Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Weekend Swim Workout: 125s and Pop-Ups

Don't go to the pool without a plan! Use this workout from coach Sara McLarty to establish a base for the skills you'll need come race day.

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

Most people don’t practice race-day skills until the weeks (or even days) before their actual race approaches. But race skills shouldn’t be something you figure out at the last minute – rather, you should be incorporating drills into your workouts every week that will help you perform better on your big day. Two such drills – the Tarzan Drill and pop-ups – are perfect examples of moves that can lay the foundation for race-day skills such as sighting or exiting the water. This workout is designed around these drills – pick a set that best matches your fitness and ability level, and dive in.

RELATED: A Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming

Weekend Swim Workout; 125s and Pop-Ups

Tarzan Drill

Swim the length of the pool with your head above water to build strength in your neck to prepare for sighting. Look forward as if you were sighting a buoy or landmark in open water.


Face the wall and place both hands on the top of the edge of the pool. Push up and out of the water until your arms are fully extended and then drop back down into the water. This will be harder or easier depending on how high the edge of the pool is in relation to the surface of the water. Pop-ups help you prepare for race day by simulating what it’s like to go from horizontal swimming to vertical running quickly; in addition to being a disorienting experience, this move causes your heart rate to spike. Practicing ahead of race day will help you learn to recover quickly.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Swim Drills For You


500 choice
4×150 @ 2:45 (kick/drill/swim by 50)
6×100 @ 1:30 (25 FAST Tarzan Drill/75 smooth swim)
12×125 @ 2:00 3x(2 as free/fly/back/breast/free; 2 as swim w/10 pop-ups)
15×50 pull (5 @ :50, 5 @ :45, 5 @ :40)
300 cool down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)

4200 total

RELATED: 5 Swim Tips and Drills to Help Improve Your Stroke


500 choice
4×150 @ 3:30 (kick/drill/swim by 50)
5×100 @ 2:00 (25 FAST Tarzan Drill/75 smooth swim)
8×125 @ 2:30 swim w/10 pop-ups
8×50 pull @ :50
300 cool down (50 kick/100 swim, repeat)

3300 total

RELATED: 7 Awkward (But Useful!) Swim Drills


400 choice
4×150 w/:30 rest (kick/drill/swim by 50)
4×100 w/:20 rest (25 FAST Tarzan Drill/75 smooth swim)
4×125 swim w/10 pop-ups w/:20 rest
6×50 pull w/:10 rest
200 cool down (50 kick/50 swim, repeat)

2400 Total

Looking for more swim-spiration? Check out our complete archive of Weekend Swim Workouts from Coach Sara McLarty.

Video: 4X World Champion Mirinda Carfrae Makes Her Picks for 70.3 Chattanooga

Carfrae and former pro Patrick Mckeon break down the iconic course in Chattanooga, who looks good for the pro women's race, and their predictions for how the day will play out.