Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Broken 400s

Broken 400’s can help you develop endurance capacity and will help you develop sustained speed whilst swimming.

Yes, COVID-19 is impacting most swim training all around the world with pools shut in most western countries. I am continuing to produce these workouts and articles for athletes that are either lucky enough to still be able to train but also for when the pool reopens near you, you can use this in the future.

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.

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

  • 400m WU;
  • 6x 33m Drill;
  • 400m, 60sec RI;
  • 4x 100m, 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,600m)

Option B

  • 600m WU;
  • 6x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 2x
    • 400m, 60sec RI;
    • 4x 100m, 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 800m WU;
  • 6x 67m (33m Drill/33m Swim);
  • 3x
    • 400m, 60sec RI;
    • 4x 100m, 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 400m (Option A), 600m (Option B), or 800m (Option C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Drill Sets

For Option A Swim 33m doing an appropriate drill prior. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of eight repetitions. For Options B or C, swim 33m doing an appropriate drill prior to continuing on with regular or normal swimming to complete 67m continuously. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of eight repetitions.

The pause referred to above is a stop of about 10 seconds. It’s a chance to grab a drink, review the programme and think about the next drill you will do. If you need 15-20 seconds or longer, you are welcome to take it because the rest duration isn’t physiologically critical to the aim of this set. Having a quick break is neurologically critical though, so make sure you don’t just roll straight from one rep to the next.

Some examples of drills can be found by clicking on the name below:

After the drill set, swim 400m at a nice fast, steady pace. Keep the effort nice and consistent. Once completed you have 60 seconds of rest prior to commencing a set of 4x 100m with only 15 secs rest between them. This combination is what is known as ‘Broken 400s’ and the set totals 800m. Option A does one rep total, Option B does two, and Option C does three.

Complete the workout with a 200m Cool Down. Feel free to pause and stretch when needed and/or include stretching as part of each break until the distance is covered.

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.

I’ve taken my most popular training plan and given it a make-over for 2020. I’ve taken the 12 Weeks to an Ironman Swim PB – Swim Faster with Smarter Training and I’ve modified to expand the programme from 12 weeks and include an option for more than 3 swims per week.

Now the programme has created some great times for athletes competing at Ironman events around the world, but it was overly set in stone. Now if you have got between 8 & 24 weeks to an Ironman and are consistently swimming 3x, 4x, or 5x per week, I’ve created an option for you. This is regardless of the length of the pool 25m, 33⅓yd, or 50m pool.

This programme is peroidised and builds throughout as you get closer to your Ironman. It works through four key phases:

  • Foundation & Injury Prevention Phase (building your base fitness and developing technique)
  • Early Quality Phase (develop strength and continue developing technique)
  • Transition Quality Phase (focus on threshold pace and maintain technique)
  • Final Quality Phase (further develop your speed and maintain technique and taper off for the event)

Although the original 12-week programme is proven and gets RESULTS. This modified version is unproven. I know it will get the results, but I need the proof. I need a dozen people to complete the programme, so I can measure how much improvement the programme actually delivers.

If you are entered in an Ironman, Iron-distance event, or an Ocean Swim/Open Water event and have between 8 and 24 weeks to train for it, you might be a good fit to try this training plan out. Not everyone will be a good fit for this programme.

This training plan is for people that are keen to swim faster in their Ironman (or other events). You need to be committed to completing a minimum of three swim workouts every week. You need to be meticulous with tracking your training.

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