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16 Weeks to 1 Mile Beginner Training Plan

If you're new to swimming, or getting back into it after a break, following a training plan can help you ramp up your mileage without injury. Here's a volume-based training plan for someone just starting their training journey, with the goal of completing a 1 mile swim in 16 weeks.


Training plans are often more effective when the swimmer has planned/pre-written practices to follow, rather than swimming the distance without stopping. If you'd like custom workouts written to help you reach your distance and pace goals, email hello@swimwildwaters.com.


16 week 1 mile training plan, click to expand
1 Mile Training Plan.xlsx - Mile to 5k
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Embarking on the journey to swim a mile is a rewarding and empowering challenge. Whether you're a novice swimmer or someone looking to improve your endurance, a well-structured training plan is key to conquering the mile-long swim. In this blog post, we'll outline a comprehensive training plan that gradually builds up your strength, stamina, and technique, making the journey to swimming a mile both achievable and enjoyable.


In the initial weeks, focus on building a strong foundation by incorporating regular swimming sessions into your routine. Start with shorter distances, focusing on technique and breathing patterns. Pay attention to your strokes per length, ensuring that your strokes are efficient and your breathing is steady. Most swimmers start with 3 swims per week, building to 4 swims per week. We recommend alternating days, like swimming Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday so you have some non-swimming days for recovery.


You may need to use ice, shoulder stretches, and shoulder warm ups as you start your training journey to build up shoulder and back strength.




As you progress through the training plan, you'll notice a cycle: Focus & Build, Endurance, Sprint (with a bulk day), and Rest weeks. This cycle allows you to increase yardage while focusing on having efficient technique, then working on improving your pace and speed. Make sure you're recovering between swims, and taking advantage of the rest week (to actually rest).


Example sets you can do to set a baseline:


Test Set:

4 x 100 on the fastest interval you can complete the set in.


Kick Set:

4 x 25 as 25 kick, 25 drill, with :10 - :15 seconds rest


Endurance Set:

4 x 200 on base interval + 10 seconds (less rest)


Technique set:

6 x 75 as 25 kick, 25 drill, 25 build slow to fast on rest :15


Warm Up:

100 easy

4 x 25 on :10 rest, descend #1 slow to #4 fast

4 x 25 kick on :10 rest, descend #1 slow to #4 fast

4 x 25 GOLF on :10 rest, try to reduce your stroke count by 1 stroke each 25



Swimming a mile is a commendable achievement that requires commitment, perseverance, and a well-structured training plan. By progressively building up your distance, incorporating interval training, and fine-tuning your technique, you can turn this challenging feat into a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. Remember to listen to your body, stay consistent, and revel in the sense of accomplishment as you conquer the mile swim.


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