Saturday Swim Session: Matt Chrabot's 40x 50m - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: Matt Chrabot’s 40x 50m

With a series of 50’s done with minimal rest, you get a great aerobic training stimulus. As you work through this session you get more rest and can apply more speed to the reps and your 50m times should get faster. 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.

Inspiration for this weeks session comes from Matt Chrabot who wrote about these sessions in an article for Training Peaks, you can read the article here.

Option A

  • 200m WU (every 4th length Back);
  • 4x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (with every 4th fast) 10sec RI;
  • 6x 50m (with every 3rd fast) 15sec RI;
  • 4x 50m (alt easy/fast) 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50 fast 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,700m)

Option B

  • 400m WU (every 4th length Back);
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 16x 50m (with every 4th fast) 10sec RI;
  • 12x 50m (with every 3rd fast) 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m (alt easy/fast) 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50 fast 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 1,000m WU (every 4th length Back);
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 16x 50m (with every 4th fast) 10sec RI;
  • 12x 50m (with every 3rd fast) 15sec RI;
  • 8x 50m (alt easy/fast) 20sec RI;
  • 4x 50 fast 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,400m)

Start the session with a 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B) or 1,000m (Option C) Warm Up (WU). As you work your way through the Warm Up (WU), swim every fourth length as backstroke. During the Warm Up (WU) 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 eight (Options B & C) repetitions of 25m Drill. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill set.  Do the drills below once through for Option A and twice through for Option B & 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.

The next four sets are all based around 50m repetitions and start with a set of eight (Option A) or sixteen (Options B & C) repetitions. These are all done with only a ten second Rest Interval (RI). Every fourth rep swim as fast as you can (eg, 4th, 8th, 12th & 16th reps fast).

The second set is made up of six (Option A) or twelve (Options B & C) repetitions of 50m. These are done with a 15 second Rest Interval (RI). Every third rep is swum as fast as you can (eg. 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th).

The next set is four reps (Option A) or eight reps (Options B & C), alternating an easy rep followed by a fast rep. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

The final set is four reps of fast 50m reps, take a good 30 seconds Rest Interval (RI) between each rep.

To finish, complete the session with a 200m Cool Down (CD). 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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