Swimming 101: How to increase your distance

When I first got back into the pool, after a considerable amount of time away, I was disappointed with myself as to how few lengths I could swim in the one hour swim fit session at my local pool.

40-50 lengths were quite hard work in our 25-meter pool, as I found it boring just going up and down. This was until the swim fit instructor gave us a pyramid set to do.

“What is a pyramid set?” I hear you asking…

Essentially, it can be any stroke. The key is that you start by doing one length, take a short rest, then two lengths, take another short rest – each time increasing the number of lengths between each rest up to an agreed number, and then back down again. So when you start this could be as little as 1, rest, 2, rest, 3, rest, 4 rest, 5, rest, 5, rest, 4, rest, 3, rest, 2, rest, 1. Then the following session go up to 6 or even add 2 each time, before you know it you will be doing a set of 50 lengths in one set.Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 09.46.11

If you combine this with a 10 length warm-up, and a four-length cooldown. Hey presto, you have done 64 lengths - a mile!

When this becomes easier and you want to increase, it is easy to add some small sets like 5 x 2 lengths of slow/quick/ slow (gentle first half of the length/ fast into the wall / fast out of the wall/slow second half to finish).

Increasing the warm-up from 10-12 -14 and increasing the cooldown makes it simple to add those hidden lengths, but before long, a 2000meter session is possible, without the need for any special equipment other than a watch, and most pools have a clock!

I have found swim fit at my local pool to be a massive help – no dawdling or chatting to your mates at the end of the pool! Most instructors will cater for all ranges of ability and if you can’t make a session with an instructor, ask your local pool for the session sheets and do it yourself!

Scott will be attempting to swim around the Isle of Wight non-stop and un-aided, a distance of approximately 60 miles to raise money for charity. Before that can happen, Scott is training! As well as a lot of endurance work both in the pool and running on the streets of Southampton, Scott will complete a number of long open water training swims including along the Solent to the Needles, which is the furthest point to the west of the Isle of Wight. Scott will use the tide, and will leave Ryde Sands on the North East coast of the island at the highest point of the tide to give him the best push towards the Needles.

Follow Scotts progress on Twitter and Facebook

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