This workout helps build top-end speed and helps you improve your ability to change pace, which is a vital skill all triathlon swimmers need to learn.

It’s all too tempting to go to the pool and mindlessly swim up and down, logging laps, and assuming that all mileage is good mileage, right? Wrong! Swimming at one speed in training means you’ll only ever have one speed available when it comes to race day – and that’s not good news. This workout helps build top-end speed and helps you improve your ability to change pace, which is a vital skill all triathlon swimmers need to learn, particularly for the swim start and when navigating around buoys. Depending on your swim speed and ability, you might need to shorten this workout to fit it into an hour. If so, pare back the 300-yard steady swims to 200 or 250 yards rather than cutting back on the 25-yard intervals.

Be sure to warm up gently and build your way through the first 16 x 25-yard intervals. When it comes to that fourth one, make sure there is a noticeable change in pace. Fast means fast! On the 300-yard steady swims, these should not be easy but rather 7/10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion). As you progress through the blocks of 25-yard intervals, the faster ones become more frequent, which is where you can really learn to hone that top-end speed. Hit these hard; that’s the only way to make gains in speed. The inclusion of paddles and/or pull buoy in the 300-yard intervals is designed to help improve swim-specific strength speed. Don’t just switch off here; stay focused on your stroke mechanics and your effort.

Warm-Up

200 yards, building pace

Main Set: Pace Changer Swim

16 x 25 yards, every 4th fast
300 yards, steady swim
12 x 25 yards, every 3rd fast
300 yards, paddles
8 x 25 yards, every 2nd fast
300 yards, pull buoy
4 x 25 yards, all fast
300 yards, paddles and pull buoy

Cool-Down

200 yards, easy and relaxed