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This week’s workout is an essential pool strength set that helps to maintain your form late in your tri swim. Even if you’re a reasonably good technical swimmer in the pool, the open-water is another animal entirely. You need to be able to alter your stroke to sight, breathe away from other swimmers and rough chop, and maintain your technique even after a mile (or two!) of straight swimming with no walls to hold onto or push off of.
While having good technique and speed is important to being an efficient swimmer who can get out fast in a mass-start tri event, strength is the key to not only a good swim, but a good bike and run. You need to be strong enough to hold your form later in the swim—regardless of water conditions—so you can still finish the other two legs without going too deep into your energy reserves.
Be sure to work on swim strength throughout the entire season, but specifically build a solid base in the first few months of swim training. You should be comfortable doing these pull-heavy workouts before you get into too much speedwork, otherwise you’ll be dropping your form to favor higher output. The beauty of strength workouts like this one is that you can do these on a heavy bike or run day without any adverse effects. Just be sure you’re not doing two swim strength workouts back-to-back—give your muscles some time to rest, heal, and actually get stronger.
If you don’t have a snorkel, just do this set without, but as a triathlete, you absolutely need to invest in paddles, a buoy, and a band. Long-course pools are best for this set, but short-course works as well.
200 swim easy
4 x 100 as drill 50, swim 50
4 x 50 as 25 build to 8/10, 25 at 5/10; 20 seconds rest
4 x 100 swim, build by 25 to 7/10; 10 seconds rest
2 x 200 with paddles at 7/10; 15 seconds rest
400 with pull buoy, band at 6/10; 20 seconds rest
4 x 50 swim at 7/10; 5 seconds rest
2 x 100 with paddles at 8/10; 10 seconds rest
200 with pull buoy, band at 7/10; 15 seconds rest
400 steady, strong swim with pull buoy, band, paddles, snorkel at 8/10
200 easy swim