This spooky interval workout will leave your nerves frayed and your shoulders feeling like ghosts.

Even more important than in regular pool swimming, strength is a key component in the open-water. Changing conditions, waves, other athletes, changes in pace around buoys, and the obvious need to keep your heart rate at a manageable level for T1, the bike, and the run all means that you need to have a strong swim stroke. This week’s workout not only focuses on pulling with some unusual open-water-specific sighting, but it also draws a little inspiration from the Halloween season.

The purpose of the “horror” section (* see below) of the main set is to get as comfortable as possible with swimming straight and sighting effectively when in a crowd or extremely murky water. Be sure you feel confident enough with your swimming that you won’t crash into a lane line, only do it in a totally empty lane, and do only 13 strokes to be sure you don’t get remotely close to the oncoming wall.

Though this workout can be done before or after a tough bike or run, be sure to give adequate rest in the pool during the following days, as your swim muscles will be stressed and could cause a breakdown in form if pushed too hard. Also, avoid doing this set under a full moon!

Warm-up:
200 easy swim
4 x 50 as 25 drill/25 swim
13 x 25 swim build 1-4 to 7/10, last one 8/10, 5 seconds rest

Main Set:
300 pull buoy, paddles, snorkel 6/10, 13 seconds rest
6 x 50 swim 6/10 with 6 seconds rest*
300 pull buoy, paddles, snorkel 7/10, 13 seconds rest
6 x 50 swim 6/10 with 6 seconds rest*
300 pull buoy, paddles, snorkel 8/10, 13 seconds rest
6 x 50 swim 6/10 with 6 seconds rest*

Cool-down:
500 pull buoy swim easy

* During the “horror” section of the main set, after pushing off the wall, keep your eyes closed underwater, only opening them to sight every three strokes for the first 13 strokes each length. Caution: Only do it this in an empty lane and only for the first 13 strokes per length on a 25m or 25yd. pool.