Tri Swim Training

Saturday Swim Session: 800’s

Swimming 800’s can develop your endurance very effectively for both triathlons and Ocean Swimming events.

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;
  • 2x 800m 45sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,000m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 2x 800m 45sec RI;
  • 8x 50m 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,000m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 3x 800m 45sec RI;
  • 8x 50m 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (4,000m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B) or 600m (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

The second set involves a set of 50m Drill/Swim. Option A doesn’t include this set.  Options B and C both do eight reps.  These are all done with roughly a ~10-15 second break in between. The 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 or three times depending on which Option you are doing.

  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.

Next up is a set of 800m.  Options A and B both do two reps and Option C does three reps. Swim these reps as fast and as consistently as you can. After you have completed each rep take a 45 second Rest Interval (RI).

The workout for Option A goes straight into the Cool Down after the two 800m reps.

The final set for Options B and C involves a sprint set of eight 50m reps with a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. Try and swim these reps as fast as you can go sprinting.

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.

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

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 and 021 348 729. Make sure you sign up to his monthly informative newsletter.

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