Saturday Swim Session: Build 400’s

This session will develop your swimming endurance thus giving you stamina for longer swims.

Each week I will load three options up for you to do. Option A is for swimmers who are after a workout less than 2,000 metres. Option B is for swimmers who are after a workout between 2,000 and 3,000m and Option C will be greater than 3,000m.

Option A

  • 300m Warm Up;
  • 6x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 3x 400m Build 1-3, 40sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (2,000m)

Option B

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 3x 400m Build 1-3, 40sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (2,600m)

Option C

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 6x 400m Build 1-3, 40sec RI;
  • 200m Cool Down (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up covering 300m (Option A) or 600m (Option B & C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It does not need to be a continuous swim.

Swim 25m doing an appropriate drill prior to continuing on with regular or normal swimming to complete 50m continuously. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of six reps (Option A) or twelve reps (Option B and C). The pause referred to above is a stop of about 10 seconds. It is a chance to grab a drink, review the programme and think about the next drill you will do. If you need 15-20 second or longer you are welcome to take it because the rest duration is not physiologically critical to the aim of this set. Having a quick break is neurologically critical though, so make sure you do not just roll straight from one rep to the next.

A YouTube video of the drill can be found by clicking on the drill listed below, complete these drills once through for a total of six reps (Options A) or twice through for Option B & C:

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

Feel free to use some fins for this drill set, but do not forget to take them off at the end of it.

The main set for Option A & B involves three 400m reps with a 40 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps. Swim these by building your pace each three reps. Option C involves six reps, building your pace each block of three reps.

Here is an example of some times swum by a client of mine when doing this session Option A. Note how they get quicker through each block of three reps.

Rep Time
1 6:05 Build 1-3 Fast
2 5:59 Faster
3 5:58 Fastest
4 6:07 Build 4-6 Fast
5 6:03 Faster
6 6:01 Fastest

Then it is time for a 200m Cool Down (CD). Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cool down (like the warm up) can be any stroke you wish to swim.  You can also stop and rest after any length.  I encourage you to stop and stretch during the cool down.

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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If you enjoyed this workout, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

Saturday Swim Session: 200’s

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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