Saturday Swim Session: 8 Week Fitness Swim Training Plan Week 1 - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

Training for Excellence, with Excellent Training

Tri Swim Coach
Swim Sessions Triathlon Training

Saturday Swim Session: 8 Week Fitness Swim Training Plan Week 1

I’ve been working on a new Fitness Swim Training Plan to improve your swimming over 8 weeks. The sessions for this programme are between 1,500m and 2,100m long and there are three sessions each week. I’ve got variations of the training plan for people who can complete four or five swims each week, as well as for people who can only fit two swims per week. As well as a 12, 16 and 20 week variation of the programme. These are the sessions for the first week.

I will be launching the training plan for purchase in the New Year. If you are interested in starting 2021 with commitment and make some dedicated improvement in your swimming, complete the form at the end of the article.

Session 01

  • 300m WU;
  • 6x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 25m Pick Up, 10sec RI;
  • 400m TT;
  • 200m swim over 10min;
  • 200m TT;
  • 200m CD;

Start the workout with a Warm Up covering 300m. During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

Drill Set

Swim 25m doing an appropriate drill prior to continuing on with regular or normal swimming to complete 50m continuously. Use fins when doing these drills. Pause prior to conducting the next repetition for a total of six reps.

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 second or longer you are welcome to take it because the rest duration isn’t physiologically critical to the aim of this set. Having a wee 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:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS) left side
  2. Kick On Side (KOS) right side
  3. 6/1/6
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov

These drills have been popularised by Swim Smooth who offer a number of excellent coaching resources.

Next up is a Pick Up set. This set simply means that you pick up the pace as you swim through each repetition. Start each rep nice and slow for a few strokes, then swim a few strokes at a moderate pace, then a  few at a fast pace, a few more faster, then getting faster still, finishing the rep at maximum sprint as you lunge for the wall. Use reps of 25m and complete four reps. After each repetition have a Rest Interval (RI) of 10 seconds.

The next set is a 400m Time Trial. Swim as fast as you can completing the distance at a nice steady pace. Record your time.

Over the next ten minutes swim a minimum of 200m. Do this at a very gentle pace as it’s purpose is to keep the arms moving to clear lactic acid out of them.

The final set is a 200m Time Trial. As per the 400m Time Trial, swim as fast as you can at a nice consistent pace, recording your time.

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

The concept of T-Time has been developed through a number of authors with a number of different names utilised (most popular would be Swim Smooth‘s CSS or Critical Swim Speed). There are various versions of the test (i.e. 1,000m TT, swimming 200m & 100m TTs, 3x 300m or 3x 100m) that all approximate the same thing. My preferred method is the 400m & 200m TT.

The results are critical so ensure that they are recorded correctly and accurately. Make sure you have a stop watch of some description that you can easily operate in the water whilst swimming or have someone pool side to record your times for you.

To determine your T-Time, subtract your 200m time from you 400m time and divide by 2.

T-Time = (400m Time – 200m Time ) / 2 

Here is a real time example:

T-Time = (7:19 – 3:31) / 2

= (3:48) / 2

= 1:54

Rounding up to the next five second block will give you a T-Time of 1:55.

Session 02

  • 400m WU;
  • 6x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 4x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 4x 50m IM 20sec RI;
  • 8x 25m F/S on 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD;

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) start with 400m of Freestyle (F/S). 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 six repetitions 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:

  1. Kick On Side (KOS) left side 
  2. Kick On Side (KOS) right side 
  3. 6/1/6 
  4. 6/3/6
  5. Broken Arrow
  6. Popov

I wrote an article about swimming drills previously. Click here to read and watch it.

Next up is a set of four, 50m reps completing them in Individual Medley (IM) order. The first rep will be butterfly, the second backstroke, the third will be breaststroke and the final rep will be freestyle. If you can’t do any of the strokes give it an honest attempt for as many strokes as possible before reverting to freestyle. Take a 20 second Rest Interval (RI) after each rep.

Follow this with a set of eight, 25m Freestyle reps with a ten second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

Repeat these two sets again with another 4x 50m IM and then a 8x 25m F/S.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. Unlike the previous sets which had the stroke detailed, 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.

Session 03

  • 200m WU;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 8x 50m (25m Drill/25m Swim);
  • 8x 50m Swim Golf 10sec RI;
  • 8x 25m Drill;
  • 200m CD

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m (Option A), 400m (Options 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.

Next up is a drill set of eight (Option A) or twelve repetitions (Options B and C) of 25m Drill. Feel free to use fins whilst doing the drill set.  Do the drills below twice through (Option A) or three times through to make twelve reps (Options B and C):

  1. Kick On Side (KOS) left side 
  2. Kick On Side (KOS) right side 
  3. 6/1/6 
  4. 6/3/6

Following that is a drill set of eight (Option A) or twelve repetitions (Options B and 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 (Option A) or twice through to make twelve reps (Options B and 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 main set involves eight reps of 50m Swim Golf. During this set you will need to count your strokes for each 50m rep (of which there will be eight reps). Time each length and add the time (in seconds) to the number of strokes taken to complete to get a Golf Score.   i.e. if it takes you 50 seconds and you take 50 strokes your Golf Score will be 100 (50 + 50).  With each rep try and get a better Golf Score than the previous rep by either swimming more efficiently (without a drop in speed) or by swimming faster (and maintaining your efficiency). After each rep take a ten second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set involves repeating the first Drill set of either another eight (Option A) or twelve (Options B and C) reps.

Prior to the Cool Down (CD) Option C has another set of Swim Golf to complete.

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.

These sessions can be found in my new Fitness Swimming Training Plan that is being launched in time for New Years. If your New Year’s resolution involves swimming faster with limited time to train. Complete the form below and get more information about this great plan.

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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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