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

Brands

Workouts

Weekend Swim Workout: Start Fast, Finish Fast

This swim workout from coach Sara McLarty will help you learn how to make the most of the speed changes that happen throughout the swim portion of a triathlon race.

For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.

This Weekend Swim Workout will help you learn how to make the most of the speed changes that occur as specific points in the race: at the start, after a buoy turn, nearing the finish, and trying to draft on someone’s feet. The challenge isn’t to elevate your heart rate by swimming fast for a bit – the challenge is to continue swimming and decrease your heart rate quickly and easily afterwards.

To make this a true race-simulation workout, try anything and everything other than holding onto the wall to recover: roll on your back to float, do breaststroke or sidestroke with your face out of the water, or just swim and extremely easy freestyle. Remember, there are no walls in open water, so this simulation will help you deal with the continuous movement of race day.

Choose a set below that fits your current fitness level and time available, then dive in!

RELATED: Critical Speed: Swim Faster With Less Work

Weekend Swim Workout: Start Fast, Finish Fast

A)

Warm-up:
600 swim, get out and dive a fast 25 at the start of every 100.
12 x 25 IM order @ :40.

Main set #1 (w/:30 rest between each rep):
1 x 100 kick (first & last 25 fast).
1 x 200 swim (first & last 50 fast).
1 x 300 pull (first & last 75 fast).
1 x 400 swim (first & last 100 fast).

Main set #2 (w/:30 rest between each rep):
2 x 100 kick (first & third 25 fast).
2 x 200 swim (first & third 50 fast).
2 x 300 pull (first & third 75 fast).

Cooldown:
400 easy as 2 x 100 IM/100 free.

*3500 total*

RELATED: How to (Finally) Become a Faster Swimmer

B)

Warm-up:
400 swim, get out and dive a fast 25 at the start of every 100.
8 x 25 choice strokes @ :45.

Main set #1 (w/:30 rest between each rep):
1 x 100 kick (first & last 25 fast).
1 x 200 swim (first & last 50 fast).
1 x 300 pull (first & last 75 fast).

Main set #2 (w/:30 rest between each rep):
2 x 100 kick (first & third 25 fast).
2 x 200 swim (first & third 50 fast).
2 x 300 pull (first & third 75 fast).

Cooldown:
200 easy as 2 x 50 non-free/50 free.

*2600 total*

RELATED: How to (Finally) Become a Faster Swimmer

C)

Warm-up:
300 swim, get out and dive a fast 25 at the start of every 100.
4 x 25 choice strokes w/:15 rest.

Main set #1 (w/:30 rest between each rep):
1 x 100 kick (first & last 25 fast).
1 x 200 swim (first & last 50 fast).
1 x 300 pull (first & last 75 fast).

Main set #2 (w/:30 rest between each rep):
1 x 100 kick (first & third 25 fast).
1 x 200 swim (first & third 50 fast).
1 x 300 pull (first & third 75 fast).

Cooldown:
100 easy as 50 non-free/50 free.

*1700 total*

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