Sub-1hr swim session: Perfect pacing

More speed for less effort can be yours with this workout for beginner-level triathletes


Total Immersion Swimming’s head coach Terry Laughlin provides a session to help you find easy speed for less effort.


>>> Six key exercises for sharpening swim speed

This session is ideal to slot in between a more demanding bike and/or run workout, as it should boost recovery even more than passive rest.

Equipment needed: swimsuit or shorts, swim cap and goggles.

Perfect pacing


5mins. Swim 3 x 50m. Take your time and/or count strokes. Strive to keep time and stroke consistent on each repeat.

Main session

40mins. Swim one to three rounds of (4 x 25m + 3 x 50m + 2 x 75m + 1 x 100m), 500m in total.

For each round, choose one of the focal points (see p105): hanging head/reach forward/kick less.

After each set, assess your new skill. Stop if skill or focus is diminishing.


5mins. Repeat warm-up, choosing favorite focal point from main set.

Performance benefits

This session emphasises the art of steady pacing, which is an easy way to improve your time over any swim longer than 25m. Becoming more consistent with less effort is invaluable in distance racing.

Mental benefits

As a simple introduction to mindful swimming, this set will increase your enjoyment and should leave you more energised, both mentally and physically.

It also teaches you how to create a ‘cocoon of calm’ to insulate you from distraction and anxiety in races.

Physiological benefits

Energy waste, not energy supply, is the main problem to overcome in improving your swimming. This set teaches you a proven and structured way to begin focusing on that in your own training.

Adapt for Ironman

Double the distance of all repeats (i.e. in main set 4 x 50m + 3 x 100m, etc.). But only increase the distance if you’re able to accomplish the skill and focus goals of the set as outlined. This may take some weeks of practice.

(Images: iStockPhoto / Jonny Gawler)


For lots more swimming drills and advice head to our Training section