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This week’s One-Hour Workout comes from Olympian turned coach Ryan Bolton, who’s no doubt currently celebrating the success of one of his pro athletes—Sam Long—who finished second at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship this past weekend. This swim workout, which totals just over 3,000 yards, comes from Bolton’s How To Get Race Ready in Six Weeks plan and is designed to help you build swim-specific strength and speed.
You’ll begin with a warm-up of: 300 swim, 100 kick, 200 pull, followed by 8 x 50 drill on 10 seconds rest. Select one or two drills that you know will help improve weaknesses within your stroke mechanics, such as fist drill if you’re looking to improve your catch and/or feel for the water.
The main set is a tough one and involves swimming at slightly slower than threshold pace. If you know your threshold pace per 100 then great, you’re all set, but if you don’t, then you can either use Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)—aiming for RPE 8/10—or you can undertake one of these test sets to determine your threshold pace and training zones. Bolton talks about the importance of this in our Fitter & Faster podcast: Everything Triathletes Need to Know About Training Zones.
The first part of the main set is 4 x 200 at threshold pace plus five seconds per 100, so if your threshold pace is 1:20 per 100, you’d be looking to hit each 200 swimming 2:50. Take 15 seconds rest between each 200. You’ll then progress to 4 x 150, holding the same threshold plus five seconds per 100 pace, also taking 15 seconds rest between each 150. Next up, it’s 4 x 100, again holding threshold plus five seconds pace and taking 15 seconds rest between each 100. Wrap up the main set with 4 x 50 fast, maximum effort, taking 30 seconds rest between each 50 to ensure you’re well recovered to hit each one as hard as possible.
If you’re looking to cut distance from this workout, you can reduce it to 3 x 200, 3 x 150, 3 x 100, 3 x 50.
Cool down with a 200 relaxed easy swim.
One-Hour Workout: Ryan Bolton’s Anaerobic Endurance Swim
300 swim, 100 kick, 200 pull, 8 x 50 drill (on 10 sec. rest)
4 x 200 @ RPE 8/10 or threshold + 5 sec. per 100 pace – 15 sec. rest between each 200
4 x 150 @ RPE 8/10 or threshold + 5 sec. per 100 pace – 15 sec. rest between each 150
4 x 100 @ RPE 8/10 or threshold + 5 sec. per 100 pace – 15 sec. rest between each 100
4 x 50 FAST! 30 sec. rest between each 50
200 relaxed easy swim
RELATED: Want to transform your triathlon knowledge, training, and performance? Check out 10 Weeks to Your Best 70.3—a complete training program led by top endurance coach Jim Vance—free with Outside+ membership!