2 Swim Practices To Build Speed
Triathletes need the ability to settle into a steady pace and swim a long distance during a race. The goal of these two sets is to take that steady pace and make it faster!
Before launching into the workouts, you need to know the two biggest mistakes that can be made in these workouts. The first error is not going fast when it’s time to go fast. You must have a noticeable difference between your steady pace and your fast pace.
The second error is reducing the amount of recovery between swims on the first workout. Triathletes often feel that the least amount of rest during a set, the better. Not this time. You need the recovery so you can go fast.
Swim Set #1
- 200 swim
- 100 your choice of drills
- 400 pull with or without paddles
Depending on your fitness, swim speed and training time available, do three to five repeats of the set below. Before beginning, select a swim interval that is your current steady pace time, plus 40 seconds. For example, if your current steady pace is 1:40 per 100, the swim interval will be 2:20. That means leaving the wall every two minutes and twenty seconds. Actual rest time will vary depending on swim speed.
- 4 x 100 with a full minute of rest between rounds:
- #1 – Swim 75 at your current steady pace, then 25 FAST!
- #2 – Swim 50 at your current steady pace, then 50 FAST!
- #3 – Swim 25 at your current steady pace, then 75 FAST!
- #4 – Swim 100 FAST!
- Finish up with 300 pull, with or without paddles, and 100 very easy
- Total distance = 2300 to 3100
Note: Workout adapted from Anaerobic Endurance workout #7 “Workouts in a Binder for Triathletes.”
Swim Set #2
- 400 swim, 200 kick, 200 swim
- Repeat the next round once or twice. Recover 10 to 15 seconds between swims.
- 4 x 25
- #1 – 12.5 easy, 12.5 fast
- #2 – 12.5 fast, 12.5 easy
- #3 – 25 easy
- #4 – 25 fast
Before beginning the main set, select a swim interval that is your current steady 200 pace time, plus 20 seconds. Notice that the swims are longer than in the first workout and the rest is shorter.
Your “fast” won’t be quite as fast for this workout as it was for the first one. That’s okay. Just be sure there is a noticeable difference in speed. For example, if current steady pace is 3:20 per 200, swim interval is 3:40. That means leaving the wall every three minutes and forty seconds.
Actual rest time will vary depending on the swim speed of each 200.
- 7 x 200
- #1 – Swim 50 fast, 150 easy (be careful not to go too easy or you won’t make the swim interval)
- #2 – Swim 100 fast, 100 easy
- #3 – Swim 150 fast, 50 easy
- #4 – Swim 200 fast
- #5 – Swim 150 fast, 50 easy
- #6 – Swim 100 fast, 100 easy
- #7 – Swim 50 fast, 150 easy
Take 1 full minute of rest and go right into 100s. Select a swim interval on this one that is 15 seconds over your steady pace. For example, if your current steady pace is 1:40 per 100, your swim interval will be 1:55.
- 7 x 100
- #1 – Swim 25 fast, 75 easy
- #2 – Swim 50 fast, 50 easy
- #3 – Swim 75 fast, 25 easy
- #4 – Swim 100 fast
- #5 – Swim 75 fast, 25 easy
- #6 – Swim 50 fast, 50 easy
- #7 – Swim 25 fast, 75 easy
Depending on your goals and fitness level, repeat a second round of the 100s.
- Swim 200 very easy
- Total distance 3200 to 4000
Note: Thanks to swim coach Doug Garcia for the main set.
Be sure to go into these swim sets relatively fresh. If you are wiped out from previous runs, bike rides or life chores it is best to just do an easy swim and come back to these workouts later when you can go faster.