Sub-1hr swim session: Long-course peaking

This 60min swim session for intermediate athletes will help you break 60mins over the iron-distance swim


Are you looking to crack 60mins for your iron-distance swim? Mark Kleanthous shows you how to manage your race pace…


This can be fitted in at a lunchtime pool session or in the open water. For this session you’ll need swimwear and a GPS sports watch.

Long-course peaking


5mins. Swim 4 x 25m with 15secs rest. Repeat for 5mins.

Main session

50mins. Swim 475m (8th of a 3.8km swim). The first 90secs should be at 100% effort before reducing to predicted race pace. If aiming for sub-1hr, this would be 7:15mins per 475m. Do 6 x 475m with 60secs rest between each set.


5mins. 25m lengths with 30secs rest. Continue until 5mins has elapsed.

Performance benefits

Setting off fast and then holding intended race pace will teach you the intricacies of a fast start before levelling off to a sustainable tempo.

So this teaches you the art of pacing, which is crucial given the exertions of the bike and run to follow.

Mental benefits

It’s proven that ticking off short-term goals gives you a greater chance of reaching your long-term Ironman ambitions.

Such a specific pacing strategy focuses your mind, increasing your chances of hitting your goal race pace and setting you up for a strong race.

It’s also a great feedback session, telling you what you need to work on for increased speed and endurance.

Physiological benefits

The heart-rate (HR) range for a sub 60min 3.8km swim is to quickly get up to your threshold HR (around 80-85% max HR), then hold HR for the session duration.

You can find your threshold pace by swimming at even pace for an hour and noting HR. Note: drafting will drop HR by 3-12bpm.

Adapt for ability

Different pacing strategies depending on race goal. Sub-90mins: 4 x 475m @11mins per 475m, 90secs rest interval (RI); Sub-105mins: 3 x 475m @12:50mins per 475m, 90secs RI; Sub-120mins: 3 x 475m @14:30mins per 475m, 90secs RI.


For lots more performance advice head to our Training section