Swimming is something that we as triathletes need to do, and want to get better at, but we don’t always want to put in the work required to get faster. Most triathletes start swimming later in life and therefore it’s a new concept for them to master. Triathletes are trying to figure out techniques, drills, sets, and different tools to help them improve. The hardest part of figuring out this new world of swimming is trying to navigate all of the articles online and what information out there will help you get faster in the pool. One way to get faster is to make sure that you are setting up your swim week correctly by having a plan and specific types of workouts that will help you.
How a triathlete’s swim week is set up will depend on how many times they swim per week and how much they typically swim within each workout. I will go with the assumption that most triathletes swim three times per week 2-3k each time. Once you have this plan mapped out, you can then put in place which type of workouts you should be doing each week. You can choose from speed, threshold, strength and easy workouts. If you’re swimming three times per week, then it would be best to have a speed day, a threshold day, and then finally a strength/ easy day.
* Speed day will consist of sets with shorter distances such as 25’s or 50’s fast with more rest than on an aerobic day. You will want to go all out/max effort on these sets and push yourself to get faster.
Example Speed Main Set:
3x (4x25 max effort on 1:00) with 200 easy in between each round.
* Threshold workouts will consist of a bit longer sets with 100’s, 200’s, or longer, with a shorter amount of rest. You want to hold a strong pace on these types of swim sets and they will help you improve keeping up a faster pace throughout your entire race.
Example Threshold Main Set:
10x 100 at a strong pace and an interval where you get 15 seconds rest after each 100.
Strength/easy day workouts will consist of some easy aerobic swimming with an addition of some buoy/band work in order to specifically work on gaining some strength in your swim muscles.
Example Strength/Easy Main Set:
4x (4x50 with a buoy and band around your ankles with 10 seconds rest) and 200 easy swim in between each set of 50’s working on your stroke technique.