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by Sara Quan

November 1, 2003

Plan your swimming season

It is the end of the long course and open water seasons and time to prepare Halloween costumes and plan for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. But, have you thought about your swimming plans?

The season for short course meters competitions is upon us, and winter/spring short course yards meets are starting to take place. As soon as you know it, long course and open water will be here again.

How do you plan to stay in shape for the whole year without burning out? Periodizing, or planning your swimming schedule, to account for a preseason, an in-season and an off-season is the way to keep your sanity.

What are your goals? It’s difficult to periodize a training program if you have no goal or end point. Coaches use periodization to help design and track goals through the seasons. You can use periodization too.

Periodizing for preseason may include dry land fitness activities and sports as well as perfecting swimming technique: drill work! Preseason activities should tap into predominant energy-utilizing systems (aerobic, anaerobic) and will establish a large base of fitness. Some physiologists suggest this should last 8-12 weeks, but will depend on your level of fitness and your goals.

Periodizing for in-season is sport specific. Your swim coach is in charge here by regulating the volume and intensity to keep your strength and endurance level prime for competitions. Again, the length of time here is goal dependent.

Periodizing for the off-season is primarily to prevent excess fat weight gain, to maintain muscular strength and endurance, and to participate in other activities giving the swimmer in you a break. Go hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, snowshoeing, rock-climbing, kayaking, running, etc. Now is a great time to try out those activities that you have always wanted to. Just KEEP ACTIVE!!!!
Periodizing is a way to stay fresh; a way to shock your system every once in a while. It is a terrific tool to achieve goals and stay motivated.

In the last Aqua Master, newsletter of the Oregon LMSC, Oregon Long-Distance Chair and 2003 USMS Coach of the Year Bob Bruce suggested using the 3000 yard and 6000 yard postal events as opportunities to lay down a base for your short course seasons – “pre-season” stuff if you will. The One Hour Swim in January will offer an opportunity to test this base training. These ideas are a great way to begin periodizing your training calendar for 2004! Get started today, and good luck!