Saturday Swim Session: Thomas Groden's 8-800's - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Saturday Swim Session: Thomas Groden’s 8-800’s

This is a big, solid session that will build a solid base and develop the intrinsic ability to pace your longer swims. This session is great for swimmers and triathletes preparing for longer, open water swims.

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. This weeks sessions are a little longer than normal.

The inspiration for these sessions came from the former head coach of Boston College Swimming – Thomas Groden in an article by Olivier Poirier-Leroy read it here. The session has been adapted to fit the purpose of these articles, as it is 7,400yds total.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 800m 1:30min RI;
  • 2x 400m 30sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,000m)

Option B

  • 200m WU;
  • 800m 1:30min RI;
  • 2x 400m 30sec RI;
  • 4x 200m 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 400m WU;
  • 800m 1:30min RI;
  • 2x 400m 30sec RI;
  • 4x 200m 15sec RI;
  • 8x 100m 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) by swimming 200m (Options A & B), or 400m (Option C). During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

The main sets are made up of sets that are 800m long. Start with a single 800m rep before taking a 90 second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set is made up of two, 400m reps. Take a 30 second Rest Interval (RI) between reps and then prior to the next set as well. If you are doing Option A, move to your Cool Down (CD) at this point.

The following set is made of four, 200m reps. Between these reps take a 15 second Rest Interval (RI) (as well as prior to the next set if you aren’t moving to the Cool Down (CD)). If you are doing Option B, move to your Cool Down (CD) at this point.

The final set is made up of eight, 100m reps, with a ten second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

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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