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A few lengths of kicking is a good way to warm up or cool down from your half-mile workout.
Mark Dadswell/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
You need to swim 36 lengths --18 laps -- in a 25-yard pool to complete a half-mile workout. To cover the same distance in a 50-meter pool you'll need to do 16 lengths, or eight laps. Swimmers can also work out in open water, tracking mileage either on marked courses at lakes and beaches, or with a waterproof GPS wristwatch. How you swim your half-mile workout will depend upon your goal, whether it's fitness, training for a triathlon, as a way to stay in shape while recovering from an injury or as a cross-training supplement to running or another fitness routine.
A half-mile workout can help you reach your fitness goals. Swimming is an excellent way to stay in shape, and a half-mile swim provides a cardiovascular workout that continuously works all the large muscle groups in your body without stressing your joints. Not only does swimming get your heart rate up and burn calories, working out in water comes with the benefit of water's built-in resistance, which helps build and tone muscles. If fitness is your goal, a 900-yard workout of continuous swimming -- stopping to catch your breath as needed -- can include any combination of swim strokes to help you achieve the desired results.
Pool Triathlon Training
Swimming a half mile in the pool or in open water will help you be ready for the swimming leg of your next mini-sprint or sprint-distance triathlon. If you're new to triathlons, try swimming three to four times a week to work on technique without worrying about fatigue, which can negatively impact your technique. A 30-minute, half mile of freestyle workout should include a few lengths of kicking or easy swimming to warm up. A combination of pulls, kicks and catch-up drills, topped off with another couple of lengths of kicking or easy swimming to cool down will help you fine-tune your arms, legs and breathing techniques.
Open Water Triathlon Training
Many triathletes like to train in open water at least once or twice before a competition, where the absence of lane ropes means you'll have to rely on your sighting skills, lifting your head now and then to orient yourself to the shoreline and buoy markers. Because you won't be able to count pool lengths to note distance, you may want to invest in a waterproof GPS wristwatch. You can also check with local swim clubs and triathlon organizations for open water beaches in your area that provide marked training courses.
Cross-Training and Injury Recovery
Swimming is an ideal cross-training workout for runners because it works different muscles, allowing running muscles to rest while still getting the benefits of a good workout. As an added bonus, swimming a half-mile in about 30 minutes provides runners with upper body conditioning they don't get with running. Combine freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke to work different muscle groups, Runner's World suggests. If you've been injured, your doctor may restrict you from running, biking or other exercise, but may give you the go-ahead to swim. A low-impact half-mile swim using any combination of swimming, kicking or pulling drills that don't irritate your injury can help you stay in shape while on the road to recovery.