Let’s get ready to Swim!

Following the UK lockdown, it has probably been a while since you last took a dive in the water and might be wondering the best way of preparing your body to return to the pool. Now our pools have re-opened there is no better time to get back to the water.

The first question to ask yourself is what did you train for before and have your goals changed or remained the same? Are you looking to train for long distance or swim a 50m sprint? At The Lab, we can look at ways to structure your cardio workouts outside of the pool to prepare you as best as possible for your return to the water.


Most swimming workouts consist of interval training. This could involve a series of high intensity periods in between lower intensity periods of rest. Whether you are swimming, cycling or running, you can use these methods below.


Fartlek means speed-play in Swedish. This is a well established training technique and is great at building both speed and endurance. Fartlek workouts consist of high-speed short bursts, followed by slower speed periods for recovery.

Try starting with a 5K total distance. Begin with a warm-up phase for 5-10 minutes, then aim to perform 8-10 gentle, controlled surges lasting between 60-90 seconds, followed by 1-minute recoveries between each. Aim to do this for 10-15 minutes, then do a final surge for 2 minutes at maximum speed before a 5 minute cool down.

You can modify the above and adapt to your level by increasing or decreasing the distance and intensity of your faster surges.


This workout uses speed play, but with a bit more structure, setting your periods of time for faster and slower speeds and deciding how many times you will repeat.

8 Minute workout example: 

Run, walk or bike for 10 seconds fast, 10 seconds easy, 20 seconds fast, 20 seconds easy, 30 seconds fast and 30 seconds easy. Repeat 4 times. 

You can modify this routine by changing the number of repetitions, your rest period or by adding an extra period of 40 seconds as your fitness levels increase.


Try to match what you do in the pool, on land. If you do 15 x 50-seconds on every minute, try to replicate this on land. This is a great way to get your fitness level up before heading back to the pool.

As well as running, biking or swimming you can also try these techniques using a skipping rope, functional exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, star jumps or even walking.

No matter which option you choose, remember these key points:

  • Warm-up well before your workout
  • Monitor your heart rate to work within a good upper and lower range.
  • Slowly build up the difficulty level so your body can adjust to a new intensity of training.
  • Cool-down at the end of your workout.

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