Use this swim to work on your off strokes and build all-around fitness.

Though triathletes obviously only race with one stroke, because of the demands placed on our bodies out in the open water—currents, choppy conditions, changing paces, other triathletes around us, and so on—it’s essential that we become three-dimensional swimmers. Working on non-free sets gives us a better sense of how we move in the water and also allows us to build strength in the areas outside of our straight-line freestyle comfort zone: breathing in a calm pool lane all alone is entirely different than having to sight, breathe, and swim with hundreds of other bodies around.

This week’s workout is meant to cause a slight bit of muscle confusion (this is a good thing) so we can adapt to unpredictable conditions when they pop up and still feel confident in our abilities—even when we haven’t trained for a specific situation.

The format behind this workout is once you knock out three repeats of each non-free swim, you’ve “struck out” the stroke and can move on to the next one (imagine yourself as the pitcher here). This workout will likely be tough the first time you try it, so be patient and after a few sessions, you’ll feel more comfortable and adapted—what we’re shooting for in the open water, as well.

Warm-up:
200 swim easy
4 x 100 as 50 drill/50 swim
4 x 50 as 25 easy/ 25 build to a Rate of Perceived Exertion 7/10

Main Set:
50 free as 25 swim/25 heads up @ 7/10, 10 seconds rest
25 fly @ 6/10, 15 seconds rest

50 free as 25 swim/25 heads up @ 7/10, 10 seconds rest
25 fly @ 6/10, 15 seconds rest
50 free as 25 swim/ 25 sight every two breaths @ 8/10, 10 seconds rest
25 fly @ 7/10, 20 seconds rest

50 free as 25 swim/25 heads up @ 7/10, 10 seconds rest
25 fly @ 6/10, 15 seconds rest
50 free as 25 swim/ 25 sight every two breaths @ 8/10, 10 seconds rest
25 fly @ 7/10, 15 seconds rest
50 free @ 9/10, 10 seconds rest
25 fly @ 8/10, 20 seconds rest

Then do same as above with 50 backstroke instead of 25 fly and then same as above with 50 breaststroke

Cool-down:
200 free easy

Total: 2,650