Saturday Swim Session: Simon Cochrane's Half Ironman Prep Session - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Saturday Swim Session: Simon Cochrane’s Half Ironman Prep Session

Within this session you will find a little bit of everything for everyone from Pull Buoy and Paddles to mixing in some Breaststroke and Backstroke, as well as some max sprints. 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.

This weeks session was inspired by one of Simon Cochrane‘s swim sessions he had his athlete Rachel Edwards do a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately for Rachel she had a #garminfail however she had a great Instagram post where I saw it and drew my inspiration from.


Option A

  • 100m F/S, 50m Bk, 100m F/S, 50m Br WU;
  • 2x 100m Pick Up, 30sec RI;
  • 4x
    • 200m Paddles & Pull Buoy, 10sec RI;
    • 2x 25m MAX, 10sec RI;
  • 50m Bk, 50m Br;
  • 200m CD (1,800m);

Option B

  • 150m F/S, 50m Bk, 150m F/S, 50m Br WU;
  • 2x 100m Pick Up, 30sec RI;
  • 4x
    • 300m Paddles & Pull Buoy, 10sec RI;
    • 2x 50m MAX, 10sec RI;
  • 50m Bk, 50m Br;
  • 200m CD (2,500m);

Option C

  • 200m F/S, 100m Bk, 200m F/S, 100m Br WU;
  • 2x 100m Pick Up, 30sec RI;
  • 4x
    • 400m Paddles & Pull Buoy, 10sec RI;
    • 2x 50m MAX, 10sec RI;
  • 100m Bk, 100m Br;
  • 200m CD (3,200m);

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU). Within the Warm Up swim the first segment Free Style (F/S) for 100m (Option A), 150m (Option B) or 200m (Option C). Follow this with 50m (Options A and B) or 100m (Option C) of Backstroke (Bk). The next segment of the Warm Up (WU) is another 100m (Option A), 150m (Option B) or 200m (Option C) of Freestyle (F/S), before finishing with 50m (Options A and B) or 100m (Option C) of Breaststroke (Br). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

After the Warm Up swim two reps of 100m Pick Up, where you pick up (or, as Rachel has written on her hand, “build”) the pace over the 100m. Start off slow and finish off sprinting. Take a 30 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

Next up is a broken set where you complete four reps. Start off with 200m (Option A), 300m (Option B) or 400m (Option C) swimming with both paddles and a pull buoy. Then take a ten second Rest Interval (RI) before completing two, 25m (Option A) or 50m (Options B and C) sprints at MAXIMUM effort with only a ten second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

Finish the workout by swimming 50m (Options A and B) or 100m (Option C) backstroke (Bk) then another 50m (Options A and B) or 100m (Option C) breaststroke (br) prior to the Cool Down (CD).

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.

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 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.
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