Swim Session

Saturday Swim Session: John Wood’s Endurance Workout

This is a great session that develops specific endurance for triathletes and open water swimmers.

Yes, COVID-19 is impacting most swim training all around the world with pools shut in a number of western countries, but pools are starting to open up again in some places. 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.

The inspiration for these sessions is based on a session from John Wood published here.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 6x 50m Swolf 10sec RI;
  • 5x 200 20sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 4x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 8x 50m Swolf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 200 20sec RI;
  • 300m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 800m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 8x 50m Swolf 10sec RI;
  • 10x 200 20sec RI;
  • 300m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Option B), or time 800m (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 four (Options A and B) or eight 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 once through for Options A and B, and twice 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.

The first main set involves Swolf. Swolf is swimming golf and involves counting your strokes (each time your hand enters the water) for 50m. Also, record your time for the 50m in seconds and add them together. Therefore 50 strokes and 50 seconds equals a Swolf score of 100. If you were to swim more efficiently or faster without impacting the other, your Swolf score will improve i.e. if you swim 48 seconds whilst maintaining 50 strokes or if you swim further with each stroke and only take 48 strokes whilst maintaining the 50-second time.

Complete six (Option A) or eight reps (Options B & C) of 50m trying to improve your Swolf score each rep you do.  After every 50m take a 10-second Rest Interval (RI).

The next main set is made up of five (Option A), eight (Option B), or ten (Option C) reps of 200m, take a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m (Option A) or 300m (Options B & C). Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cooldown (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, 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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