Break up your pool time with this easy-to-digest session built exclusively around 100 repeats.

Break up your pool time with this easy-to-digest session built exclusively around 100 repeats.

Swimming’s a weird beast, isn’t it? If you had to head out and do endless 400 repeats on the track, you’d probably start weeping before you even finished tying your shoes. If you had to go out on the bike and do 40 rounds of 1-minute efforts on the road (or, God forbid, on the trainer), you’d probably get dizzy just trying to keep track where you were in the set. But in swimming, doing 100 repeats is the bread and butter of a psychologically sound pool session (we’ll forget about the dreaded 100 x 100s for the sake of discussion).

In the pool, the 100 is the perfect distance, whether it’s short course or long course: 100 is just enough time to get your heart rate up and build fitness/strength, but not enough time to go insane staring at the black line and—more importantly—lose your technique. The idea behind this workout is based on the concept that you should be able to maintain your form while pushing the proper pace without losing focus on each round; don’t think about the set or workout as a whole, but treat each 100 as its own thing.

Because this workout is of a moderate length and intensity, don’t feel the need for an easy day before or after. This session can be done before a tough bike or run, but immediately following a big leg session, you may run into a bit of trouble. Be sure you pay close attention to your pace after the first few 100s, you’ll want to either maintain or lower that 100 time—based on the indicated effort—as the workout goes. It’s important not to begin this session too fast and slow down as you tire.

Difficulty:  (out of five)

Recovery Required:  (out of five)

Warm-up:
4×100 swim easy, 10 seconds rest, reset your form at the beginning of each 100
4×100 as 50 drill/50 swim as (one-arm swim per 25, sculling, fingertip drag, kick-only breathe to each side), 15 seconds rest
2×100 as 50 build to fast/50 at Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) 7/10, 10 seconds rest

Main Set:
2×100 at 7/10 effort, 10 seconds rest
100 at 5/10 effort, 10 seconds rest
4×100 at 7/10 effort, 10 seconds rest
2×100 at 8/10 effort, 15 seconds rest
100 at 5/10 effort, 10 seconds rest
6×100 at 7/10 effort, 10 seconds rest
4×100 at 8/10 effort, 15 seconds rest
2×100 at 9/10 effort, 20 seconds rest

Cool-down:
2×100 at 5/10 effort with paddles, 15 seconds rest
2×100 at 4/10 effort with pull buoy, 10 seconds rest
100 easy swim

Total: 3,700