1. Open-water swim workout (total time: 60 to 70 mins)
Open-water sessions are fun when done in a group environment and simulate race conditions with other athletes. It’s easy to go for an open-water swim on your own and do intervals, but that won’t prepare you as well for race conditions (with arms and legs are flying around you and having to do buoy turns and navigation). I get my athletes do their open water sessions as key swims for the week. My advice: Gather a group of training partners and hit the water!
10 to 15 mins easy swimming warm-up
4 x (10 strokes hard, 10 strokes easy, 20 strokes hard, 20 strokes easy, 30 strokes hard, 30 strokes easy, 20 strokes hard, 20 strokes easy, 10 strokes hard, 10 strokes easy); 30 secs rest between each set
4x (20 strokes butterfly, 20 strokes backstroke, 20 strokes breaststroke, 20 strokes freestyle) Descend sets 1 to 4 (first set is easy, fourth set is hard) 20 secs rest between each set
3 to 5 minutes easy swimming back to shore
8 to 10 x running start out to, and around, buoy and back to shore (approx. 8 to 10 x 150 to 200 m efforts) with 1 min rest between.
- Use a buoy/marker of some sort that is approx. 75-100m off shore
- Start each effort as a group (as you would in a race start)
- Rest is 1min after final finisher
- Stagger start if large numbers (weaker swimmers slightly before stronger swimmers, so they meet at marker together)
- Shore to buoy/marker efforts are the odd numbers
- Buoy/marker to shore efforts are even numbers
- When running out: high knees, strong arm drive, duck diving if possible, high stride rate, good sighting, drafting.
- When racing in: with waves, watching under your arm for wave to pick you up, staying stiff on wave, knowing when to stand up, run up beach hard
- Option: If doing in surf and wave running, then the efforts can be broken into 16 – 20 x 75 m where you race each way (i.e., shore to buoy, rest and re-group and then from buoy to beach trying to catch wave in and run up beach)
- Option: If wanting longer efforts, use buoy further away and adjust intensity (ie., 8 x 300 efforts)
10 to 15 mins easy swimming
2. Pool swim workout (total distance: 5500m)
This set simulates a triathlon swim where the pace is always fast at beginning, then it settles after a while and you get into pack, then it can tend to finish strong as people starting thinking about getting out of the water. The kick is to simulate getting on the bike.
400 m easy swim warm-up
300 m alternate 50 free/50 non-free
200 kick with board
(all with 20 sec rest at easy/steady intensity)
10 x 50 build on 1 min (get faster throughout each 50m effort, last 5m hard with no breathing)
6 x 450 m (400 swim, 50 m kick with Board). The 400 swim is 100m hard, 250 m moderate, then 50 m hard straight into 50 m kick hard with board.
Make sure there are pace changes within the 400’s
200m easy backstroke recovery
1-4-1 “Loco” with pull gear. This is a 800 m set where you do a ladder as follows: 25 m hard, 25 m steady, 50 m hard, 50 m steady, 75 m hard, 75 m steady, 100 m hard, 100 m steady, 75 m hard, 75 m steady, 50 m hard, 50 m steady, 25 m hard, 25 m steady.
Make sure there is a pace change between steady and hard and don’t do all at same pace.
300m easy with 30 secs rest