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

Over the coming 12 weeks, I will post 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 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 NZ

This is the twelfth week. Other weeks can be found below:

Each week will have three sessions for you to complete. I also encourage you to get in the open water once a fortnight to develop those skill 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 week’s training continues to develop your base fitness with a strong focus on technique and endurance.

Session One

Tri Coaching 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.

  • 3,000m Swim

Simply swim for 3,000m continuously. Pausing briefly at the 1,000m and 2,000m mark to grab a quick drink is acceptable as long as it is nothing more than a very brief pause.

In a 50-metre pool, this is 60 lengths.  In a 33 1/3 metre it is 90 lengths and in a 25 metre pool, it is 120 lengths. Compare the time to when you did this same session back in Week 7.

Session Two

Tri Coaching NZ

This session also works on enhancing your sustained speed through the use of a threshold set of 100s. This is very similar to last week’s session but with ten seconds of rest instead of fifteen.

  • 600m Warm Up;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 20x 100m Build 1-4, 10sec 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 10 seconds of 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 backstroke (Bk) or breaststroke (Br) to mix it up.

Session Three

Tri Training NZ

By now you are chomping at the bit to get on the start line. Most Iron-Distance events have the swim buoys in place long before the race morning to give you the opportunity to swim the course and familiarise yourself with it. I recommend doing this at the race start time, so you get to see where the sun is in the sky, what the glare is like, etc… at that hour of the morning.

Some events even have organised swims in the lead-up to the race. Challenge Wanaka this year has theirs at 7 am on Thursday 18 February 2016 and is free. At the time of writing Ironman NZ didn’t have anything listed on their event website but this is often arranged by the Taupo Master’s Swimming Club.

Good luck with your race.  Feel free to drop me an email by clicking here and let me know how you got on with both the training and the race.

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 previously.

Saturday Swim Session: 150 KPS

Get my 12 Weeks To An Ironman Swim PB Training Plan – Swim Faster with Smart Training through Training Peaks. Results Guaranteed. Purchase here. Use discount code CR30 to get a 30% discount.

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