Recovery Swim Workout

Woman swimming in lane of pool

Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Do you need an easy swim workout? One that you can use between some harder workout days, other than just get in and swim laps? This workout might be for you. It is almost all easy swimming, with plenty of swim technique work. It is more than just doing laps.

The Warm-Up

  • 4 x 100 (:20 Swim and drill mix. Do drills for technique practice for one length, then swim for one length, then repeat.
  • 4 x 100 (:20 Kick. First 25 of each at a moderate effort, the rest of each is easy.
  • 4 x 100 (:20 Pull. First 25 of each at a moderate effort, the rest of each is easy.
  • Total Distance: 1,200

Take some extra rest if needed, sip some water or sports drink, and get ready for the main set.

Main Set

  • 4 x 50 (:30 Swim. This is one of the only "fast" parts of the workout. Do the 50s as 25 fast, 25 easy.
  • 5 x 100 (:15 Swim. Easy effort. Count your strokes every 25 and try to get to the lowest number possible while still moving forward!
  • 4 x 100 (:15 Swim. Easy effort. Alternate 25s of breathing to the right and the left side. Focus is on breathing.
  • 3 x 100 (:15 Swim. Easy effort. Do the first and last 25s in a different stroke.
  • 2 x 100 (:15 Swim. Easy effort. Count strokes, but only for the middle two 25s. Are they the same?
  • 1 x 100 (:15 Swim. 50 fast, 50 easy.
  • 1 x 100 Swim. Loosen a bit more, collect your thoughts, and you are done
  • TOTAL DISTANCE = 3,000

About Swimming Workouts

This workout is designed to take between 75-minutes and 90-minutes. If that is too much time or distance, then cut things out, but do not always cut out the same thing every workout. And never skip the loosen at the end of the workout. Use that as one last bit of technique work before you leave the swimming pool at the end of the workout.

After the description of the set, there is a number in a half-parentheses, like this: (:30. That is how much rest you get after each swim. For example, 6 x 100 (:30 means you are to swim a 100 (yards or meters), rest 30-seconds, then repeat five more times.

There is nothing special about these swim practice sessions other than what you bring to them. Lots of freedom here. You control how hard or fast you swim and what swim strokes you want to use while swimming the workouts. Normally the amount of rest per swim will limit your top-end speed on a workout, but that does not mean go as fast as you can all of the time. A few guidelines:

  • The more rest you get, the faster the swim.
  • The early parts of a workout should always be easy to moderate and very deliberate.
  • Use your best swimming technique.
  • Stop the workout if you are too tired, go for it again in the future. You get to be a better swimmer by recovering from the workouts you do, not by doing more and more swimming without resting and recovering from that swimming.
  • Have fun with the workouts.
  • Change the strokes you are doing from time to time, try new things, and don't get caught in a rut.

Each workout has:

  • a warm-up
  • stroke drills or swimming technique work
  • kicking
  • pulling
  • a main set
  • a loosen or cool-down