Sub-1hr session: Skilful swimming

Build all-round fitness and hone technique with this 60min swim workout for advanced-level triathletes


This aerobic swim set will help you build all-round fitness, hone your technique and won’t be too taxing on your body, says coach John Wood.


>>> Six key exercises for sharpening swim speed

Make sure that you have everything planned out ahead of time, so that you know what you’re doing before you get in the pool.

Equipment needed: swimwear, goggles, and water or a sportsdrink.

Skilful swimming


20mins. 400m as: 200m FC, 200m back; 2 x 100m streamlined kick – 25 front, back, 25 on each side – 20secs rest between each 100; 4 x 50m – 6 kicks to 1 pull, 10secs rest between each rep; 4 x 50m – getting quicker with each rep.

Main session

30mins. 1,500m as: 100m (10secs rest), 200m (20secs rest), 300m (30secs rest), 400m (40secs rest), 500m. Focus on technique, and as you go longer, don’t slow down!


10mins. 400m as: 4 x [50m FC, 50m back], think about hip rotation on backstroke, transfer it to your frontcrawl.

Performance benefits

Consistency of stroke is a real key element to swimming. Every stroke should almost be the same, which enables you to go further and faster.

Mental benefits

It challenges you to keep the same pace as the set increases in length. Come race day you can relax a little knowing that your stroke isn’t going to break down later in the swim.

Physiological benefits

Aerobic swimming doesn’t require much recovery – if you need more than 10secs rest per 100m you’re working too hard. This helps improve your general all-round fitness and skills while you try to hold pace for longer.

Adapt For Ironman

Start at 200m and work up to 700m or even 800m to lengthen out the set. Remember that your splits and stroke count should stay about the same throughout.

(Images: Jonny Gawler)


For lots more swim workouts head to our Training section