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One-Hour Workout: Megan Melgaard’s Winter Swim Special

Dive into this top coach's pool workout that blends technique work with aerobic endurance.

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This week’s One-Hour Workout comes from swimming champion, triathlete, and coach Megan Melgaard and it features a good blend of technical work as well as some short aerobic endurance efforts to help keep you ticking over the winter months.

Melgaard, who is a five-time All-American swimmer and now works as a coach at triathlon swim program Tower 26, said this workout is best done using equipment such as a snorkel, fins, and a kickboard. To find out more about snorkels and how they can help improve your swimming, check out this article.

You’ll begin the workout with four 50s easy, taking rest as needed. The next part of the warm-up involves three rounds of four 50s, the first round as 25 kick, 25 swim, at RPE 7 out of 10 (Rate of Perceived Exertion) on 20 seconds rest. Ideally use snorkel and fins for these (if you have them and are accustomed to using them). Melgaard said the focus here should be on proper body position and steady breathing.

The second round of 50s are again 25 kick, 25 swim, but on the odd repeats (1st, 3rd) you’ll kick on your left side with your left arm outstretched in front of you. On the evens (2nd, 4th), you’ll do that on your right side. Melgaard said: “When kicking on your side, focus on proper head turns when breathing.”

The final round of 50s are all swim, at RPE 7-7.5/10, taking 25 seconds rest between each, and using fins if you have them. Melgaard said: “Focus on proper breathing and keeping your arms/hands in correct alignment as they enter the water and move through all phases of your pull.”

The main set involves eight 25s, swimming at RPE 7-8/10 with 15 seconds rest between each. “Be sure to perform strong push-offs from the wall each time to help you set up proper body posture and tautness,” Melgaard said. You’ll then move straight into two 100s pull, at RPE 7/10, ideally using a snorkel here if you have one. Again, Melgaard advised focusing on proper body posture and hand/arm alignment.

Depending on time available, the main set should be repeated twice—or more for those looking to swim longer. Wrap it all up with a 200 easy pull/swim to cool down.

RELATED: Five 30-Minute Swim Workouts

One-Hour Workout: Megan Melgaard’s Winter Swim Special

Warm-up

4 x 50 swim @ easy effort, take rest as needed

4 x 50 kick/swim @ RPE 7/10 on 20 sec. rest (with snorkel, fins)

4 x 50 kick/swim @ RPE 7/10 on 20 sec. rest (with fins)

Odd 50s: Kick on your left side, with your left arm outstretched in front. Even 50s: Kick on your right side, with your right arm outstretched in front. 

4 x 50 swim @ RPE 7/10 on 25 sec. rest (with fins)

Main set

Repeat at least 2x:

8 x 25 swim @ RPE 7-8/10 on 15 sec. rest

Perform strong wall push-offs to set-up proper body posture and tautness

2 x 100 pull @ RPE 7/10 on 20 sec. rest (with snorkel, pull buoy)

Cooldown

200 pull/swim easy