Swim Session

Saturday Swim Session: The Ledecky Threshold Set

Katie Ledecky dominated female distance swimming setting the World Record in the 400m, 800m, and 1,500m Freestyle, and won five Olympic Gold Medals and 15 World Championships, more than any other female swimmer. This session was a staple leading into major championship events and will benefit any triathlete or open water swimmer.

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 came from an article on Your Swim Log by Olivier Poirier-Leroy. Click here to view the original article.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +20sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +15sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,800m)

Option B

  • 400m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +20sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +15sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +10sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,800m)

Option C

  • 800m WU;
  • 8x 50m Drill/Swim;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +20sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +15sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +10sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 3x 100m on T-Time +5sec;
  • 300m 15sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,800m)

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

Next up is a drill/swim set. There are four (Option A) or eight (Options B & C) 50m repetitions made up of 25m Drill, then straight into 25m normal swimming. Feel free to use fins whilst doing this set.  Do the drills below twice (Options A & B) or three (Option C) times through:

  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 starts with swimming three, 100 metre reps on your T-Time plus 20 seconds. For example if your T-Time is 2:00 minutes you start each rep 2:20 after starting the previous rep. If it takes you 1:55 to swim the 100m you get 25 seconds rest, but if it takes 2:05 you only get 15 seconds rest. The owness is on you to push the effort and get more rest. Read more on T-Times here:

The next set is swimming 300m straight, take a 15 second Rest Interval (RI) after the rep and then straight into the next set.

The next set is another three, 100 metre reps but this time they are done on your T-Time plus 15 seconds. There will be more owness on your to push your pace and swim these faster to get more rest. But there are only three reps to complete.

If you are doing Option A your last set is another 300m straight. Option A swimmers move to the Cool Down (CD). Option B & C take a 15 second Rest Interval (RI) and move onto the next set.

For Option B & C, next up is a set of three, 100 metre reps on your T-Time plus ten seconds this time. Things are getting tighter, so really push the pace.

Then a set of 300 straight to finish for Option B. If you are doing Option C, take a 15 second Rest Interval (RI) after this rep and into the next set. Option B moves to the Cool Down (CD).

Option C has one final set of three, 100m reps to complete. This time it is on your T-Time plus 5 seconds. You’ll really need to dig deep for this set.

Then it is onto a 300m rep prior to the Cool Down (CD).

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 tg stop and stretch during the cool down.

Katie Ledecky would complete five sets of the 3x 100m, 300m, 3x 100m, 300m combo. The first set of 3x 100m would be done on 1:10, the 300m would be done on 3:10, the second 3x 100m would then be done on 1:05 and then another 3:10 turn around for the 300. She would then repeat the whole set a total of five times.

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.

I’ve recently launched a new swim training plan that will improve your swimming. 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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