12 Weeks to an Iron-Distance Swim PB: Week 3

Over the coming 12 weeks I will post a a series of workouts building your swim fitness as you prepare for either Challenge Wanaka (18 Feb) or Ironman NZ (04 Mar). I have been a professional triathlon coach since 2000 and am a multiple Iron-distance finisher including doing both these events in 2011 (the year of the wind in Wanaka and the year of the rain in Taupo).

12 weeks out from Challenge Wanaka starts the week of Monday 28th November. For those of you doing Ironman NZ two weeks later, your sessions will commence the week of Monday 12th December.

This is the third week, you can find the first weeks sessions here and the second weeks here.

Tri Training NZEach week will have three pool sessions for you to complete. I also encourage you to get in the open water once a fortnight to develop those skills sets. This can either be part of a triathlon or as a group open water swim. The pool based sessions work well when completed on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday or on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This weeks training continues to develop your base fitness with a strong focus on technique and endurance.

Session One

Tri Coaching NZ

This session is a repeat of the third session from the first week and is also heavily focused on your technique and developing it, through the inclusion of drills.

  • 600m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m CD

Start by swimming 600m for a warm up. Keep a nice steady pace and feel free to pause occasionally to stretch or grab a quick drink. The idea of the warm up is to get the blood flowing and muscles loosened up before some of the more intense sets later in the workout.

The set after the warm up includes eight repetitions of 25m conducting drills. Pause after each rep and have a short rest while you focus and mentally prepare for the next drill. Here are some drills that you can include in your programme:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov
  7. Kick On Side (KOS)
  8. Kick On Side (KOS)

For the drill sets during this workout wear a pair of short fins. These will provide you with a small amount of momentum whilst you are focusing on what the upper body is doing.

As with the previous sessions that included the same set, the next set includes 8 repetitions of 50m. This 50m is done continuously with the first 25m done as a drill before going straight into the final 25m of regular swimming. Pause after each rep and have a short rest while you focus and mentally prepare for the next drill. Here are the drills for you to include in your programme:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov
  7. Kick On Side (KOS)
  8. Kick On Side (KOS)

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set, which is a set of swim golf. For this set you will need to time each repetition and also count the number of strokes it takes to swim 50m. The set itself involves swimming eight repetitions of 50m of Swim Golf (also known as Swolf) with 10 seconds Rest Interval after each rep. With each 50m time how long it takes you to swim it and count the number of strokes it takes you to complete the distance. Add these times together, i.e. if it takes 50 seconds and you complete 50 strokes 50 + 50 = 100. The 100 is your Swim Golf score and just like golf you try and make your score as low as possible. Each rep you try and improve your score by lowering it either by:

  • Swimming faster without doing more strokes,
  • Swim more efficiently by taking less strokes and keeping the same pace, or
  • By swimming faster and with less strokes.

Complete the last three sets again, with a third time for the 8x 25m Drill and the 8x 50m (25 Drill/25m Swim), prior to the cool down.

The final set is a 200m Cool Down. As with the warm up feel free to pause and do some stretching and grab a drink. Also consider doing some other strokes as part of the cool down. Throw in some back stroke (Bk) or breast stroke (Br) to mix it up.

Session Two

Tri Coaching NZThis session works on enhancing your threshold swimming , as well as your stamina with a big set of 200’s.

  • 400m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 200m Build 1-4, 30sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down;

Start by swimming 400m for a warm up. Keep a nice steady pace and feel free to pause occasionally to stretch or grab a quick drink. The idea of the warm up is to get the blood flowing and muscles loosened up before some of the more intense sets later in the workout.

Our next set is the same as one of the sets in the first workout of the week. This involves 8 repetitions of 50m. This 50m is done continuously with the first 25m done as a drill before going straight into the final 25m of regular swimming. Pause after each rep and have a short rest while you focus and mentally prepare for the next drill. Here are some drills that you can include in your programme:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov
  7. Kick On Side (KOS)
  8. Kick On Side (KOS)

For the drill set wear a pair of short fins. These will provide you with a small amount of momentum whilst you are focusing on what the upper body is doing.

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set, which is a set of twelve repetitions of 200m.  These are swum as a build set which I’ll explain shortly. After each rep pause for 30 seconds. Either use your wrist watch or the BIG pace clock at the pool to keep this rest interval to 30 seconds precisely. If you rest too long, you won’t get the physiological benefit of this session.

With each rep I want you to build your pace to get quicker over four repetitions. Then your fifth rep can be a little slower as you start to build your pace over the next four reps. You could say your first rep is steady, your second rep is fast, your third rep is faster and your fourth rep is fastest.  Then repeat it all for the fifth to eighth reps. Your times may look like this:

Rep Time
1st 4:12 Build 1-4 Steady
2nd 4:02 Fast
3rd 3:58 Faster
4th 3:55 Fastest
5th 4:15 Build the next 1-4 Steady
6th 4:03 Fast
7th 3:59 Faster
8th 3:56 Fastest
9th 4:16 Build the next 1-4 Steady
10th 4:02 Fast
11th 3:57 Faster
12th 3:52 Fastest

The final set is a 200m Cool Down. As with the warm up feel free to pause and do some stretching and grab a drink. Also consider doing some other strokes as part of the cool down. Throw in some back stroke (Bk) or breast stroke (Br) to mix it up.

Session Three

Tri Training NZ

This session is a repeat of the first session from last week and is also  heavily focused on your technique and developing it, through the inclusion of drills.

  • 400m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m Easy swim focusing on Tech;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m Easy swim focusing on Tech;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m Easy swim focusing on Tech;
  • 200m Cool Down;

Start by swimming 400m for a warm up. Keep a nice steady pace and feel free to pause occasionally to stretch or grab a quick drink. The idea of the warm up is to get the blood flowing and muscles loosened up before some of the more intense sets later in the workout.

The set after the warm up includes 12 repetitions of 50m. This 50m is done continuously with the first 25m done as a drill before going straight into the final 25m of regular swimming. Pause after each rep and have a short rest while you focus and mentally prepare for the next drill. Here are some drills that you can include in your programme.  Complete each drill twice:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov

For the drill set wear a pair of short fins. These will provide you with a small amount of momentum whilst you are focusing on what the upper body is doing.

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set, which is a 200m continuous swim focusing on smooth, relaxed technique. Then the fins are back on to repeat the 12x 50m Drill/Swim set. Continue repeating until you have done both the drill set and the 200m technique, three times through.

The final set is a 200m Cool Down. As with the warm up, feel free to pause and do some stretching and grab a drink. Also consider doing some other strokes as part of the cool down. Throw in some back stroke (Bk) or breast stroke (Br) to mix it up.

You can sign up to receive these sessions via email by clicking here.

If you would like further advice feel free to contact me.

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

I specialise in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. I can be contacted at coachray@coachray.nz and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to my informative newsletter.

Share this post so your friends can benefit as well.

Coach Ray is the author of the successful 12 Weeks to an Ironman Swim PB – Swim Faster with Smart Training eBook.


One Reply to “12 Weeks to an Iron-Distance Swim PB: Week 3”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *