Honestly this is an easy topic in swim training to write about. If you’re a swimmer this is ultimately your goal every season: to get faster.
It’s all about speed and finding ways to continually improve it.
Once you have built an efficient stroke adding speed is your next step to swimming success. Your speed is exactly what competition measures: how fast can you go?
The added bonus of working on efficiency first is that you can now use that reserve energy you’ve gained to go even faster.
In this phase your maximal rate of speed in the water is the focus. This can include a wide range of variables.
How fast can turnover in your stroke?
How quick you can hit the 15-meter mark?
How long does it take you to swim a lap?
Speed is the focus and nothing else in this phase. You want to make sure that you swim at a rate much faster than you ever would in a race. This means that you’ll likely need to swim for less of a distance in order to keep a higher rate of speed.
What you may not realize is that by improving your max speed you’ll actually improve all of the sub-maximal speeds as well. It’s similar to the approach taken in strength. Check out Expand Capacity to Increase Speed for more on that topic.
But especially for more distance-oriented swimmers you need to work on your max speed from time to time. It’s the best way to improve all other speeds. And it makes physiological sense.
You need to get faster over a shorter distance before you can get faster over a longer distance.
In order to improve your speed you need 2 key ingredients. Fast and fun.
One or both of the keys may sound too obvious but you need to hear even the simple training truths now and again.
I’ve never had a swimmer improve, especially get faster, if they didn’t have fun in the process. And perhaps the most joyous group of swimmers I’ve ever coached ended up going faster than anyone ever believed possible. In order to get faster you need to have a smile on your face to go along with the pounding in your chest.
As over simplified as it sounds you need to remember that when you’re trying to get faster in the water you need to actually do that.
Find a way to swim faster than you’ve gone before!
And most of the time that means shortening the distance that you cover. For some it may be that you only are taking 3 strokes! Don’t let distance dictate if you’re succeeding. That’s for next week.
So add some speed to your swimming this week and be sure to check back next week when I’ll tell you how to last longer.