Three swim sessions from Tyler Butterfield

Bermudan athlete shares his workouts for building tempo, speed and recovery times

Tyler Butterfield at Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

After winning long-course honours at this year’s Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, Bermuda’s Tyler Butterfield looks in fine form for the 2014 season. With Kona now firmly in his sights, he shares the three swimming sessions that have helped him build on an already strong bike and run…

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“This is a swim session done three different ways for three very different objectives,” says Tyler. “It is a great session for each, but you should have an objective of a session before each swim and stick to it. Recovery is recovery, tempo make tempo, and for speed swim fast!”

Recovery session

“This is a session that people often forget but is really important to incorporate in your swim training. This would be done very easy as recovery is the key to the session. The session is very simple but useful.”

This session covers 1-3km depending on ability, previous day’s session and time available.

Start with an easy 1km straight split as 200m freestyle swimming/50m backstroke. Do this four times.

If you want to go to 2km total I add 10x100m all easy on a comfortable send-off. Depending on your feel you can put a few 100m of backstroke or individual medley in if you want to mix it up. A 250m, 500m, 750m or 1km can be added back at the end like the first 1km if you wish to make it a 3km set/swim

Tempo session

“Tempo swimming trains your body to maintain speed over distance,” he says. “Arguably this is the session where you will see the greatest gains to your swimming. The session should be comfortably hard and will make you more efficient when racing at ‘race pace’. So it’s important here to keep focused on this session and listen to your body and how hard you are working.”

This is similar to the recovery session for the first 1k. I’d encourage you to build into the first 1km swim with each 200m becoming faster! Use the 50m back as recovery.

Then follow with 10x100m all steady tempo with shortish rest.

Finally, take the last 1km descending from tempo back to easy as a warm down.

Speed session

“Again I use a similar framework as the first two sessions. Here the easy should be very easy and the hard should be very hard. It is a speed session!”

Do similar to the tempo for the 1km as a build. That is to be good and warm for the 10x100m. The second kilometre should be done as:

– 25m hard, then 75m easy
– 50m hard then 50m easy
– 75m hard, then 25m easy
– 100m hard
– 100m easy

This should be repeated twice, and don’t forget to allow plenty of rest after each 100m.

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Tyler Butterfield is sponsored by Zone3