 seconds rest between sets and :60 seconds rest between set-groups. You can learn more about workout and set structure here.
The warmup calls for 8 x 50s Freestyle easy followed by a series of 25s Backstroke, Breaststroke, then IM order. The goal of any warmup is to slowly engage each muscle group and energy system dynamically without over fatiguing the body. I like to swim every stroke in almost every single workout I do to refine my feel of the water. This workout’s warmup sets are listed below:
- 8 x 50s Freestyle @ :50 (Easy)
- 4 x 25s Backstroke @ :35 (Moderate)
- 4 x 25s Breaststroke @ :35 (Moderate)
- 4 x 25s IM Order @ :30 (Endurance)
The Pre Set follows the same strategy as the warmup – to engage muscle groups and energy systems but with more specificity. The goal of a Pre set is to elevate your heart rate and incorporate sets that will prepare the body for the Main Set. This workout’s Pre Set calls for 6 x 50s Kick (completed in streamline on back) followed by 4 x 50s Drill. The drill I chose was ‘Fist Drill’ where you swim with your fists rather than an open hand.
Fist Drill: Ball up both your hands into a fist and swim as you normally would. By reducing the surface area of your hand, you’re forced to pull the water more efficiently with your entire arm. This really engages your forearms. As you extend forward imagine you’re reaching over a large log to pull yourself forward.
See Also: 10 Steps To Swim Smarter Freestyle
Once you go back to normal swimming, the nerves in your hands should feel alive and swimming should feel effortless. This flows nicely into the main set and swimming with a maximum distance per stroke while under fatigue. You can read more about How To Swim Perfect Freestyle here.
The Main set is a lot of fun! You basically go three rounds of 4 x 100s Freestyle. On each round, you decrease rest by :05 seconds. The other variable that changes is the equipment used. On all three rounds I swam with a pull buoy. On the first round, no paddles were used. On the second round, small paddles (1-2 centimeters larger than my hands). On the third round, large paddles (2-3 centimeters larger than my hands) were used.
On each round, your hands feel bigger. The interval drops :05 seconds, but because you’re more warmed up and have a better feel for the water with bigger paddles, you can swim faster. Below is the Main Set’s structure and the times I averaged on each set.
- 4 x 100s Free @ 1:30 (1:09s)
- 4 x 100s Free @ 1:25 (1:03s)
- 4 x 100s Free @ 1:20 (1:01s)
The Final set called for a 300 Freestyle Best Average swum with paddles, no pull buoy. I was pumped to split a 3:05. It felt a big goofy to go from no legs with a pull buoy for 1,200 yards to a slightly different body position and the use of my legs. To be honest, I didn’t get much use out of my kick and happy to average 1:02 pace which was about what I was able to hold on the set prior.
The final set was 6 x 50s Freestyle cool down focused on swimming perfect freestyle. Overall, the workout was a great aerobic conditioning session with 1,500 yards (50%) swum averaging about 1:05/100 pace. Interval training like this is a great way to develop your aerobic capacity without having to to swim for hours on end.
Using data to help you understand your swimming performance is one of the most efficient ways to help you improve in the water. With advances in wearable technology, the most important metrics can be tracked automatically and used to your advantage.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”