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1 Mile Swimming Workouts

author image Barrett Barlowe
Barrett Barlowe is an award-winning writer and artist specializing in fitness, health, real estate, fine arts, and home and gardening. She is a former professional cook as well as a digital and traditional artist with many major film credits. Barlowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and French and a Master of Fine Arts in film animation.
1 Mile Swimming Workouts
A young swimmer wearing goggles and swimming laps in a pool. Photo Credit Joanna Vidad/Hemera/Getty Images


One-mile swimming workouts are ideal for performing before or after work. The distance is not overly long, allowing most swimmers to finish in less than one hour. In a 50-meter pool, one mile equals 16 laps or 32 lengths of the pool for a total of 1,600 meters. Gentle stretching before and after a workout can help swimmers avoid injuries.

Sprint Workout

Sprint workouts focus on short, fast sets. Intense exertion forces the body to rely on anaerobic metabolism for energy. Anaerobic metabolism operates in the absence of oxygen and uses existing stores of glycogen in muscle tissue to produce short bursts of speed. Follow this 1,600-meter workout routine: Warm up by swimming 400 meters freestyle, and then swim two sets of 500-meter freestyle. Build speed throughout each set, using an easy pace for the first 100 and increasing speed with each 100 meters until going all out for the final 100. Wind down by swimming with fins for 200 meters.

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Aerobic Workout

Aerobic workouts are long and steady. Having lots of available oxygen during a moderate swim makes longer workouts possible. Glycogen provides fuel and with oxygen rebuilds the muscles' energy factory, also known as adenosine triphosphate. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is a molecule in muscle cells that makes possible muscle contraction and propulsion in the water. Follow this 1,600-meter workout routine: Warm up by swimming 400 meters, swimming the last lap faster than the first lap. Then, swim two sets of 300 meters freestyle at a moderate pace. Do one minute vertical kicking before swimming 400 meters freestyle, focusing on length per stroke. Wind down with 200 meters using fins.

Stroke and Kick Workout

Focusing on stroke technique and kicking strength helps overall swimming skills. Proper technique and kicking helps align the body better in the water and can help prevent injuries to the shoulders and other parts of the upper body. Follow this 1,600-meter workout routine: Warm up by swimming 200 meters freestyle and 200 meters backstroke, and then swim 400 meters pulling with paddles. Pulling means swimming with the upper body only, letting the legs trail behind. Use a pull buoy placed between the thighs to keep the legs from sinking. Focus on keeping the elbows high and on your body rotation. Then, swim four sets of 100 meter individual medley. This term describes swimming 25 meters butterfly, 25 meters backstroke, 25 meters breaststroke and 25 meters freestyle for each 100-meter set. Kick over the last 200 meters using a fast flutter kick, and then wind down with an easy 200-meter swim.

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