Swim Workout Library

Need help with definitions or T-pace?  Scroll to the bottom of this page.

Workout #14

This is a favorite Brad Williams workout - a long swim.  If you have an Ironman distance race in your future - shoot for swimming your predicted race time.  Half Iron Distance or Olympic - shoot for an hour.  Sprint - 30 minutes. If you’ve never done a long pool swim before, it might take a couple of tries for you to get to swim that long in one shot. It can be both physically and mentally taxing.

This is a straight swim - no stopping!  Get in and warm up for the first 300 yards or so, and then continue swimming at a pace you can maintain for the remainder of the time.  If there’s a clock you can see while swimming, keep an eye on it and check your pace for consistency.

Try and get your goggles and cap set perfectly prior to starting so you don’t have to stop to adjust. If you must adjust, do it quickly and get right back to swimming.

 

Discipline yourself to do fast turns at the wall - flipping is great, but if you do open turns, take only one breath and go.  This is a quick little video for open turns.

Long swims tire a whole different group of muscles - deeper ones that don’t get fatigued in an interval swim. When something new starts to get tired and cranky, be thankful for the opportunity you’ve discovered to get even stronger!

Workout #13

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

4 x 75

Swim - #1, #3 moderate effort, #2 & #4 hard

T-pace + 15 sec

5 x 50

Swim - lower # of strokes with each 50. Moderate effort.  

Rest 10 seconds between

3 x 100

Swim Hard effort

T-pace + 20 sec

Repeat the previous 3 for a total of 3 times through

4 x 125

Paddles

Cool down

1 x 200

Cool Down.  Easy Swim

Workout #12

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

6 x 75

25  closed fist, 25 fingertip-drag, 25 thumb flick

Rest :10 sec between

2 x 300

Race Pace

T-pace + 15 seconds

4 x 50

Pull with paddles

Rest 10 seconds between

2 x 300

Race Pace

T-pace + 15 seconds

4 x 50

Pull with paddles

Rest 10 seconds between

2 x 300

Race Pace

T-pace + 15 seconds

4 x 50

Pull with paddles

Rest 10 seconds between

1 x 200

Cool Down.  Easy Swim

Workout #11

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

6 x 50

Drills:  

#1 &#2:  25 heads up, 25 free

#3 & #4:  25 catch up, 25 free

#5 & #6:  25 fist drill, 25 free

15 seconds rest between each

6 x 125

Swim.  

Pick a send-off that gives you 10-15 seconds rest.

2 x 100

Kick with fins (no board)  25 on front, 25 on left side, 25 on back, 25 on right side.

20 seconds rest between each

6 x 125

Swim.  

Pick a send-off that gives you 10-15 seconds rest.

2 x 100

Kick with fins (no board)  25 on front, 25 on left side, 25 on back, 25 on right side.

20 seconds rest between each

5 x 50

Focus on Distance per stroke and long, underwater streamline off each wall.

20 seconds rest between each

1 x 200

Cool Down.  Easy Swim

Workout #10

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

4 x 100

Use Fins. 75 yard Build, 25 sprint kick on your front or back in streamline position. If on front, take one stroke to get a breath when you need it

20 seconds rest

1 x 50

Easy freestyle to get heartrate down

Ladder

50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, 250, 200, 150, 100, 50.

First and last 50 of every ‘00’ distance are sprint.  Middle 50 of every ‘50’ distance is a sprint.  Remaining laps are at your T-pace

T-Pace + 20 seconds

Eliminate distances from the middle of the ladder if you need a shorter set.

As written, it’s 1800 yards.

8 x 25

Odd 25’s, Sprint. Even 25’s, Great Form

10 seconds rest

1 x 100

Cool Down while thinking about how awesome you are!!!  

Workout #9

This is a good return-to-the-pool set if you’ve been away for awhile. It’s a little bit of everything.

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

8 x 50

Kick at 80% effort with fins and use a kickboard

Settle into a timed send-off that gives you an average of about 10 seconds rest.  Your rest will  probably get shorter as you get tired.

8 x 50

Use Fins

Swim underwater in a beautiful streamline for 6-8 kicks off each wall - finish each length with perfect freestyle

Repeat this shaded workout below for a total of twice through

Repeat this shaded workout below for a total of twice through

4 x 100

Hard 100’s

T-pace + 5 seconds

1 x 400

Pull with paddles and buoy

70% effort - (moderate).  Focus on great form.  rest 1 minute

4 x 50

Hard 50’s

Settle on timed send-off that gives you 20 seconds rest

1 x 100

Cool Down

Workout #8

This main set moves from focusing on form to anaerobic efforts with little recovery.  Challenge yourself and swim hard!

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

4 x 75

25 drill, 50 Build* (see definition below)

T-pace plus 20 seconds

20 x 100

Swim 20 100’s in groups of 4. Each set of 4 will have a send-off 5 seconds shorter than the one before.

Choose the 100 send-off that is very difficult but not impossible for you to make. In the below example, we used 1:30 for that send-off. For that person,  The set would be as follows:

4 x 100: 1:50

4 s 100: 1:45

4 x 100: 1:40

4 x 100: 1:35

4 x 100: 1:30

There are no breaks between the sets. Keep swimming!  Use the first couple of sets to focus on great form - as the sets get more challenging, challenge yourself to swim harder but with good form.

8 x 25

Sprint 25’s - your fastest ever!!

20 seconds rest between

1 x 100

Cool Down

Workout #7

This one is a good distance set - nothing fancy, but if you need to get yards in, this is for you.

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

4 x 500

#1 & #3, core shorts or buoy optional

#2 & #4, Pull with paddles and buoy

T-pace + 30 seconds

12 x 75

These 75’s get harder as you move through the set because the rest gets shorter.  Try and hold a steady pace throughout.

#1 -  4:  T-pace + 15

#5 -  8:  T-pace + 10

$9 - 12: T-pace + 5

1 x 100

Coold Down

Workout #6

This is one of my favorite workouts when I don’t want to swim a LOT, but I’m up for swimming hard.   It’s also great with a group of friends because there’s a lot of rest time to chat or trash talk.  :)  Don’t be afraid to try different things to get your time down.  The objective here is to swim each of the intervals as fast as possible. Watch the clock so you know if your experiments are working.  For example you could try imagining you head and chest are riding high in the water,  push harder and longer off the wall, improve your streamline position off the wall, kick more, kick less(?), no pull buoy, yes pull buoy, hands deeper on entry, following through on your stroke more completely….there’s no end to what you can try to get a little faster.

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

6-8 x 100’s

All-out 100’s.  

1 minute rest between each.  FULL recovery.  

6 or 8 x 75’s

All-out

50 seconds rest between each

6-8 x 50’s

All out...again

40 seconds rest

6 or 8 x 25’s

All out

30 seconds rest

200

Easy swim to cool down.

Workout #5

Distance

Explanation

Send-off

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

6 x 50

1st 25 long underwater, 2nd 25 fast.  With Fins

10 sec rest

1600

Ladder:  25/50/75/100/125/150/175/200/175/150/

125/100/75/50/25.   Every time you leave the far wall (opposite the wall you start on), swim the first 50 sprint.  All other laps are cruise pace - 75-80%.

10 sec rest

1 x 50

easy recovery lap

6 x 50

Descend 1-3, 4-6

1:00 send off or a sendoff that gives you about 5 sec  rest after the easy 50’s and 10 or more sec rest after the hard 50’s

5 x 50

25 closed fist, 25 free.  Focus on tight core, strong forearm pulls. Be aware of the pull on the 2nd 25

10 sec rest

1 x 100

Cool Down

Total yards  3000

Workout #4

Distance

Explanation

Send-off

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

8 x 25

With fins.  Descend 1-4, 5-8

5 sec rest

8 x 50

With Fins Descend 1-4, 5-8

10 sec rest

1 x 200,        4 x 25

Repeat this 3-4 times through. If you have extra time, you can choose to add 2 more with paddles and buoy.

The 200:  T-pace + :15

The 25’s:  :30 or :40.  Your choice

1 x 500

Moderate pace.  The first 25 of every 100 insert a drill.  Catch-up, fist drill, fingertip drag.

100

Cool Down

Workout #3

Mike Murphy’s Monday night workout. Thanks Mike!  

Distance

Explanation

Send-off

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

8 x 50

Fins.  1st 25 kick - streamlined underwater. Surface to breathe when you need to. 2nd 25 freestyle

10 sec rest

4 x 100

25 Sprint, 75 active recovery

T-pace + 20 seconds

2 x 200

50 Sprint, 150 active recovery

T-pace + 30 seconds

1 x 400

100 Sprint, 300 active recovery

4 x 50

Drills:  1-2, Catch-up.  3-4,  Finger-tip Drag

No set send-off.

50 or 100

Cool Down - EASY swim.  Way to go!

Workout #2

Remember to refer to the explanation of T-pace below to figure out send-offs.  

Distance

Explanation

Send-off

300-500

Warm-up - build in speed.  

10 minutes total

6 x 50

Descend* 1-3, 4-6.  

1:00 or T-pace + 20 seconds

4 x 100

Freestyle (hard effort, about 10 sec rest between)

T-pace plus 15 seconds

1 x 400

Pull with Paddles & Buoy (moderate effort. concentrate on long efficient pulls)

Time to transition from pull gear to fins - then get going

4 x 50

Freestyle with fins - Sprint!

T-pace + 15 seconds

4 x 100

Freestyle (hard effort, about 10 sec rest between)

T-pace plus 10 seconds

1 x 400

Pull with Paddles & Buoy (moderate effort. concentrate on long efficient pulls)

Time to transition from pull gear to fins - then get going

4 x 50

Freestyle with fins - Sprint!

T-pace + 10 seconds

100-200

Cool down

*Find definitions at the bottom of this page

Workout #1

This workout was Mike Murphy’s 1/4 Monday Night workout.  Thanks Mike!  Depending on your pace, this might take you more than an hour.

10 minute warm-up.

Distance

Explanation

Send-off

16 x 25

1-4, Easy.   5-8, Hard.  9-12, Easy.  13-16, Hard.

T-pace + 10 seconds

12 x 50

1-3, Easy.  4-6, Hard.   7-9, Easy.  10-12, Hard.

T-pace + 15 seconds

8 x 75

1-2, Easy.  3-4, Hard.  5-6, Easy.  7-8, Hard

T-pace + 15 seconds

6 x 100

Hard.  :)

T-pace + 40 seconds

4 x 50

1-2, Catch-up.  3-4,  Finger-tip Drag

No send-off.  Your choice

50 or 100

Cool Down - EASY swim.  Way to go!

If you need help figuring out your send-offs, email or text Patty!  patty@weraisethebar.com 206 779 7727

DEFINITIONS

Build:

This term refers to a steady increase in effort during the given distance. For example, 4x50 build...start each 50 very easy, build your effort to medium near the middle, increase to fast as you approach the end of the 50.

Descend:  

Descending sets ask you to swim each repetition faster than the previous.

For example, the following set:

6x 50: Descend 1-3, 4-6

# 1 & #4 are both easy.  #2 & #5 are medium, #3 & #6 are hard.

Drill:

Unless a specific drill is mentioned in the workout, you may choose the freestyle drill that you like or prefer. A "drill" refers to anything that emphasizes one aspect of the freestyle stroke to help the swimmer improve. Examples are: catch-up drill, fingertip-drag, single-arm drill, etc.

Pull:

This refers to adding any type of equipment that emphasizes the pull and minimizes the leg/kicking action. Pull buoys are the basic addition for a "pull" set. Paddles are OPTIONAL and should be used only with a correct swim stroke and when the athlete has built sufficient strength.

T-Pace:

T-pace is a term used to describe the “Threshold Pace”, or sometimes called the “Training Pace”.  It’s the term used for a pace that can be sustained for a minimum time or distance.  For the purpose of these workouts, do the test below to determine your T-pace, and then use that number to calculate your send-offs.  

3 x 300 T-pace test:

Swim 3 trials of 300 yards each with 30 seconds rest in between. Each 300 yard swim should be within 15 seconds of each other. This ensures that you are not starting out too fast and fading for the third. If you’re pacing the 300s well, then just add the total time together for the 3 trials and divide by 9 to get your time per 100 yards/meters. This is your T-pace time for triathlon swimming.

Example:   Your T-pace ended up being 2:05 and you’re going to do a set of four 200’s.

4 x 200:    Send-off: T-pace + 20.       The T-pace is 2:05 per 100, so you double that for a 200 - 4:05.  Add 20 seconds and your send-off is 4:25.   That’s means you’ll leave the wall for your each 200 4:25 after you started the last one.  Voila!