12 Weeks to an Iron-Distance Swim PB: Week 10

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 2016. For those of you doing Ironman NZ two weeks later, your sessions commenced the week of Monday 12th December.

Tri Training NZThis is the tenth 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.

In this weeks training we include the test set from previous weeks and also provide some threshold work with 100’s and an endurance set of 400’s.

Session One

Tri Coaching NZ

This session is designed to assess where you are fitness wise and help us set some future performance goals. You can use this to gauge your performance compared to the first, fourth and seventh week of the programme.

  • 1,000m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m Pick Up 10sec RI;
  • 400m Time Trial (TT);
  • 10min rest including easy swimming of at least 200m;
  • 200m TT;
  • 400m 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 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. I recommend Finis Zoomers.

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 next set is a 400m Time Trial (TT). I want you to swim this as fast as you can and not worry about saving yourself for the following sets. Record your time using your wrist watch or get someone to time you and see how quickly you can swim 400m.

After the TT, have 10 minutes of recovery. During this 10 minute period swim a minimum of 200m at a very slow pace. By continuing to keep moving your arms, this will help flush blood through them removing any lactic acid or other waste products built up during the TT.

The final set before the cool down is another TT this time over 200m. As with the last TT, I want you to swim as fast as you possibly can with what you have got left. Once again record your time for the 200m with your wrist watch or get someone else to do so.

Make sure both times are written down (or stored in the watches memory) so you don’t forget them. They will become important in future training sessions so that we target the appropriate intensity to make sure that you improve.

The final set is a 400m 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.

Take your 400m Time and subtract your 200m Time, then divide the result by two.  Round this up to the nearest 5 second interval. This will give you your current T-Time, which we will use in some future workouts.

e.g. your times are 400m = 6:47 and 200m = 3:18

6:47 – 3:18 = 3:29

3:29 / 2 = 1:44.5

rounded to 1:45 = T-Time

Session Two

Tri Coaching NZ

This session works on enhancing your speed through the use of a threshold set of 100’s. This is the same as two weeks ago so it gives you the opportunity to compare.

  • 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 all about increasing your speed and has some very long rests to ensure that you can max out your speed and effort.

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 7x 400m (Build 1-3, Build 4-7), 30sec 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.  Complete each drill twice:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS)
  2. Kick On Side (KOS)
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6

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 seven repetitions of 400m with only 30 seconds Rest Interval (RI). Within this set build the pace for the first three repetitions then the next four repetitions. This means that each rep you get quicker up to the third. Your times might look something like this:

Rep Time
1st 6:32 Build 1-3 Steady
2nd 6:24 Fast
3rd 6:18 Faster
4th 6:33 Build 4-7 Steady
5th 6:23 Fast
6th 6:16 Faster
7th 6:12 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.

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

If you would like further advice feel free to contact Coach Ray.

Coach Ray is the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi – Endurance Sports Consultant.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at www.qwik.kiwi, ray@qwikkiwi.com and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly 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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