Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Build Sets

This session gets you to build your pace through the main set. Effectively changing gears as this session develops, challenges you to be adaptable and work on your speed. This session is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer Ocean Swims.

Each Saturday I will post a Swim Session, most weeks I will load three options up for you to do. Option A is for swimmers who are after a workout between 1,000 & 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

  • 200m WU;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 200m Build 1-4 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 200m Build 1-4 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 200m Build 1-4 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

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.

Next up is a drill set of eight repetitions (Option A) or twelve (Options B and C) 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 for a total of eight reps (Option A) or three times through for a total of twelve reps (Options B and 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 and watch it.

Following the set of drills take the fins off and complete a set of four (Option A), eight (Option B), or twelve (Option C) reps of 200m. Take a 30-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep. As you work through build your pace from one rep to the next over each sub-set of four. Start off with a steady pace for the first rep, then build to a fast pace for the second rep, third rep swim faster, and for the fourth rep as your fastest. If doing Options B or C repeat this process for the remaining reps by reverting back to a steady pace for the fifth (and ninth) reps.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cooldown (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, I published a similar session 12 months ago.

Saturday Swim Session: 300’s

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