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One-Hour Workout: Endurance and Speed Swim Intervals

Dive into this swim workout that includes a little bit of all you need in the pool.

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This week’s One-Hour Workout is a swim session that includes a little taste of everything: endurance work and speed intervals, as well as some technical focus. It’s also one of those workouts that can be pared back or added to, depending on your time, training load, and fitness.

You’ll begin with a smooth warm-up of five to 10 minutes easy swimming, ideally mixing the strokes, not just freestyle. The prep set sees you gradually ramping up the effort, going from 2 x 100y at 7 out of 10 on RPE scale (Rate of Perceived Exertion) up to 2 x 50y at RPE 8/10 to 2 x 25y at RPE 9/10—all on 10 seconds rest. If desired, this can be repeated twice, using a buoy and snorkel on the first round and straight swim on the second. If you’re doing just one round, use a snorkel and buoy.

And now for the main set—you’ll soon see a pattern here. The first round involves 12 x 25y at RPE 9/10, really focusing on fast arm turnover/stroke rate, and taking only three to five seconds after each 25. These are intended to be high intensity! Then go into 6 x 50y at RPE 6/10 taking 10 seconds rest after each 50.

The second round is 12 x 25y following the same rest and effort levels as above, but going into 3 x 100y at RPE 6/10 with 20 seconds rest after each 100.

The third round again repeats the same 12 x 25y pattern, but follow it up with 2 x 150y at RPE 6/10 with 30 seconds rest after each 150.

The fourth and final round kicks off with the same set of 12 x 25, this time followed by 300y smooth pull, RPE 6/10.

Be sure to maintain focus on stroke rate on the fast 25y repeats—fast swimming helps reinforce strong stroke mechanics—and keep that focus on form during the 50s, 100s, 150s, and 300 that follow each time.

If you’re short on time or would prefer to shorten this workout, start the main set from the second round, i.e. 12 x 25y into 3 x 100y.

Cool down with 200y easy swim, mixing freestyle and backstroke.

One-Hour Workout: Endurance and Speed Swim Intervals

Warm-up

5-10 min. smooth swimming, mix of strokes

Prep set

1-2 rounds of:
2 x 100y @ RPE 7/10

2 x 50y @ RPE 8/10

2 x 25y @ RPE 9/10

All on 10 sec. rest.

Note: If doing two rounds, use a buoy and snorkel on the first round; swim on the second.

Main set

12 x 25y @ RPE 9/10 on 3-5 sec. rest; 6 x 50y @ RPE 6/10 on 10 sec. rest

12 x 25y @ RPE 9/10 on 3-5 sec. rest; 3 x 100y @ RPE 6/10 on 20 sec. rest

12 x 25y @ RPE 9/10 on 3-5 sec. rest; 2 x 150y @ RPE 6/10 on 30 sec. rest

12 x 25y @ RPE 9/10 on 3-5 sec. rest; 1 x 300y pull @ RPE 6/10

Cooldown

200y easy, mix of freestyle/backstroke