Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Swim Sessions
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: 50’s to Develop Your Speed

50’s are a great way to develop your speed, especially when done in large numbers. This session 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;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Build 1-4 on ½ T Time + 10sec;
  • 8x 50m (alt odd reps Fast, even reps steady) 10sec RI
  • 200m CD (1,600m);

Option B

  • 600m WU;
  • 12x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 12x 50m Build 1-4 on ½ T Time + 10sec;
  • 12x 50m (alt odd reps Fast, even reps steady) 10sec RI
  • 200m CD (2,600m);

Option C

  • 1,000m WU;
  • 16x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 16x 50m Build 1-4 on ½ T Time + 10sec;
  • 16x 50m (alt odd reps Fast, even reps steady) 10sec RI
  • 200m CD (3,600m);

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 600m (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 drill set of eight repetitions (Option A), twelve repetitions (Option B), or sixteen repetitions (Option 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 Option A, three times through for Option B and four times through 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 and watch it.

After the set of  drills take the fins off.

There are two main sets for this workout both of them full of 50’s.

The first set is eight (Option A), twelve (Option B) or sixteen (Option C) repetitions of 50m. With each rep build your speed for four reps and then drop your pace back a little. Do the first rep at a moderate pace, the second at a fast pace, third at a faster pace and then the fourth at your fastest pace.  Your fifth (or ninth, or thirteenth) rep will be back to a moderate pace as you build through the next four reps. Swim these on half your T-Time plus ten seconds, eg. if your T-Time is 2:00, half of that is 1:00 then adding ten seconds means you start each rep every 1:10. For more info on T-Times click here.

The second set is also a set of eight (Option A), twelve (Option B) or sixteen (Option C) repetitions of 50m. Take a ten second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. Swim odd numbered reps (1, 3, 5, 7 etc…) as fast as possible and the even numbered reps (2, 4, 6, 8 etc…) at a steady pace.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. 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.

You can repeat this session in a few weeks time and track your progress by measuring how much faster you are now swimming the distance.

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.

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Ray has competed in triathlons from sprint to ironman distance (both IM Taupo and Challenge Wanaka). Consequently he is aware of the importance of balancing training with lifestyle, thus complimenting other important aspects of an athlete’s life (family, work, study commitments etc…). • Entering your first triathlon? • Stepping up to a longer distance? • Looking to go faster? • Wanting to turn previous negatives into positives? Ray has coached athletes to achieve these and more. Training programmes are accessible online, so athletes can be located anywhere and still reap the benefits of Ray’s coaching. Contact him to discuss how he can assist you to achieve your goals.