Swimming Workout: Fartleks in the Pool

I know some (but not all!) people think of swimming as solely a summer sport, and while I understand that hopping in a pool in the middle of winter might not appeal to everyone, I have to say that I, personally, think swimming is a perfect holiday season workout.

First off, it burns a crapload of calories in a reasonably short amount of time, so if you’re going for a preemptive strike against the hors d’oeuvres at the neighborhood holiday party, you couldn’t pick a better workout. And it hits basically every part of your body, especially if you mix in some stroke work or kicking drills. And finally, as long as you have an indoor pool, it’s not weather or daylight dependent in the least. In fact, I think it actually feels amazing to get into a heated, indoor (or even outdoor here in Florida) pool when the temperature outside drops below freezing.

I also know plenty of people complain about swimming being boring, and you know, pretty much anything is boring if you don’t have a workout or a goal in mind. So, simple solution: show up with a workout that’ll keep your mind engaged and your body challenged. If you have a hard time memorizing workouts (I feel you — I think it’s impossible), write it out on a scrap of paper and seal it up in a sandwich baggie to keep on the edge of the pool.

This is one of my favorite swims from Coach Patrick — I’ve been doing it once every week or so recently and am just loving the variety it offers. And, it’s a cinch to modify if you want a longer or shorter workout. Plus? Fartleks. In the pool. Everybody does it. Don’t try to tell me you’re not giggling.

swimming fartlek workout
How do you feel about swimming in the winter? Are there any other types of swimming workouts you’d like to see here? —Kristen

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  1. If you want to challenge yourself during the pull set, try doing a pyramid of breathing every 3rd, 5th, and 7th stroke and back down until done with the 150. I wouldn’t recommend doing it until you’ve built your lungs up if you’re just starting out. But it’s great for lung training and coordination.