Swimming: Enhancing Your Endurance

By Sharon Starika

There are many experts and articles that discuss ways to improve your endurance.  In this article I will explore the relationship between strength and endurance; how to develop strength, hence developing greater endurance. Developing strength and endurance simultaneously will result in maximum power, the best combination to compete and do your best in swimming, biking and running.

Resistance is one of the best ways to develop and stimulate strength. The best way to achieve resistance in the water is by either using a kick board, placing all the demand on your legs/feet or to use a pull buoy in between your legs, relying on your arms & your stroke, and or by using fins. By eliminating a body part, you create a form of resistance and a greater demand on one part of the body.
Once you’ve decided to include these as part of your workout and or training, you can begin to time yourself. By tracking your time and challenging yourself to go faster during each lap or length of the pool, you are developing your endurance and strength at the same time. You can use any of these techniques while using your whole self, just your arms, or just your legs.

See if you can do one length of the pool at 80% maximum effort, then 60% maximum the next lap. See if you can maintain alternating the two for 10-20 laps/lengths of the pool. Then see if you can do some sprints: ½ lap 90% ½ lap 75%. Can you repeat this for 6-10 laps? Next, see if you can challenge yourself to find your 80% maximum, and be able to maintain for an additional 6-10 laps/lengths of the pool. Then you can try being at 90% for 3 laps. Then perhaps 80% for 3 laps? By trying different lengths and levels of effort during your sprints you are developing your strength and endurance. Notice I have used different percentages to increase your strength. It is very important at this point in your training to learn to rely on yourself and knowing what percentage of effort you are putting out instead of relying on a watch. What you feel is a much more accurate way to measure yourself than time. Now is a great time to start practicing becoming aware of the feeling. Ask yourself: What is 80% maximum for me?

You can also add variety to your swim program by adding in different strokes. Take backstroke or butterfly for instance. By adding them into your training routine, your freestyle will become much stronger. Why? You’re stimulating as well as using muscles in a different way, which adds over-all strength to your traditional use of the muscles during freestyle.

Sharon Starika is a runner and triathlete with over 20 years of competitive racing experience. She is a Guild Feldenkrais Practitioner and lives in Park City, Utah where she has a private practice. She teaches classes and clinics around the country and offers instructional online workshops so people interested can practice her methods anywhere.

For contact information go to www.sharonstarika.com or Sharon@sharonstarika.com.

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