How to Create a Base Building Program

Last week I introduced the idea of doing a three- to six-week base building period to increase your aerobic threshold.  This week I will help you design a three-week program that works for your level of swimming.

Step 1: Decide how much yardage you will do each day.  This should be at a minimum, the same amount of distance you do every day during the season. It would be great if you can increase the yardage by up to 10 percent over your norm.

Step 2: Take 75% of the total yardage and create one long freestyle main set, more on the freestyle main set in step 3.  The remaining 25% of the total yardage should be used for warmup/preset (15%), kick set (5%), and warm down (5%).

Step 3: Each day do a long set on your base interval varying your interval distance each day. For example, if I wanted a main set of 3000 yards I might do one of the following example main sets:

  • 15 x 200
  • 10 x 300
  • 6 x 500

Some slightly more complex sets that combine distances are also good and breakup the monotony:

  • 1×500, 2×250, 1×500, 4×125, 1×500, 5×100
  • 5×300, 5×200, 5×100
  • 5x (300, 200, 100)

Step 4: Repeat the workouts, changing up the main set each day for the three-week period.

Step 5: Select your base time interval. The ideal is to do the entire distance on your base interval. If you don’t use intervals now is the time to start.  Read my simple process on how to determine your base interval before beginning your base building.

Follow up note:  If you are coming out of drydock and have not been swimming, I do not recommend starting with base building.  Base building should be done after you have been in the water long enough to be doing your typical workout.  The base building concept will help push the middle and long-distance freestyler to the next level.

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