One-Hour Workout: Race-Ready Swim

In honor of this week’s 70.3 World Championships, here’s a swim workout that will help sharpen your speed and deliver you to the start line all fired up and ready to go.

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It’s often hard to know how much training to do in the week leading into a race. Do too much and you risk coming into race day feeling heavy and fatigued. Do too little and you’ll feel sluggish, slow, and unable to hit top-end speeds. It can be a fine line, but with swimming in particular it’s fairly hard to do too much. This workout strikes the right balance with some shorter, higher intensity efforts as well as plenty of relaxed, easy swimming. Make sure the fast is fast—and the easy is very easy. You can’t swim too easy on race week! Use the faster efforts to not just hone your body, but also your mind. Get ready to race!

Use the warm-up as an opportunity to practice your race-day warm-up. This should be something that is routine and well-rehearsed. Too many athletes skip the warm-up altogether, which is a huge mistake. If looking for guidance here, ensure you include five minutes super easy before building into another five minutes at moderate effort, and then five minutes as 30 seconds of harder efforts, 30 seconds easy. Do this as close to your race start time as possible.

Race-Ready Swim


15 minutes warm-up, practicing your race-day warm-up routine.

Main Set

4 x 100 as 1st 25 fast, 50 moderate, final 25 fast. 15-20 seconds rest between each.

6 x 75 as 1st 50 fast, 25 easy. 15-20 seconds rest between each.

8 x 50 as alternate 50 fast, 50 easy. 15-20 seconds rest between each.

10 x 25 as (1) 10 yards/meters fast, remainder easy; (2) 15 yards/meters fast, remainder easy; (3) 20 yards/meters fast, remainder easy; (4) all fast; (5) all easy. Repeat this pattern a second time. 10-15 seconds rest between each.

2-3 minutes relaxed easy swimming.

4 x 25 as 10 strokes fast (think of this as swim start speed), remainder easy. 10-15 seconds rest between each.


8-10 minutes easy swimming.

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