Saturday Swim Session – Test Yourself With a Time Trial

Swimming time trials is a great way to test yourself and measure your progress. Incorporating them into your programme regularly gives you an idea of how your fitness is changing.  This workout is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer ocean 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

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m Pick Ups, 10sec RI;
  • 1,000m TT;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B 

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m Pick Ups, 10sec RI;
  • 1,500m TT;
  • 200m CD (2,700m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 25m Pick Ups, 10sec RI;
  • 1,500m TT;
  • 200m CD (3,500m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B) or 1,000m (Option C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Next up is a set of four (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C) repetitions of 50m Drill/Swim, where you do a drill for the first 25m of the repetition and then normal swimming for the next 25m swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set. Do the drills below, twice through if doing Option B or three times for Option C:

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

I wrote an article about Swimming Drills previously. Click here to read it and watch the videos of how to do the respective drills.

Take your fins off for the next sets.

Next up is a set of eight Pick Ups over 25m. For a Pick Up you increase your speed as you swim your length, getting faster as you get closer to end of the rep. You pick up your pace within the length. After each rep take a ten second Rest Interval (RI).

The main set is a Time Trial over 1,000m (Option A) or 1,500m (Options B and C). Swim this time trial at a steady pace, as consistently as you can. Record your time and then repeat this session (or a similar session) every four to six weeks to compare your times.

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.

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

I am the Head Coach & Director of Qwik Kiwi Coaching.

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.

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

Saturday Swim Session: 25 & 50’s for Speed

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