One-Hour Workout: St Patrick’s Day Swim Session

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with this entertaining swim set from Irish pro triathlete Ger Redmond.

Photo: Getty Images

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

To help you all celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this week’s One-Hour Workout comes courtesy of Irish pro triathlete Ger Redmond who has—in true Irish style—injected plenty of humor into this swim session. You’ll need a sense of humor and some good training buddies to really get the most out of this one.

You’ll begin with a 200 easy warm-up, just relaxed swimming, followed by 200 drill as 25 fist drill, 25 swim. The prep set is technique-oriented with three 200s as: 200 swim with fins, 200 scull and kick with fins, 200 kick with fins (Redmond recommends 100 with a board, 100 without a board, just arms extended in front of you).

The first part of the main set involves 8 x 50 paddles and fins on 20 seconds rest. Redmond said: “I like to do four of these 50s with one right paddle and one left fin, then switch for the last four 50s. This helps to give you an idea of balance and helps build feel for the water.”

The next part of the main set is 6 x 50 as: 35 meters/yards regular swim, 15 meters/yards sprint, water polo style (with your head up, looking forwards). Take 20 seconds rest between each of these 50s.

That’s the technical part of this swim done—and now Redmond likes to have some fun. He said: “It seems only right as part of a St. Patrick’s Day swim set that we do a swim relay with potatoes. You’ll get into teams (of four, ideally) and each team has two potatoes. Each athlete swims 25 meters/yards with a potato in each hand and the next swimmer can’t go until they’ve been passed both potatoes. Each swimmer should swim twice—or further if you want to!”

He added: “We have a rule that whichever team comes last has to drink a pint of Guinness in two attempts.”

Guinness or not, finish the workout with 100 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke, for a total swim of approximately 2450 meters/yards (depending on how far you cover in your relay).

Redmond said: “Enjoy the swim—and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

RELATED: A Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming

One-Hour Workout: St Patrick’s Day Swim Session


200 easy

200 drill as: 25 fist drill, 25 swim

Prep set

200 swim with fins

200 scull and kick with fins

200 kick with fins

Main set #1

8 x 50 paddles + fins on 20 sec. rest (swim the first 4 with a paddle on your right hand and a fin on your left foot, then switch for the next 4, wearing a paddle on your left hand and a fin on your right foot)

6 x 50 as: 35 meters/yards regular swim, 15 meters/yards sprint, water polo style on 20 sec. rest

Main set #2 – Potato Swim Relay

In teams of four, you each take a turn to swim 25 with a potato in each hand, passing the potatoes to the next swimmer at the end of each lap. Do two rounds each.


100 back, 100 free, 100 back

More One-Hour Workouts

Trending on Triathlete

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.