Endurance vs sprinting. With sprinting, we talked about having variation in your training routine and how sprinting is an effective way to improve your overall speed. On the other side, endurance swimming requires less energy since you're swimming at a slower pace. This also means you can swim for longer distances. We recover much faster from an endurance swim because we don't put the same strain on our bodies when compared to a steady or fast effort.
If we had to sum up endurance swimming, it would be: swim slow to swim fast!
Endurance sets help you build swim specific fitness and increase your stamina. It also teaches you to pace yourself, which means swimming the right speed to be able to swim a certain distance.
Endurance sets are important for a couple of reasons.
- It helps you focus on your stroke and technique, allowing for heightened accuracy, and to fix bad habits that may have arisen.
- It requires a measured effort over a longer period of time, strengthening mind, body and spirit.
- It helps build a greater aerobic capacity, creating a strong physical base to be able to go fast in races or when needed.
- It allows you to breathe bilaterally (to both sides) which balances out your stroke and increases your lung capacity so you will be more relaxed in the water.
Your swimming speed is critical and that is why working with the Critical Swim Speed (CSS) is valuable in endurance sets. Swimming just under our aerobic threshold is a tried and tested method to improve performance over a longer period of training time. So dust off your CSS time and bring it to the pool. Don’t know what your CSS per 100m is? Don’t worry, there is an easy way to calculate it.
Swim a 400 and 50 all-out. Recover in between distances and time yourself on both these distances. To calculate your CSS time, you need to deduct your 50 time from your 400 time and divide this by (400 - 50). An example. A swimmer swims 6 minutes on their 400 and 40 seconds on their 50. 6 minutes is 360 seconds. So 360-40=320 seconds. 400 - 50 is 350. So 320 / 350 = 0,914. This is the amount of seconds you swim per meter or yard. 0,914 times 100 will give you your goal time per 100. In this case 91,4 seconds which is 1.31,4 minutes per 100. This is your goal time for endurance sets per 100.
When will you have an opportunity to swim a 400 and 50 for time? Find a time when you have enough space and time to swim both distances all-out and time yourself. It would be more fun with a group, so try to find some buddies!
Keep swimming, keep smiling, keep splashing.