One-Hour Workout: Technique Focused Pace Changer Swim

This session will help you learn to swim well at all speeds, while also being mindful of good technique.

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It’s no secret that many triathletes find swimming to be the hardest of the three sports, especially when it comes to maintaining good technique while swimming fast. Yet like everything else, this can be learned, trained, and improved. This pace changer swim workout could be just what you need. Keep reading to find out how!

This pace changer swim workout blends steady, technique-focused swimming with shorter, sharper intervals that are designed to get you working harder while concentrating on one or two aspects of your stroke mechanics. Use the first 500 as a gentle warm-up swim, where you gradually build effort from low to moderate (no more than 5-6/10 RPE, rate of perceived exertion). The 4 x 125 should see an increase in effort (7/10 RPE) while also focusing on one part of your stroke you know needs special attention. This could be arm turnover (cadence), head position, kick or breathing. The key here is not to neglect technique once intensity moves up a notch. Stay present!

The same pattern continues throughout the rest of the session, so the 400 pull buoy should be steady/aerobic, while the 4 x 100 call for a 7-8/10 RPE effort. There should be a noticeable difference in effort between these two parts of the set. The same applies to the 300 with paddles and then the 4 x 75, as well as the 200 with paddles and buoy and then the 4 x 50. Hit these 50s with some extra punch and make sure the first 15 yards/meters is fast before settling into a steadier pace. The final 100 choice and 4 x 25 scull can be considered cooldown and be sure to include 25 or 50 as backstroke to open up your chest and shoulders.

Before starting this session, be sure to identify one or two parts of your stroke mechanics that require work and keep focused on these as you swim steady. As effort then increases on the shorter sections, maintain your focus and don’t just switch off as you try to swim faster. This might prove tough to begin with, but with practice it gets easier.

Technique Focused Pace Changer Swim


500 easy choice swim, 4 x 125 increased effort (7/10 RPE)

Main Set

400 pull with buoy, 4 x 100 freestyle swim (7-8/10 RPE) on an interval that gives 10 seconds rest
300 paddles, 4 x 75 freestyle swim (8/10 RPE) on an interval that gives 5-10 seconds rest
200 paddles and buoy, 4 x 50 freestyle swim (8-9/10 RPE) with the first 15 yards/meters fast/max effort, on an interval that gives 5 seconds rest.


100 choice, 4 x 25 easy swim: include some backstroke in here.

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