Sub-1hr swim workout: Open-water booster

Brighton Tri Club head coach Mike Porteous provides a confidence-boosting group session, so you won’t ruin your bucket list race in the first few minutes


For many triathletes training in Britain, open-water sessions should be included as frequently as possible.


That’s because there’s usually only a short gap between the water being warm enough to the start of the racing season.

Including a run or bike directly after the swim not only makes for efficient training, it is a great way of practising transitions and warming up once out of the cold water.

Equipment needed: swimwear, wetsuit, lubricant to stop chafing, goggles, 2 swim hats.

Open-water booster


5mins stretches shoreside; 5mins easy strokes parallel to the shore.

Main session

45mins as: 3 x 300m drafting in threes, middle swimmer leads an arrowhead with other two close on their hips, sight every 6-8 strokes; 5 x turn-buoy practice, still in groups of three, practise left and right-handed turns.


5mins easy swim to reinforce sighting by picking out landmarks. If conditions allow, practice dolphin dive exits to help get back to shallower water.

Performance benefits

This session instils a sense of rhythm and controlled breathing, plus it helps master techniques for effective sighting, turning at buoys and drafting on the hips or toes of competitors. It’s also lots of fun, so you can learn to enjoy the open water.

Mental benefits

The swim might be the smallest component of a triathlon, but getting off to a good start is so important after months of preparation.

With the pre-race build up and nerves heightened, this session gives confidence that the open water swells and surf can be conquered.

Physiological benefits

Concentrating on breathing and a steady, relaxed rhythm, the effort can be meted out evenly, keeping the heart rate under control and completing the distance in the most efficient manner with the least expenditure of energy.

(Main image: Romilly Lockyer)


For lots more swim workouts and advice, head to our Training section