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Weekend Swim Workout: Drill Slow, Swim Fast

Improving technique in one session can shave more time than months of repetitive hard training with poor technique.

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Drill sets can be unappealing to the time-crunched athlete. When there is only a small window of opportunity to train, the feeling is to put 100% effort into every available minute, and for many, that means skipping drills and going straight for the hard and fast sets. If this mentality sounds familiar to you, step back and look at the big picture: Improving technique in one session can shave more time than months of repetitive hard training with poor technique.

Now that you’re convinced of the importance of drill sets, choose a set from the below “Drill Slow, Swim Fast” workout that fits your current schedule and fitness level. Dive in, and remember: A drill session is not about speed! Turn off your watch, don’t worry about times or yardage, and tune into your body and the feel of the water around you.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Swim Drills For You

Weekend Swim Workout: Drill Slow, Swim Fast

A:

Warm-up:

400 swim (100 breathing only on left side, 100 only on right side, 100 every 3 strokes, 100 every 5 strokes).
4 x 100 w/:15 rest (25 kick/50 choice drill/25 swim).

Drill set #1:

8 x 50 @ :60 (descend stroke count 1-4, 5-8).
4 x 200 w/:15 rest (50 single arm drill, 150 swim with focus on drill improvement).

Drill set #2

4 x 75 w/:15 rest as 25 drill (#1 fist drill, #2 catch up drill, #3 wide fingertip drag, #4 6-kick switch), 25 easy with focus, 25 fast.
Repeat 3 times

Cooldown:

300 as 3 x 25 feet-first sculling/75 swim

*3500 total*

RELATED: 7 Awkward (But Useful!) Swim Drills

B:

Warm-up:

300 swim (100 breathing only on left side, 100 only on right side, 100 every 3 strokes).
3 x 100 w/:15 rest (25 kick/50 choice drill/25 swim).

Drill set #1:

3 x 50 @ 1:20 (descend stroke count 1-3).
3 x 150 w/:15 rest (50 single arm drill, 100 swim with focus on drill improvement).

Drill set #2

4 x 75 w/:15 rest as 25 drill (#1 fist drill, #2 catch up drill, #3 wide fingertip drag, #4 6-kick switch), 25 easy with focus, 25 fast.
Repeat 3 times

Cooldown:

200 as 2 x 25 sculling/75 swim

*2600 total*

RELATED: Dear Coach: What Are Your Go-To Open-Water Swim Drills?

C:

Warm-up:

300 swim (100 breathing only on left side, 100 only on right side, 100 every 3 strokes).

Drill set #1:

3 x 50 w/:10 rest (descend stroke count 1-3).
3 x 100 w/:15 rest (50 single arm drill, 50 swim with focus on drill improvement).

Drill set #2:

4 x 50 w/:15 rest as 25 drill (#1 fist drill, #2 catch up drill, #3 wide fingertip drag, #4 6-kick switch), 25 with focus.
Repeat 3 times

Cooldown:

100 as 25 sculling/75 swim

*1650 total*

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