Weekend Swim Workout: No Walls, Pull, Race

A new swim workout from Triathlete contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty.

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Yes, you’re working hard in the pool, but you also take a lot of breaks. Every 25 meters, to be exact. When you reach the wall and turn around, that push-off gives you a tiny break from swimming. It may seem insignificant until you consider that there are no walls in open water. In a race, there are no tiny breaks.

That’s why this workout from coach Sara McLarty includes “no wall” sets, where swimmers turn at the “T” at the end of the lane line on the bottom of the pool instead of pushing off at the wall. This replicates the continuous nature of open-water swimming without having to actually head to open water. The workout also includes variety to simulate surges and fatigue you might feel at various points of a race swim. Be warned: this workout is deceptively hard, and will make you realize just how much you take those tiny breaks at the wall for granted.

500 choice with fins
500 pull (3/5 breathing pattern by 50)
4×150 @ 2:30 (50 kick/50 drill/50 swim)
8×50 swim @ :50 (descend 1-4, 5-8)
400 swim (No Walls)
6×50 swim @ :55 (all strong)
400 pull (build each 100)
4×50 swim @ :60 (all FAST!)
400 IM (kick/drill/swim/fast by 25)
2×50 swim @ 1:30 (RACE! from a dive)
400 cool-down choice
= 4200 total

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500 choice with fins
400 pull (3/5 breathing pattern by 50)
3×100 w/ :20 rest (50 kick/50 swim)
6×50 swim @ :60 (descend 1-3, 4-6)
300 swim (No Walls)
4×50 swim @ 1:10 (all strong)
300 pull (build each 100)
4×50 swim @ 1:20 (all FAST!)
300 choice (kick/drill/swim by 25)
2×50 swim @ 2:00 (RACE! from a dive)
300 cool-down choice
= 3200 total

RELATED: Learn to Love Open Water Swimming

400 choice with fins
300 pull (3/5 breathing pattern by 50)
300 swim (No Walls)
4×50 swim w/ :20 rest (all strong)
300 pull (build each 100)
4×50 swim w/ :30 rest (all FAST!)
300 choice (kick/drill/swim by 25)
2×50 swim w/ 1:00 rest (RACE! from a dive)
200 cool-down choice
= 2300 total

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