Weekend Swim Workout: Race-Day Pool Prep

A swim workout designed to work on race day efforts, ideally for the peak phase of training.

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This week’s swim workout comes from exercise physiologist, clinical/registered dietitian and USAT Level I coach Marni Sumbal of Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition in Jacksonville, Fla. “This workout is designed to work on race day efforts, ideally for the peak phase of training,” Sumbal said. “However, to build confidence in the open water swim portion of a triathlon, try out the following set at least once a month as you prep for your upcoming triathlon season.”

Swim: 1 hour, around 2200 yards

Pre-swim (optional):

Warm up with 10–15 minutes of jogging, similar to warming up for a race. Include a few pick-ups to get the blood flowing but overall pace should be controlled and comfortable.


600 yards (or around 8–10 minutes) of form-focused swimming

Rest a few minutes and stretch if needed to lower the HR and to prep for the main set.

Main set (2–3xs):

8×25 FAST

Think powerful stroke but not sloppy swimming. Catch the water and pull with a strong stroke. Steady kicking with good hip position will move the body forward. Rest 5 seconds at each wall. This is designed to simulate the chaotic start of a triathlon.

Take an additional 30–60 sec rest to refocus.

300 steady at race-day effort (your distance of choice). Build into this and do not go all out at first. Try to swim smoothly in the water while trying to remove lactic acid build-up from the previous sprint set. Add in occasional sighting to the other wall, similar to race day.

Rest 2–3 minutes to re-assess form, breath normally and relax, then repeat swim main set for a total of 2–3 times. During this resting period you can float an easy 50 backstroke to keep the muscles moving.


100 easy