Saturday Swim Session: Broken 400s

Broken 400’s can help you develop endurance capacity and will help you develop sustained speed whilst swimming.

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 & 3,000m and Option C will be greater than 3,000m.

Option A

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 400m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 100m, 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 600m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 2x
    • 400m, 60sec RI;
    • 4x 100m, 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 800m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x
    • 400m, 60sec RI;
    • 4x 100m, 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 400m (Option A), 600m (Option B) or 800m (Option C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Drill Sets

For Option A Swim 25m doing an appropriate drill prior. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of eight repetitions. For Options B or C, 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 eight repetitions.

The pause referred to above is a stop of about 10 seconds. It’s a chance to grab a drink, review the programme and think about the next drill you will do. If you need 15-20 seconds or longer, you are welcome to take it because the rest duration isn’t physiologically critical to the aim of this set. Having a quick break is neurologically critical though, so make sure you don’t just roll straight from one rep to the next.

Some examples of drills can be found by clicking on the name below:

After the drill set, swim 400m at a nice fast, steady pace. Keep the effort nice and consistent. Once completed you have 60 seconds rest prior to commencing a set of 4x 100m with only 15 secs rest between them. This combination is what is known as ‘Broken 400s‘ and the set totals 800m. Option A does one rep total, Option B does two and Option C does three.

Complete the workout with a 200m Cool Down. Feel free to pause and stretch when needed and/or include stretching as part of each break until the distance is covered.

My first swim coach Greg Meade from Comet Swim Club used to get me to do Broken 400’s. Some of my best times were done that season (and I still don’t get close twenty years later).

If you enjoyed that workout you will also enjoy this one:

12 Weeks to an Iron-Distance Swim PB: Week 11

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 and an expert triathlon and running coach.

Coach Ray specialises in assisting first timers and recreational athletes to achieve their sporting goals. He can be contacted at coachray@coachray.nz 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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