If you swim within a Swim Smooth Squad or train using the Swim Smooth Guru (our virtual swim coach) you'll know that we favour a consistent routine all year round without much (if any) periodisation.
|SS Coach Mike Jotautas takes his squad through a technique session in Louisville, Kentucky.|
We like a consistent structure that you can easily understand and follow week in, week out. Keep this rolling along and you'll get the right training stimuli (and the consistency of training) that you need to keep on improving over many months and years up to a very high level.
This is a far more effective approach than overly periodising things and focusing exclusively on one thing at a time (e.g. just on your stroke technique over the winter, your aerobic fitness in the spring and your open water skills come the summer).
Fundamentally we are talking about five types of workout here:
CSS sessions (watch intro video here)
Aerobic Endurance sessions (or for more advanced swimmers a Red Mist session) (watch intro videos here and here)
Open Water Skills sessions (watch intro video here)
Develop A Weekly Structure - And Keep it RollingFundamentally you need to roll through the first four session types, occasionally introducing a Sprint session if you are swimming three times per week or more.
We know from the 5000 of you subscribed to the Guru that most of you swim two, three or four times per week. So here's how that works out for each of those instances:
Swimming Twice Per Week
Week 1, 3, 5 etc: Technique session and CSS session
Week 2, 4, 6 etc: OW Skills session and CSS session*
Swimming Three Times Per Week
Week 1, 3, 5 etc: Technique session, CSS session and OW Skills session
Week 2, 4, 6 etc: Aerobic Endurance / Red Mist session, CSS session*
* on weeks 4, 8, 12 etc swap the CSS session for a Sprint session
Swimming Four Times Per Week
This structure can be seen in Appendix C of the Swim Smooth Book (also showing examples for swimming 5, 6 or 7 times per week) and is baked into the Guru's extensive training plans and Goal-setting engine (subscription required).
The key here is to keep this regular structure rolling week-in, week-out. It's a challenging routine but done with consistency will take your swimming to the next level.
Open Water Skills... Through The Winter?
Absolutely yes!! Open water skills (whether practised in the pool or open water) are so valuable to your performance as an open water swimmer or triathlete that they should be practised all year round. These sessions - normally swum in a group in your own lane - are great fun and really remind you of what you are training for next season.
Don't underestimate the importance of this - developing the confidence and an effective stroke to swim in open water is worth just as much time improvements as stroke technique or swim fitness.
Watch SS Head Coach Paul Newsome's explanation here: