beginner's swim plan to swim one mile in six weeks   0 to 1650
ZERO to 1650 in Six Weeks
(A swimmer's mile is 1650, not 1760.   It is the equivalent of 1500 meters)

If you're feeling uneasy in the water, especially of deep water take a look at: Fear Of Water

Young or old, fit or not, six weeks seems to be the most common length of time it takes to be able to swim a mile without stopping for rest.  It requires three times per week and the willingness to be somewhat uncomfortable while stretching your aerobic capability.  Like a scar forms in response to a wound, as a muscle enlarges to meet new demands, so does our ability to absorb oxygen.  If we methodically increase our need, our body kindly responds.  The amount of discomfort should be small, but it is necessary to pant a bit at the end of each effort and only partially recover before beginning another.  The number of breaths taken before continuing I guarantee will not seem enough.  I also promise you'll be surprised that you are able to continue much more easily than you imagined. The feeling of not having adequate rest is necessary to improve.

A COUPLE HINTS: If you think you're really too breathless just to get to the end of the pool, let your legs drag; the quads, being so big, take a disproportionate amount of oxygen.  Any muscle will, of course, use more when in use than when relaxed, so if you don't need to use the muscle, don't - for example, when you are recovering your arms.  Relaxing even your neck will help make the swim easier.  Speed is not your aim during these six weeks.  Nor is the perfect stroke.  They come later or not at all if your intention is just to enjoy the water, to relax, or to get some pleasant exercise.

nota bene: swim 100, repeat 3 times equals 4x100 = 400.
Repeat is always in addition to the first swim.
Week is 3x the yardage. Week 1 is 700 per day, 2100 for the week

WEEK one (Three Days):
100 yards...rest for 12 breaths...repeat 3 times.
50 yards...rest for 8 breaths...repeat 3 times.
25 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 3 times.

total: 700 yards

WEEK two:
200 yards...rest for 12 breaths
100 yards...rest for 10 breaths...repeat 3 times
50 yards...rest for 6 breaths...repeat 3 times
25 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 3 times
total: 900 yards

WEEK three:
400 yards...rest for 12 breaths
100 yards...rest for 8 breaths...repeat 3 times
50 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 5 times
25 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 5 times
total: 1250 yards

WEEK four:
600 yards...rest for 10 breaths
300 yards...rest for 8 breaths
100 yards...rest for 6 breaths...repeat 3 times
50 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 3 times
total: 1500 yards
 

WEEK five:
1000 yards...rest for 8 breaths
100 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 3 times
50 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat 3 times
total: 1600 yards
          

WEEK six (days 1 and 2):
1200 yards...rest for 6 breaths
200 yards...rest for 4 breaths
100 yards...rest for 4 breaths
50 yards...rest for 4 breaths...repeat twice

(day 3)
1650 yards straight
total: 1650 yards!

A FEW WORDS ABOUT TECHNIQUE: It is said by many that technique is everything, yet I've said very little here about it. I've noticed that most of the big problems of a beginner disappear on their own by the time they can swim a straight mile. Holding the head too high - the most common problem - is difficult; as you become more comfortable, gravity kindly assists you and it goes down without attention. A stable head invariably transfers to a narrower kick and that second most common problem disappears on its own. But is technique really everything after the first six weeks? Yes. Technique means nothing more than making the stroke simpler, using less energy, so that your effort is channeled directly into propelling you forward.  Take at look at Very Basic Swimming for some suggestions. I recommend that you not tie yourself up in knots and get discouraged by technical concerns in the beginning. You're here to enjoy some exercise, not go to the olympics.

Now that you can swim a straight mile, try the workouts at:
Introduction To SwimWorkouts
or Lunchtime swims
or Swimming for Exercise
There are also several simple workouts at Very Basic Swimming for triathletes.
Then just browse in the second columns of the 50 Swim Workouts.
It won't be long before you might want to try Flip Turns.
The Adult Learner
And maybe even be interested in Triathlon Bare Bone Basics
The really Rock Bottom Minimal Least Training needed to complete a sprint triathlon
Swimmers drawings and slideshow
Swimming home page
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