If trying a triathlon is one of your fitness goal for 2011 don't be intimidated by the swim. I know many experienced runners and cyclist who harbor deep fears of the swimming. While getting your heart rate up in the water is completely different than sweating it out on land, running/biking and swimming complement each other nicely. Running and biking work the legs, swimming works the upper body, and all three build your cardio endurance. If you're ready to make friends with the pool, I have found a great beginner program to get you swimming a mile in six weeks.
Swimming, like running, takes some time to build up the endurance needed for lengthy workouts. With running the first benchmark is the 5k, and with swimming it's a mile, which I learned from Kazes is 1650 yards (1500 meters), not 1760 yards. Curious to see what the first workout looks like? Then read more.
Here's an example of the workout for the first week, which you should complete three times in seven days.
4 x 100 yards – rest for 12 breaths (total = 400 yards, or 16 laps* in a 25 yard length pool)
4 x 50 yards – rest for 8 breaths (total = 200 yards, or 8 laps)
4 x 25 yards – rest for 4 breaths (total = 100 yards, or 4 laps)
Total: 700 yards
*A swim coach at Equinox schooled me that a lap is the length of a pool in swimmer speak. I had previously thought it was there and back, but no. A lap is a length.
I feel that twenty-eight laps are totally doable, right? Remember, that you take breaks between to catch your breath, which is similar to taking walking breaks when starting a running program. After swimming 100 yards, you take a rest to take 12 breaths. Then you repeat swimming 100 yards three more times, with breaks, until you complete the set. Each week you add 50 to 200 yards to your workout to slowly build up endurance and conquer the mile! Who's ready to take the plunge?