12 Weeks to an Iron-Distance Swim PB: Week 8

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 16. For those of you doing Ironman NZ two weeks later, your sessions will commence the week of Monday 12th December.

Tri Training NZThis is the eighth week. Other weeks can be found below:

Each 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 designed to challenge your endurance and your speed in a mixed session.

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 6x (200m, 30sec RI; 4x 50m 10sec RI);
  • 200m Cool Down.

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 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. I recommend Finis Zoomers.

Take your fins off prior to commencing the next set. This is a set of six broken 200’s. A single repetition involves swimming 200m continuously, then pausing for 30 seconds Rest Interval (RI) prior to swimming another 200m which this time is broken up into 4x 50m each with a 10 second Rest Interval. Yes, a broken 200m does involve 400m of swimming each rep and I’ve scheduled six into this set.

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 NZ

This session works on enhancing your speed through the use of a threshold set of 100’s.

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 20x 100m Build 1-4, 20sec RI;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 200m Cool Down.

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.

By now you should be well and truly familiar with the drill/swim sets which is the next set for this session. This particular set involves twelve 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 (work through them all 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 set of twenty repetitions of 100m with only 20 seconds Rest Interval (RI). Within this set build the pace every four repetitions. This means that each rep you get quicker up until the fourth rep, then for the fifth (or ninth, or thirteenth, or seventeenth) you drop the pace back again. Steady, Fast, Faster, Fastest.

The second to last set involves repeating the drill/swim set done earlier.

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 purely focused physiologically on enhancing your endurance. Mentally it will give you a boost by getting a good solid non-stop distance under your belt.

  • 1000m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m Pick Ups, 10sec RI;
  • 2000m TT;
  • 200m Cool Down;

Start by swimming 1,000m 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 twelve 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. This set is made up of eight reps of 25m Pick Ups with a 10 second Rest Interval (RI). When swimming a Pick Up, start off at a slow pace for your first few strokes. Then pick up to a moderate pace for the next few strokes, then a few fast strokes, then get faster and faster every few strokes as you make your way down the pool. Finish up with your last few strokes being at sprint pace. After each 25m, stop and rest for 10 seconds. Use the pace clock on the wall or a wrist watch to time this precisely.

The main set of the workout today is a 2,000m time trial. Aim to swim this nice and consistently at a steady pace. If you have some energy left as you approach the end of the set, increase your pace.

Once done, take a quick break prior to getting stuck into 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.

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

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