One-Hour Workout: Long-Interval Strength Set

Use this set as a way to get some early-season power back into your stroke without slipping on technique.

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This week’s swim workout comes from Dublin-based Steven Moody, Triathlon Ireland’s 2017 coach of the year. He has 15 years of experience and is Triathlon Ireland, ITU, and Ironman U certified. Find him at

The winter months are tough on a triathlete’s psyche. The light at the end of the tunnel is inevitably those early-season base-building workouts—ones that aren’t too tough, but just tough enough to start rebuilding your fitness.

“As off-season starts to come to an end—all athletes whether newbies or experienced triathletes can set themselves up for a strong season by working on their base swim strength and endurance at this stage of the season,” Moody says.

This week’s set should be completed once per week in that base building phase alongside specific technique sessions.”This should result in a winning combination of becoming a more efficient (improved technique) and powerful (improved strength and endurance) swimmer overall,” Moody adds.

“The beauty of this 60-minute workout is the fact that it can be easily tailored to the athlete’s ability or “A” race distance by adjusting repetitions and/or distance in the main set over the season,” he says. “For example, for an athlete targeting long-distance races, the frequency can increased to 2 x 1000 midway through a build phase. The trick is to ensure you are increasing the intensity each training block to ensure good progression as you get closer to race season.”

200 as 100 free, 100 back

Pre Set Drills
It’s important to use this pre-set drill section to focus on achieving a strong catch—targeting the muscles we’re looking to strengthen.

100 fist drill (Swim freestyle with a closed fist.)

100 single-arm (left) (Swim with right arm by your side for the entire length using your left arm only—breathe to the right.)

100 single-arm (light) (Swim like above, but opposite arm and breathing.)

50 easy (Focus on retaining the feel of a good catch in the water for this and the next 150)

50 moderately paced

50 hard paced

50 easy paced

Main Set
“Use paddles and pull buoy to help build strength and remember speed is not the focus,” Moody says. “It is much more important to focus on executing with slow with good form, thus maximizing the required impact on your key swimming muscles (lats, obliques, and triceps. Do not use paddles if any shoulder issues—just use pull buoy on its own, and slow stroke down to really get that feel for the water.”
400 swim (no gear), 60 seconds rest400 with pull buoy and paddles, 60 seconds rest

400 swim (no gear), 60 seconds rest

400 with pull buoy and paddles, 60 seconds rest

200 backstroke to unwind the shoulders

Total: 2,400

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