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"Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week?

 

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andreasjs

Oct 17, 13 7:57

Post #1 of 65 (5437 views)
"Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? Quote | Reply

I have been swimming 10-14 km per week over the last 2 years and while I am improving, it happens slowly. I am considering ramping up my swim volume significantly but need to make sure I avoid shoulder injury and that I have time to work, bike, run and have some non-tri activities also :-)

Therefore, I am wondering about how much long course AG triathletes that spend a serious amount on time swim per week, how long a typical mainset is and how frequent you swim. Ideally from triathletes without a swimming back ground to not distort with "high school fishes" that can stay fast with a couple of 2-3km sessions per week.

In other words:
-- what is your weekly volume in terms of TIME spend in the pool?
-- how many days per week do you swim?
-- do you have short days, recovery days and long days or do you always spend more or less the same time in the pool?

I looked at the october swim tread but there is a lot of variance. This is what I plan to do:
-- swim ~10 hours per week (vs ~5-6 currently)
-- swim 5-7 days depending on how I feel and what my agenda allows
-- have a least 4 sessions of 2 hours (which for me probably translate into 5000 meters for those sessions) and the remaining 1-3 sessions 1-3 kms depending on how I feel and time available.

This would translate roughly into 22-24 km per week vs 10-14 currently.

A.


(This post was edited by andreasjs on Oct 17, 13 8:14)


sub-3-dad

Oct 17, 13 8:05

Post #2 of 65 (5405 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm not serious but have had some pretty good results (in the swim leg of the triathlon only unfortunately!).

In 2001 I was swimming at 2:00 per 100m
I swam with little intent or improvement for a few years.
From 2003-2006 I swam AT LEAST three times a week: 2 x 60 minutes and 1 x 90 minutes. I'd guess it came in at 10-12km/week.
Perhaps I swam a fourth set every second week. That 4th set was either 10x400 or 1x4000m (LCM).

From this, I managed a 20:10 in Olympic and 49:?? in IM.
The IM swim was most likely short but I came out of the water in 39th place (Including male and female Pros).

Now, I swim about 3-5km per week and can go about 22:?? in Olympic and can hold 1:35/100m in the pool without too much difficulty.
I wish I had more time on my hands. I'd like to get back to my 2006 form!

#######
My Blog


Bryancd

Oct 17, 13 8:09

Post #3 of 65 (5380 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

What is frustrating when trying to glean information like this regarding swimming is that many fast swimmers in triathlon come from a swim background and can be incredibly fast in what would be considered minimal training.

-Of course it's 'effing hard, it's IRONMAN!
Team ZOOT
ZOOT, GARMIN, Ceepo, Smith Optics, Lake Cycling, GU, Bonk Breakers, FuelBelt


onceatriathlet3

Oct 17, 13 8:28

Post #4 of 65 (5306 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

In January of 2012 I could not tread water at the deep end of a pool.

I began to swim 2-3k a week for six months, which improved me to a 28:00 ply (first tri ever). had no idea what to do in the water, just swam until i got bored 2-3 times a week.

this past year i read up, got advice, and started doing sets. this past summer i put in somewhere between 10-12k a week and i can now swim high 23s/low 24s. Not great, but I'm still learning. I'm a mid 23mph cyclist/37-38 10k guy so this winter I really plan on focusing on the swim and would like to get down to 21-22. I plan on averaging between 15-20k a week. i also have an ex all big ten swimmer semi coaching me which helps. i'm learning all the different strokes (can only do freestyle right now) and she's teaching how actually get faster in the pool.


desert dude

Oct 17, 13 8:46

Post #5 of 65 (5223 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [Bryancd] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Quote:
What is frustrating when trying to glean information like this regarding swimming is that many fast swimmers in triathlon come from a swim background and can be incredibly fast in what would be considered minimal training.

DING DING DING We have a Winner!

I've seen athletes take 10 years out of the water hope in and go 10 min flat for 825 yards. (former olympian) I've seen another swim 3x about 1200 each then bang out 70x100 on 1:40 (former olympian) I've seen former AG and college swimmers take 2-8 years out of the water, swim < 50k and then go do an IM swim in <58 min.

I've seen adult onset swimmers put in 750k yards in a year and not crack 33 for a half swim. Then do it again the next year and still not crack 33 although they did crack 34. I've seen adult onset swimmers swim for 10 years and then the college swimmer gets in for 2 weeks and starts to destroy them in the pool.

To the OP:

When I was racing, and I swam AG swimming for a few years, I put in about 15k in 4 swims. That netted me mid 26's for a half. When I upped it to 18-20k after a month or 6 weeks I was in the high 25's. After about a quarter of a year of that, I was in the very high 24's and even lead out of the water at a few races overall.

It's truly a YMMV situation

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching :: @accelerate3 :: Like us on Facebook
AeroCamp 3.0 Carson (LA area) Velodrome Feb 28-Mar 1. PM for more info.


(This post was edited by desert dude on Oct 17, 13 8:46)


Supersquid

Oct 17, 13 8:47

Post #6 of 65 (5211 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Quote:
I looked at the october swim tread but there is a lot of variance. This is what I plan to do:
-- swim ~10 hours per week (vs ~5-6 currently)
-- swim 5-7 days depending on how I feel and what my agenda allows
-- have a least 4 sessions of 2 hours (which for me probably translate into 5000 meters for those sessions) and the remaining 1-3 sessions 1-3 kms depending on how I feel and time available.

I'm not trying to derail the thread, and I'm not a good enough swimmer to qualify to answer your question. But, didn't you just post in another thread that you were planning on cycling 10-12 hours per week? If you bike 10-12, swim 10 and then add running you're looking at close to 30 hours per week. I'm not saying you can't do that, but that's A LOT of work and I know you've been posting about trying to KQ. My advice would be to not focus too much on one discipline and forget about the total training load. Swimming is the easiest to recover from, but swimming 10 hours a week will affect your cycling and running (and if I remember correctly you said you're in the southern hemisphere so you're coming into your season so you're not talking about an off-season swim focus). From a KQ perspective, think about what's going to give YOU the best chance to qualify. Is that 10 hours in the pool every week? How will 10 hours a week in the pool affect your cycling and running?

I'm not saying you shouldn't work on the swim. I'm just saying that you shouldn't forget about the total training load. Find the right balance that's going to minimize your weaknesses and also allow you to race to your strengths.

Anyway, I'm not trying to derail the thread and since I'm always trying to improve my swim I always like hearing what better swimmers are doing.

------------
My Blog | Twitter


SnappingT

Oct 17, 13 8:49

Post #7 of 65 (5197 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

A:

I coach a masters swim team that is mostly triathletes and we focus on getting better at distance freestyle / open water swimming. I coach beginning AG triathletes to AG Kona qualifers to Pro Kona qualifiers.

Here are some questions for you:

- What is your current pace per 100m in the pool?
- Do you swim SCM(short course meters - 25) or LCM(long course meters - 50)?
- How do you currently train in the pool in terms of the variety of sets you do?
- Do you swim sets on an interval or a rest interval?
- Do you swim alone or on a team?
- When did you start swimming?

In terms of what we do, for the AG triathletes I have 5 practices a week. Most of the good AGs that I coach average about 4x a week in the pool. The workouts are anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours and 2500 yards to 5000 yards and average about 12k-15k yards a week depending on what we are doing. I tend to push a lot of intensity since we don't have much time in the water and stroke technique is usually still developing. For the AG Kona qualifiers and pros, they swim 6x a week and average about 20k-25k a week.

If you want to see the results of an athlete from the program, you can find it here. It is an analysis of swim results from an AG Kona qualifier and the progress he made. Like you, he plateaued from his first time in Kona and I started working with him about 2.5 months ago. If you want to see the workouts we do, I post them all here.

The issue with a shoulder injury is something to consider. Be careful on how quickly you ramp up and a shoulder injury with that volume, while not a lot of volume, is still a possibility depending on your stroke technique. Stretch cord / strength work will help with injury prevention.

I am happy to answer any questions.

Best regards,

Tim Floyd
http://www.magnoliamasters.com
http://www.snappingtortuga.com


andreasjs

Oct 17, 13 8:54

Post #8 of 65 (5172 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [Supersquid] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Supersquid wrote:
Quote:
I looked at the october swim tread but there is a lot of variance. This is what I plan to do:
-- swim ~10 hours per week (vs ~5-6 currently)
-- swim 5-7 days depending on how I feel and what my agenda allows
-- have a least 4 sessions of 2 hours (which for me probably translate into 5000 meters for those sessions) and the remaining 1-3 sessions 1-3 kms depending on how I feel and time available.


I'm not trying to derail the thread, and I'm not a good enough swimmer to qualify to answer your question. But, didn't you just post in another thread that you were planning on cycling 10-12 hours per week? If you bike 10-12, swim 10 and then add running you're looking at close to 30 hours per week. I'm not saying you can't do that, but that's A LOT of work and I know you've been posting about trying to KQ. My advice would be to not focus too much on one discipline and forget about the total training load. Swimming is the easiest to recover from, but swimming 10 hours a week will affect your cycling and running (and if I remember correctly you said you're in the southern hemisphere so you're coming into your season so you're not talking about an off-season swim focus). From a KQ perspective, think about what's going to give YOU the best chance to qualify. Is that 10 hours in the pool every week? How will 10 hours a week in the pool affect your cycling and running?

I'm not saying you shouldn't work on the swim. I'm just saying that you shouldn't forget about the total training load. Find the right balance that's going to minimize your weaknesses and also allow you to race to your strengths.

Anyway, I'm not trying to derail the thread and since I'm always trying to improve my swim I always like hearing what better swimmers are doing.

Supersquid,

Thanks a lot for the push. You are absolutely correct and that is why i posted. I wanted to get a feel for how much serious swimmers do. I do need to find the right balance and 10 hours per week might be too much. I probably have to get a basic structure in place and then do a bit of trial and error.


125mph

Oct 17, 13 8:59

Post #9 of 65 (5140 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm "serious" but just a weak swimmer in general. I started swimming 2012 so I'm pretty new. Do about 6K-7K a week just cause I feel my time is better spent on the bike and the run. I get about 28-29 min Olympic and a 38 min HIM swims. I'm usually tops on the bike, upper-middle on the run, and slow on the swim in races.

My swim has gotten faster this year though.. I used to do 20x100yd intervals at around 1:43/100yd pace but this past few months it went down 1:35/100yd pace... I think I finally hit a stride in my swim and seeing good improvements.


@Dynomitedad

Oct 17, 13 8:59

Post #10 of 65 (5139 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I consider myself "serious." I am also an "adult onset" swimmer. I learned to swim about 6 years ago when I started triathlon. 58 min swim at IMFL (wetsuit) and 30 min at Vegas 70.3 WCs (non wetsuit).

I swim 3 sessions a week year round @ 3.5k avg per session. I'd love to swim more but ... something has to give lol. Basically, i swim a speed day, long set day, and a technique (mixed) day each week.


andreasjs

Oct 17, 13 9:07

Post #11 of 65 (5116 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [SnappingT] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

SnappingT wrote:
A:

Here are some questions for you:

- What is your current pace per 100m in the pool? I can usually do 15x100 on 1:55 coming in at 1:42 or so. Some days when I am tired it becomes intervals on 2 mins. When I feel really good it is 1:55 but coming in at 1:40.
- Do you swim SCM(short course meters - 25) or LCM(long course meters - 50)? SCM. Do not have access to 50 min pools
- How do you currently train in the pool in terms of the variety of sets you do? I usually have a long session (90 min) at about race pace with short rest (~5 secs) between what ever reps I do. Sometimes it is 100m repeats, sometimes it is latters and sometimes X x 600-800m. Then I have a shorter session where the mainset is a bunch of 50-100m repeats at hard effort with 15-20 sec rest. Then a tempo session with 100s and 200s at around threshold with medium rest. Also do quite some of the reps with paddle and buyo. Remaining sessions of the week are usually something like a 2 km mainset of what ever I feel like and/or recovery 30 min swim.
- Do you swim sets on an interval or a rest interval? On intervals.
- Do you swim alone or on a team? My work agenda is a bit complicated so 80% of the time alone. That is one of the things I want to change so at least it becomes 50% with a masters group.
- When did you start swimming? March 2011

Tim,

Thanks a lot. I am going to read the links you posted. Pls see answers to your questions above.

Solid improvement by Matt Hansson. I am probably where he was in 2011. I have swum 1:06 and :07 if I remember correct in my last 2 IMs (March and May 2013) but with wetsuit in both.

From what I gather is that 10-12 km and 4 times per week (which is roughly what I used to do) is maintaining or at best providing marginal improvements. To become competitive overall and in the swim leg, 20-24 km per week is the norm. I will try to ramp up and see if I can get close to 20 km. Might be a bit too ambitious as I also want to become stronger on the bike but if I do not try, I will not know.


jaretj

Oct 17, 13 9:08

Post #12 of 65 (5112 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I'm kicking around the idea of swimming 2000 in the morning and another 2000 in the evening 3 days a week, then 4K on saturday and see what happens.

jaretj


ericM40-44

Oct 17, 13 9:28

Post #13 of 65 (5039 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I used to swim 6-9k a week. Last fall I started doubling my volume, and eventually got up to swimming hard 6x per week. So, I'd say I've averaged 16-20k a week for the last year.

The improvement has been striking. Like you, I was improving slowly on my old volume. Once doubled I swam 58:30 at IM CdA (previous best there: 1:03) and then 58:50 at Kona (previous best: 1:04). I think I've dropped 10sec/100 in training scy during this time. 10x100 on 1:30 at 1:20/100 used to kill me, did 40x100 on my birthday and it was easy.

I think that each person has a volume point where the gains start happening. For me once I got the feel for the water the gains started coming quickly.

Moral of the story, swim every day.


125mph

Oct 17, 13 9:34

Post #14 of 65 (5009 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [mjcrna] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

mjcrna wrote:
I consider myself "serious." I am also an "adult onset" swimmer. I learned to swim about 6 years ago when I started triathlon. 58 min swim at IMFL (wetsuit) and 30 min at Vegas 70.3 WCs (non wetsuit).

I swim 3 sessions a week year round @ 3.5k avg per session. I'd love to swim more but ... something has to give lol. Basically, i swim a speed day, long set day, and a technique (mixed) day each week.

Ghez... 58 min IM swim and you're an adult onset swimmer?...


andreasjs

Oct 17, 13 9:35

Post #15 of 65 (5002 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [ericM40-44] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Eric,

Did you "just" swim more or did you do other stuff like specific technique work, changed your workout structure, started to use or not use paddles and buyo and band? I am just trying to figure out if it was "just" more volume or other stuff too.

Thanks.


ericM40-44

Oct 17, 13 9:38

Post #16 of 65 (4990 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

actually, I started to use paddles and bouy more, almost exclusively. lots of band work too. and hard sets with a good swimmer.

but for me, my weaknesses were "feel" for the water and legs too low. So, band and paddles helped with that. I'd say that for anyone like us in the 1:05 range trying to get better that band and paddles and bouy should be the only tools you use.

Think what Sutton did with Chrissie Wellington.

andreasjs wrote:
Eric,

Did you "just" swim more or did you do other stuff like specific technique work, changed your workout structure, started to use or not use paddles and buyo and band? I am just trying to figure out if it was "just" more volume or other stuff too.

Thanks.


@Dynomitedad

Oct 17, 13 9:54

Post #17 of 65 (4933 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [125mph] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

My 3 girls swim competitively, and I try to emulate many of their tecniques and ethic into my swimming. I also have a swim coach (Elli Overton, Aussy Olympian) work with me to fine tune every few months. As I said, I take it seriously, and try to make every stroke count .... esp with my low volume.


rbuike

Oct 17, 13 10:02

Post #18 of 65 (4898 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Swimming for the sake of swimming isn't going to do as much as becoming a better swimmer. I was never a swimmer until I got into triathlon, did the 10-14KM a week thing for a few years with little improvement. Did 12 weeks of focused 1:1 lessons with a swim coach and now swim roughly 4.5-6.5KM a week and went from 1:50/100M in 70.3 to low 1:30s/100M

Rodney
TrainingPeaks | Altra Running | ICEdot | X-1 Audio
http://www.goinglong.ca


TonyStark

Oct 17, 13 10:23

Post #19 of 65 (4833 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [Bryancd] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Bryancd wrote:
What is frustrating when trying to glean information like this regarding swimming is that many fast swimmers in triathlon come from a swim background and can be incredibly fast in what would be considered minimal training.

^^
That. I swam in High School, took a 30 year break and slowly got back into the swim of things with 3xweek swim workouts. Basic stuff like 10x100s, 5x200s, ladders,,etc. my goal, after a break in period so as not to destroy my shoulders, was to equal an IM distance for every workout. That got me to a :52 at IMLP. This year, in January I upped it to 5 days a week for an average of 20-25k per week. I swam a :22:09 at Rev3 Quassy, and another :52 at IMLP. The :52 this year was by far much easier than last year's swim of the same time.

So, swim a lot.
-----------------
Dale Stephanos (Formerly PappaD)



Bryancd

Oct 17, 13 11:00

Post #20 of 65 (4763 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [ericM40-44] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Eric, you just ruined my day, this is so not what I want to hear ...


;)

Terrific job in Kona, see you here for IMAZ?

-Of course it's 'effing hard, it's IRONMAN!
Team ZOOT
ZOOT, GARMIN, Ceepo, Smith Optics, Lake Cycling, GU, Bonk Breakers, FuelBelt


Josh Seifarth

Oct 17, 13 11:09

Post #21 of 65 (4718 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Did not swim (save for swimming lessons) until I went to highschool. We swam 6 months per year, 8x per week, but maybe only 8-10 hours total. The other 6 months we didn't swim. I payed no attention to sets, or technique, or what we were doing. Just swam hard, tried to catch people ahead, etc. Did that for 4 years and improved a lot. I think my first 100yard race was 1:18 (all out, dive, speedsuit, etc). By the end of 4 years I was 50.16. From then I swam much less, and now I swim 3-4x per week, for 12 - 15km.

The lesson I'm trying to get across is this: It will probably take a lot of investment, and probably a few years (maybe 2 swimming constantly), but the gains will stay with you forever (for the most part). I could likely swim a 25min 2000m on two swims a week now. Join a group... heck join two as I find most masters groups only meet a few times per week. Go and hammer it in the pool and, while you should focus on technique to an extent, don't be overly critical all the time.

Edit - I should add, I swim less now racing as MPRO than I did racing as an AG athlete. More time on the bike and run. Make the investment and you won't have to do much to maintain it.
--

@JoshSeifarth // http://www.JoshSeifarth.com

(This post was edited by Josh Seifarth on Oct 17, 13 11:12)


ericM40-44

Oct 17, 13 11:10

Post #22 of 65 (4717 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [Bryancd] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Bryancd wrote:
see you here for IMAZ?

hopefully just my back!

;)


smoom

Oct 17, 13 11:18

Post #23 of 65 (4679 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

I don't consider myself a "serious swimmer" but I swam top 30 out of 450+ in my AG at my last two IM 70.3s. So my data point might be helpful.

For this last race, up until about six weeks out I swam 2X each week at about 3000 yards each. Then I upped it to 3X each week at 3000 yards each.

This was an intentional tradeoff, spending more time on the bike / run instead of investing more time getting faster on the swim.

PS- I was in organized swimming as a kid, probably through 7th grade.


Mike Ricci

Oct 17, 13 11:28

Post #24 of 65 (4653 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [andreasjs] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

Everyone's talking about the main sets they do, how fast they used to be and how you all want to add in double swims and 4-5k swims (which I DO think are a big benefit mentally) and no one has mentioned just swimming high quality workouts, week in, and week out. I'm not a swimmer, didn't come from a swim background and I've been in the 28's for a HIM swim, and low 22s for a 1500m, but I don't even swim 6-7k per week. But I do two things every time I swim: I swim drills to work on form and I swim hard with good form to not lose fitness. I just don't see what people get out of swimming 15-20k a week unless they are truly going for that 50' IM swim. The one time I put a ton of yardage in, I was down into the 58s for an IM swim - but I've figured out the trick and it's swimming a quality session a few times a week. And I like a nice easy long swim once per week - 1:30-1:40/100 yds.

All this to say, if you are swimming 10-14km per week and you aren't improving fast enough for your liking, then change it up. Add some harder sets, take longer rests, shorten the rests, etc - whatever it takes. Change it up, but the first thing I would do is work on the form, understand what the 'hinge' or 'anchor' part of your stroke is and you'll make some nice gains.
To answer your questions:
5-6k per week
3-4 swims (rarely 5).
2 x short recovery days - 1500 yds, 1 x Masters swim per week.

I would cut BACK on the swimming and add in some higher quality swimming. You may get slower at first when changing your stroke, but if you are in this for the long haul, you're going to have to change your stroke if you really want to improve.
Mike Ricci
D3 Multisport.com
USAT Level 3 Elite Coach
USAT National Coach of the Year 2013


Bryancd

Oct 17, 13 11:32

Post #25 of 65 (4637 views)
Re: "Serious" AG swimmers: How much do you swim per week? [ericM40-44] [In reply to] Quote | Reply

ericM40-44 wrote:
Bryancd wrote:
see you here for IMAZ?

hopefully just my back!

;)

No problem there, I'm working an aid station in the run. Any special requests? :)

-Of course it's 'effing hard, it's IRONMAN!
Team ZOOT
ZOOT, GARMIN, Ceepo, Smith Optics, Lake Cycling, GU, Bonk Breakers, FuelBelt

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