One-Hour Workout: Simple Swim Drills Plus Pacing

Triathletes will benefit most from including some technique-focused drills and pace work in every session.

Every Tuesday we’ll feature a different coach’s workout you can complete in 60 minutes (or less!).

This week’s swim workout comes from John Murray, a USAT Level II-certified coach and co-founder of Team Multisport Performance Institute ( To develop an efficient swim, Murray says, triathletes will benefit most from including some technique-focused drills in every workout and understanding the importance of pacing.

“The drill portion of this workout will focus on ‘holding’ the water with your forearm vs. your hand,” Murray says. For Fist Drill, ball your hand into a lightly held fist while swimming freestyle and try to press on the water with your forearm.

“The pacing part of this workout will have you swimming slightly—a couple seconds—faster with each swim. You will learn to develop a few ‘gears’ in your swimming performance.”

Initially give yourself a little extra time on the send-off interval, and then modify it as you improve so that you have enough time to get in the distance plus rest.

Take 1–2 minutes between each set

RELATED: What Are The Best Test Sets For Swimming?

10 minutes or 400 easy mix—you can include drills, kicking, etc., as long as it is EASY

300 easy kick w/ fins (on your back or front, with or without a kickboard)

Main Set
Do this two times through total:
8×50 (25 Fist Drill, 25 swim), rest 20 seconds after each 50
6×50 swim, descend 1–6, on send-off interval of 1:00–1:30 (adjust this interval for you)

100 (or more) easy recovery

Total yardage = 2200

More one-hour workouts.