Workouts

One-Hour Workout: Pacing Towards Progression in the Swim

Being able to change pace in the water and having a variety of speeds at your disposal can really help you make gains.

When it comes to swim training, it is always important to focus on steady and consistent pacing, but having the ability to change speeds and acquire various gears through progressive efforts is just as important but often overlooked. With this workout from Tower 26 swim coach Megan Melgaard, there are plenty of opportunities to practice changing efforts.

She said: “At Tower 26, founder and head coach Gerry Rodrigues reminds us that practicing these changing efforts is critical to your swim improvements.”

The workout is written with three levels of swimmers in mind, Levels 1, 2, and 3, so based on your experience, fitness level, and time available, pick the most suitable level for you.

Begin with a solid warm up, followed by a pre-main pulling set focusing on tautness (holding the body with optimal posture) and alignment (keeping the body, arms, and legs in their respective channels), with a substantial main set including pacing and progression.

One-Hour Workout: Pacing Towards Progression in the Swim

Level 1 (Advanced)

Warm-up:
400 @ 65% effort

Prep Set:
Pull – Focusing on body tautness, dedicating your awareness to core stabilizers and body posture. 
5 x 50 as pull with snorkel and buoy @ 75-80% effort, taking 15 sec. rest between

Pull – Focusing on alignment, maintaining your body in a straight line and keeping your arms in their respective hand channels.
400 pull with snorkel and buoy @ 70% effort, taking 30 sec. rest between

Pull – Progressive efforts. Your times should get faster as your effort increases. Be attentive and focused regarding gear changes.


4 x 50 as pull with snorkel and buoy as:
#1 @ 70% effort
#2 @ 75% effort
#3 @ 80% effort
#4 @ 85% effort
Take 20 sec. rest in between each effort

Main Set: Acquiring Various Gears
Be consistent in time on all of the swims with restrained effort performed at 75-80%. More experienced athletes can set defined intervals for the shorter swims prescribed throughout this set.
1 x 400 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 100 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. Really make an effort to swim fast on that last one. Take an additional 30 sec. rest after #4.

1 x 400 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 75 progressive with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. Really make an effort to swim fast on that last one. Take an additional 30 sec. rest after #4.

1 x 400 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 50 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim.

400 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 25 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. You know the pattern, so blast that last 25!

Cool-down:
Easy effort—maintain body tautness and alignment. Focus on excellent wall push-offs.

8 x 25 @ 70% effort

Level 2 (Intermediate)

Warm-up:
300 @ 65% effort

Prep Set:
Pull – Focusing on body tautness, dedicating your awareness to core stabilizers and body posture. 
4 x 50 as pull with snorkel and buoy @ 75-80% effort, taking 15 sec. rest between

Pull – Focusing on alignment, maintaining your body in a straight line and keeping your arms in their respective hand channels.
300 pull with snorkel and buoy @ 70% effort, taking 30 sec. rest between

Pull – Progressive efforts. Your times should get faster as your effort increases. Be attentive and focused regarding gear changes.


4 x 50 as pull with snorkel and buoy as:
#1 @ 70% effort
#2 @ 75% effort
#3 @ 80% effort
#4 @ 85% effort
Take 20 sec. rest in between each effort

Main Set: Acquiring Various Gears
Be consistent in time on all of the swims with restrained effort performed at 75-80%. More experienced athletes can set defined intervals for the shorter swims prescribed throughout this set.
1 x 325 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 100 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. Really make an effort to swim fast on that last one. Take an additional 30 sec. rest after #4.

1 x 325 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 75 progressive with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. Really make an effort to swim fast on that last one. Take an additional 30 sec. rest after #4.

1 x 325 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 50 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim.

325 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 25 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. You know the pattern, so blast that last 25!

Cool-down:
Easy effort—maintain body tautness and alignment. Focus on excellent wall push-offs.

6x 25 @ 70% effort

Level 3 (Beginner)

Warm-up:
250 @ 65% effort

Prep Set:
Pull – Focusing on body tautness, dedicating your awareness to core stabilizers and body posture. 
3 x 50 as pull with snorkel and buoy @ 75-80% effort, taking 15 sec. rest between

Pull – Focusing on alignment, maintaining your body in a straight line and keeping your arms in their respective hand channels.
200 pull with snorkel and buoy @ 70% effort, taking 30 sec. rest between

Pull – Progressive efforts. Your times should get faster as your effort increases. Be attentive and focused regarding gear changes.


4 x 50 as pull with snorkel and buoy as:
#1 @ 70% effort
#2 @ 75% effort
#3 @ 80% effort
#4 @ 85% effort
Take 20 sec. rest in between each effort

Main Set: Acquiring Various Gears
Be consistent in time on all of the swims with restrained effort performed at 75-80%. More experienced athletes can set defined intervals for the shorter swims prescribed throughout this set.
1 x 250 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 100 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. Really make an effort to swim fast on that last one. Take an additional 30 sec. rest after #4.

1 x 250 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 75 progressive with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. Really make an effort to swim fast on that last one. Take an additional 30 sec. rest after #4.

1 x 250 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 50 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim.

250 @ 75-80% with 40 sec. rest

4 x 25 progressive effort with 20 sec. rest—progress effort from 75%, to 80%, to 85%, and then 90+% on your 4th swim. You know the pattern, so blast that last 25!

Cool-down:
Easy effort—maintain body tautness and alignment. Focus on excellent wall push-offs.

4 x 25 @ 70% effort

Megan Melgaard is a pool and open-water swimmer, triathlete, and coach with Tower 26