Movies have always conveyed us the idea that achieving good sporting results you need to train hard and restless.
But reality often disproves fiction. Especially in swimming.
Due to the fact that it takes place in an unnatural environment, swimming requires long adaptation times. Then asking the question of the title becomes fundamental.
Is it better to train twice a week for 90 minutes or three times for an hour? Or even four times 45 minutes?
A true answer that works for everyone does not exist. It depends on your goals, your technical and fitness level and the availability of time.
In general terms, which can satisfy the majority of swimmers of all levels and ages, my preference is for a larger split.
Unless you are preparing an Ironman or you are a competitive swimmer eager to participate in the next Olympics in open water events.
Reducing the duration of a single session has several upsides.
First of all, you always work in the best mental and physical conditions. Elite athletes must maintain their efficiency even under pressure or when they are extremely tired. If you are an amateur or a masters, you can focus on the main sets and leave out the complementary ones.
Furthermore, all non-elite athletes can greatly benefit from improving technique. This can be achieved by working in conditions of physical and mental freshness.
Another important point is being able to often repeat drills and skills that you are working on. Reducing the gap between sessions allows you to improve and speed up this process.
Also, remember that the swimmer "must" stay in the water. Staying there for many hours with little attention is certainly worse than having short, intense workouts in which to improve the feeling with the liquid environment.
And, finally, consider the fact that training is only a small part of your day. So, too long and exhausting sessions can affect the rest of your time.
So, my advice is to do more sessions. More effective, with high attention to detail, physical freshness and full awareness of not having wasted your time.
Over the last few years I have developed some strategies to make your workouts more effective. I will be happy to talk about your specific needs.