Advice for a newbie please!

Hi all

I'm hoping you may be able to help me out...I used to be a pretty good swimmer, swam every week, could go for miles etc but that was a loooong time ago! I recently started up swimming again mainly for fitness / weight-loss purposes but also because I do really enjoy being in the water. I am hoping to get to a point where I can do some open water swimming, but that is a long-term goal!

My first session I managed about 1 hour 15 mins of (mostly) solid swimming in the slow lane doing (mostly) breaststroke...I was really awkwardly between slow lane and medium lane pace but the medium lane was a bit daunting on my first time back in the pool! (I'm hoping more sessions will help me on that one though.)

My question is am I wasting time by just sticking to the same stroke and pace? I did try a few lengths of front / back crawl but it knackered me out a bit (the pool I swim at is 33 metres long if that puts it into context!)

Do you have any recommendations for mixing it up without drowning myself? Is it better to do a more 'interval' style swim or is long and steady ok in terms of building fitness and calorie burn etc? Sorry if that is a silly question.

Thanks :)


  • emmab0902
    emmab0902 Posts: 2,344 Member

    That depends on what your goals are. In any case it's good to include a bit of speed work in training to target different energy systems and to break the monotony.
  • Roaringgael
    Roaringgael Posts: 339 Member
    I got back in the pool over 4 years ago and worked on respiratory fitness ie - I kept swimming as much as I could for as long as I could. To get fit swimming is to push yourself over time. My first swim I was unable to swim more than 25 metres without getting breathless so I just kept resting and swimming (at least 30 mins in the pool) until overtime my respiratory fitness improved to where I now swim 2 kilometres (1.25 miles) continuously. Personally, I think respiratory improvement is a must if you want to impact on your health by swimming. Of course its entirely up to the individual. There are many training programmes online you can follow. I'm 59 so I like long distance rather than interval bursts (its better for an aging heart, long distance). I also use fins and a snorkel. The snorkel ensures I don't have to turn my head too much (neck problems) and that I get plenty of oxygen (older persons can push their hearts too much and end up with atrial fibrillation).
  • jasmineharley1992
    jasmineharley1992 Posts: 4 Member
    @emmab0902 @Roaringgael thank you both for your replies,they are really helpful. I'll definitely look up some training plans online too. I fear i'd look a tad out of place at my local pool with a snorkel and fins though haha!! :)
  • UmmSqueaky
    UmmSqueaky Posts: 715 Member
    I started participating in triathlons a few years ago and got back into the pool after a decade and some change off. Up until a few months ago, I got in, slogged 20 or so laps of freestyle and got out. And then in the summer I'd get in the lake and slog across, freestyle (or breast stroke if it's really choppy), same pokey pace. 0 improvement

    A few months back, I signed up for the local Masters Swim group at my YWCA. It attracts a wide range of people (my Tuesday/Thursday crack of dawn group has me, dinking around at 2:40/100m, a former college swimmer, a few triathletes and a handful of people who are former high school swimmers) and I've never felt unwelcome. I swim a whole heck of a lot more than when I was just doing laps, and I'm improving, slowly but surely. My coach asked what my goals were and has been giving me tips and correcting my stroke along the way.

    So, my recommendation - masters swim, or it's equivalent, if available. And if not, a coach to check in with every so often and who can point you towards workouts to keep things interesting.
  • girlwithcurls2
    girlwithcurls2 Posts: 2,230 Member
    I'm a late learner (late 40s when I learned), and started off with 25y. Nearly got out of the pool at the deep end thinking that there was no way I'd swim back to the other end when just one length took all of the oxygen out of my body. For some unknown reason, I kept going back and trying. TERRIBLE form, terribly inefficient technique, but youtube videos, drills suggested by folks here, and now I'm able to do 2 miles. Not every day, but my average is now 1.25-1.5 miles.There's still work to be done on my stroke, but I love increasing my endurance, and I love how strong swimming makes me feel. I even feel taller when I get out of the water! I only know one stroke, so I have no advice about changing it up, but I do sets with drills mixed in, mostly because I still have a terrible (sometimes nonexistent) kick.