One a day or two a day training?

tortugatortuga Senior Member
edited March 2014 in Beginner Questions
Which is more beneficial? One 2+ hour training session daily or two 1+ hour sessions?


  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I don't think they are easily exchangeable like that. Training requires recovery to be effective. Doing doubles takes a lot out of a swimmer, because the recovery time is obviously less, regardless of distance/time. Certainly doubles are effective in training but that comes with building up to a state where you can handle them, and also require more carefully planning the meso training cycle as a consequence.So there's a lot of individual factors.

  • For me, it depends on the time of the year and my current goal. When I am not spending my whole weekend engaged in double super long swims that i have to save energy for, I generally spend my week similar to college training: MWF double practices, Tues/Thur single but with heavier dryland, like running. It is like building my base for the really heavy time to come. Morning practices are 90 minutes and night practices are 2 hours. Lately, I've only done single workouts during the week because otherwise I woudln't ready for the weekend workouts..
    You really do improve during the recovery time. And I firmly believe that marathon swimming, just like competitve pool swimming, has to go through similar yearly training cycles to not only be most effective, but prevent injury and burn out. I'm looking forward VERY MUCH to a taper time in only a little over a week! And then a period where I'll go back to more dryland/injury prevention, and stroke work. The cycle just continues. Like seasons of weather.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited March 2014
    I'm a believer that one longer workout is better than splitting it up if your preparing for a long race. A longer workout gives you more time training in what I call the "red zone". More reps during a point in time where your body and mind are working at a high level. You'll get more out of doing 10X400s in one stretch versus splitting the set in half over two workouts. You get the full experience of doing 400s 6-10 and pushing yourself beyond a point that you wouldn't get the benefit of in a shorter workout.

    If time isn't a factor, I would value two workouts more if the sum of time/yardage in the water is greater than the single swim. Splitting a workout 50/50 is essentially taking a several hour break on the wall thereby killing your momentum.

    However, I've discovered that splitting up a days training into 2 workouts has it's benefits. I did a bunch of pool meets in 2008-09. My pool in Texas got up to the high 80s in the summertime. We would often use morning workout to get long and easy yardage in. I would meet my coach at a different pool over lunch that was indoors. Since I had a morning swim, I was able to warm up pretty fast. After that, my main set (@ 3000 yards) would be at max performance with regards to short intervals and/or race pace. I was training to chase age group pool records at that time.

    Each option has it's benefits and it's up to you to decide what your particular goal is at that particular time.
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    I'll just continue to sit here reading you guys, jealous that you've got enough time to consider one long or two not-as-long workouts a day. ;)

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • I swim doubles 4 days out of six a week, for a total of 10 training swims. As background, I am training for a 5 day stage swim event of mileage between 3-5 miles per day. I trained for a shorter distance 5 day stage swim this past year and the energy demands for a sustained week of daily racing is---WOW--different than being ready for one big one day effort. I'm not yet doing the distances and events that this forum is primarily about, so I hope that it's ok that I chime in with my experiences. I'm a couple years out from 10 mile events I would suppose. I also have needs to build speed as well as distance tolerance at this point in my swimming. Speed is much more incremental in growth for me than distance--I have not yet swum to the point of "I cannot anymore".

    The first workout of the day is the quality, "deliberate", primary workout of the day. I hit that one as prime importance. The poster above that mentioned the importance of doing high quality intense repeats all at once is correct and that's put first in the day for now. The second one is a base workout that stays the same and is about recovery and/or strength building. Always at least 4 hours between these workouts, and the 2nd one gets ditched if life or exhaustion intervenes to make it impossible. I pretty much make it always possible cause I'm crazy that way.

    I have my suspicions that as I train over the next few years that these doubles will have an interesting effect on building my ability to truly swim all day.

    I am fortunate in that I have a coach that designs what I do day to day and across the season and years. I also am a lucky lady in that I work at an aquatic facility so my training works with my actual work, and my family supports the time demands of my insanity. I'd be crazier without it, and they know it!:)

    All that to just make the point that doubles can be beneficial depending on your events, your swim background, and your ability to actually swim 2x/day!
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    IronMike wrote:
    I'll just continue to sit here reading you guys, jealous that you've got enough time to consider one long or two not-as-long workouts a day. ;)

    Not me. Having my sixth operation this Friday on my F-ed up back/hip. Comeback delayed again.

    I did push a :58.5 100 free this AM, so you may live vicariously through me in that respect.
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    I shall, Chris (@swimmer25k)

    Was that SCY? Holy crap.

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNSenior Member
    I'm living vicariously through you for sure, Chris.
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Charter Member
    edited March 2014
    flystorms wrote:
    I'm living vicariously through you for sure, Chris.

    Thanks. I about had a heart attack! This is the most out of shape since back in 1994 when I started swimming again after blowing off the last few years of college swimming.

    My back injury lets me swim some token workouts a few times a week, but nobodyb would mistake them as actual training.

    I'd give almost anything to grind out 70k a week and pay a $1500 entry fee again. I live through you guys!
  • HollyTHollyT Member

    SO it's an old thread, but I'll jump in as I just had this conversation with my coach this week.
    2 a days are helpful in two situations. Maybe more.

    First one: you are new, recovering, or working on a specific stroke problem. It is better to do shorter sessions where you can focus and do good work than a long session where you get really tired at the end, and your technique etc fall apart.

    Second situation: you are very fit and have the time to put in two excellent sessions.
    I'm right now trying to correct an issue with my catch, and I am coming back from back injury, so I'm in the first one. Two a days can be a super effective tool to build base and endurance, but that said, once a week I still do one long swim....

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