Saturday Swim Session: GTN's Sub-Hour Ironman Swim Session #1 - Coach Ray

Coach Ray

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Saturday Swim Session: GTN’s Sub-Hour Ironman Swim Session #1

Completing the Ironman Swim in under 60 minutes is a significant achievement. Today at Ironman NZ plenty of people will be trying to achieve this milestone. Consistent pacing and sustained effort is the key to achieving this goal. This is a great session for triathletes and open water swimmers to do to build their sustained speed.

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.

The inspiration for this session comes from the Global Triathlon Network (GTN) check out their video here:

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 2x 50m Pull;
  • 2x 25m Target Pace;
  • 2 Sets (1st Swim/2nd Pull):
    • 2x 100m on 2:00;
    • 6x 50m on 1:00;
    • 100m Easy;
  • 2x 100m CD (1,750m)

Option B

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m Pull;
  • 4x 25m Target Pace;
  • 2 Sets (1st Swim/2nd Pull):
    • 4x 100m on 2:00;
    • 8x 50m on 1:00;
    • 200m Easy;
  • 3x 100m CD (2,600m)

Option C

  • 200m WU;
  • 4x 50m Pull;
  • 4x 25m Target Pace;
  • 2 Sets (1st Swim/2nd Pull):
    • 6x 100m on 2:00;
    • 12x 50m on 1:00;
    • 200m Easy;
  • 3x 100m CD (3,400m)

Start the workout with a Warm Up (WU) covering 200m. During the warm up feel free to stop and stretch as needed.  It doesn’t need to be a continuous swim.

This session is all about maintaining a pace of 1:34 per 100m or 1:26 per 100 yards within the session. This equates to 0:23 per 25m, or 0:47 per 50m.

Start with a set of two (Option A) or four (Options B & C) reps of 50m using a pull buoy. Take as much rest as you require between reps.

Next up is a set of two (Option A) or four (Options B & C) reps over 25m swimming at Target Pace (23 seconds).

There are two main sets the first one is swum and the second one is with a pull buoy.

Each set contains a set of two (Option A), four (Option B), or six (Option C), 100m reps starting each rep every two minutes. Then move straight into a set of six (Option A), eight (Option B) or twelve (Option C), 50m reps starting each rep on one minute. Then swim 100m (Option A) or 200m (Options B & C) easy before repeating with a pull buoy.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim two (Option A) or three (Options B & C) reps of 100m. Unlike the previous sets which have to be freestyle, the cool down (like the warm up) can be any stroke you wish to swim.  I encourage you tg stop and stretch between each rep 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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