Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: 400’s For Success

Stamina developed by swimming 400’s will be of benefit to all triathletes and open water swimmers. This session is perfect for Ironman and Olympic distance triathletes or people doing longer ocean swims.

This is continuing the series of Saturday Swim Sessions that you can do to enhance your swimming using a 33⅓ yard or metre pool. Each week 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.

I’ve written these sessions for a 33⅓ metre pool, but a lot of the older style pools are 33⅓ yards long (100 feet), so simply interchange the metres for yards and do the session.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 3x 400m Build 1-3, 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,867m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 6x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 4x 400m Build 1-4, 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 600m WU;
  • 6x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 6x 400m Build 1-3, 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,600m)

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. There are four (Option A) or six (Options B and C) repetitions of 67m Drill/Swim, where you do a drill for the first 33m of the repetition and then normal swimming for the next 33m swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill/swim set.  Do the drills below once through for Option A, if you are doing Option B or C go once through and then repeat the first two drills:

  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.

Take the fins off prior to the next set.

The next set is made up of three (Option A), four (Option B) or six (Option C) reps of 400m. They all have a 30 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep. This set is designed to be built through as you work your way though it. For Option A, build each rep 1-3. Start off with a moderate paced rep, then a faster rep and then finish with your third rep being your fastest. For Option B which is build 1-4, do a similar process as with Option A. Start with a moderate rep, then a fast rep, faster rep and with your fourth rep make that your fastest rep. For Option C which like Option A is also build 1-3, work through the same process but then repeat it for reps 4-6.

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 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.
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