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One-Hour Workout: Swimrun-Inspired Swim Strength Set

This power-based swim set from a swimrun veteran will help you become a stronger all-around swimmer.

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This week’s workout is a celebration of last weekend’s Otillö Swimrun World Championships, which boasted some of the fastest times ever in the event and inspired many of us three-sporters to take a look at what this swimrun thing is all about. (Swimming in shoes? While tethered to another person? That sounds wild – sign us up.)

John Stevens, a former collegiate swimmer and five-time Odyssey Swimrun winner, says the best way to prepare for a swimrun event is to simply get out there and swim and run with the proper gear—running shoes, pull buoy, paddles, and more—the set below will help build the strength and power needed to be successful when you’re in the pool.

Even if you’re not a swimrunner, training like one (and doing a swimrun event) is a great way to build strength and break up the grind of tri training. Check out this piece for more on how swimrun can actually make you a better triathlete.

“In the summer months I love to gear up and just hit the islands in Casco Bay, Maine,” Stevens says. “No real plan, just swimrun until I decide it’s enough. Open water training is my preference, but my favorite type of pool workout involves lots of butterfly and pulling with paddles and ankle strap. A good go-to for me in the buildup to the race was this set straight through, only stopping to put on/take off gear.”

While this is a truncated version of Stevens’ set, he says he tries to hit a time that gives him about 10-15 seconds rest on the 75s and about 20-25 seconds rest on the 200s (yes, he’s very fast!). Feel free to adjust the intervals according to your ability level, and/or remove the fly sections based on your experience. If you do leave the fly in, work those intervals very hard, but try to be more smooth on the free.

RELATED: A Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming

SwimRun-Inspired Workout

Warm-Up

200 free easy
4 x 50 as drill 25/swim easy 25
2 x 100 as build 1-2

Main Set

4 x 200 threshold on 2:30 with pull buoy, paddles, ankle band

6 x 75 on 1:00
ODDS: fly/ free/ fly
EVENS: free/ fly/ free

3 x 200 threshold on 2:30 with pull buoy, paddles, ankle band

4 x 75 on 1:00
ODDS: fly/ free/ fly
EVENS: free/ fly/ free

2 x 200 threshold on 2:30 with pull buoy, paddles, ankle band

2 x 75 on 1:00
ODDS: fly/ free/ fly
EVENS: free/ fly/ free

200 threshold with pull buoy, paddles, ankle band

Cooldown

200 free

Total: 3,700

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