By Karin Krisher
All this Michael Phelps business has made me want to jump right in the pool and kick my feet like fish. But reality sets in every time I get to the edge: I’m not Michael Phelps, and unfortunately, I’m not a fish. So I asked Emily and Sara, FoodScience’s resident marathoners and swimmers, how to get started. Here, we share some tips, and a great swim workout to help beginners get their Nemo on.
First, get a bathing cap. It will make the workout at least 100 percent simpler. Take a lesson in putting it on. Ask a friend or check out some Youtube videos to perfect the technique.
While you’re at the swim/sports section, snag some goggles, so you can open your eyes without instant regret.
Finally, jump in. Don’t overestimate your capabilities. Swimming is hard. Like train-your-whole-life hard. Emily says it would be reasonable to work up to 500 yards as a serious swimming workout. In a standard pool, that’s about 20 lengths. If you want to do less, or intervals, check the length of the pool and do some quick arithmetic to determine how many laps you should strive for.
Sara wants you to remember that you might get a butt kicking—so much so that hoisting yourself out of the pool could prove difficult! Be prepared to feel exhausted.
I haven’t tried my workout yet. But when I do, I’ll use this template, courtesy of Emily:
After a warm-up, swim:
500 yards total.
100 yard swim:
“Swim” here means freestyle stroke, which I didn’t know either.
100 yard kick:
Grab a boogie board and have it stretched out in front of you. Kick your way across the pool.
100 yard IM:
IM stands for individual medley, which involves four strokes. In this case, it would consist of 25 yards each of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, in that order.
100 yard pull:
The opposite of a kick. Swim with a “pull buoy” between your legs, allowing them to trail behind you while you use your arms to propel you 100 yards.
100 yard swim:
See the first exercise!
Whatever you do, don’t feel discouraged. We’re land animals. We act like it about 99 percent of the time. It’s OK to take it slow, and OK to learn as you go. Just be sure to stretch, warm-up, and most importantly, to enjoy yourself.