I'm going to compete in a 5km outdoor race. It's going to be breaststroke competition.

It's been a while since i really did any real training, and I'm am currently not in good shape.

The competition is in august. So I have aprox 5 months for training. Last night I swom 1km.

So my question: How many times should I go swimming per week, Do some durablility vs long swims,...

thx in advance.

Extra info: The race is in a channel. (Belgium, Brugge) I'm currently trying to swim 2/3 times a week. My longest is a 1.4km swim atm. Laps of 25m per minute for the 1.4km

Yesterday, i went swimming and did:

  • 1x8 laps
  • 5x4 laps (2min for 4 laps, 3/4 min recuperating)
  • 1x6 laps
  • 1x2 laps (sprint)
  • => 900m total

I'm 1.8m big and my weight is 106kg (which is a bit much at least :p) I've started to run, but have a weak ankle. So for our new years resolution (kind of a wager), my friends and I each committed to something to help our fitness. And this is why I'm going to swim this competition. I'll keep swimming I think, I really like the sport.

  • 1
    6-7 times per week, with workouts in the 2-4000m range on average. Emphasize longer sets, such as 5x800m breaststroke, 3x1000m, 2x1500m, and toss in some swims of the full distance. At least once or twice a week, work on shorter sets of faster speed, such as 12x100, 10x200, etc.
    – JohnP
    Jan 30, 2013 at 14:41
  • @JohnP thx for your input, it's appreciated
    – Ruben
    Jan 30, 2013 at 15:22
  • 2
    @Ruben, can you add some more info on the race (sea, stream, ..), your background in swimming and your current status (speed etc). Maybe the key will be the transition from "couch potato" to "steady state training", adding too much training too fast isn't usually a good thing.
    – FredrikD
    Jan 30, 2013 at 16:28
  • Cool! 5K breaststroke! Where?
    – geoffc
    Jan 31, 2013 at 2:06
  • @FredrikD edited question.
    – Ruben
    Jan 31, 2013 at 7:31

1 Answer 1


Given the extra information, here is what I would recommend for your swim training.

Swim training is low impact, so you can do it at a fairly high intensity almost every day. Your target distance is 5k, I would aim to be able to swim that distance straight by two months out from your race. So if the race is 15 August, then be able to swim the distance with no breaks by 15 June. That will give you two months to be able to work on your speed as well.

Since your workouts are currently in the 1000m range, I would do that 3-4 times a week, and each week bump every workout by 200m. Have one day a week where you simply swim the distance straight, or with as little rest as possible. Every couple of weeks, add another day as well. You really do want to be swimming between 3-5,000m total per workout, with 4-6 workouts a week, and be able to swim your target distance straight with no breaks.

One of the resources that I would suggest is called "Swim workouts in a binder". It has prepackaged workouts that you can do, all of varying intensity and distances. It also has baseline personal testing so you can gauge where you at in your progress.

The other thing that you need to work on is acclimation and getting used to swimming in open water rather than a pool. Even a canal, if you are not used to cold, dark water and currents, it's easy to get spooked and freak out. Get in the canal with someone watching, and swim to get used to it. Do this as much as possible.

Also, find out if the swim is wetsuit legal (Usually determined by the water temperature). Wetsuits greatly aid in bouyancy and can really help reduce fatigue.

  • thx for the input
    – Ruben
    Feb 1, 2013 at 8:30

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