Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Gale Bernhardt’s Endurance 1 Workout

Endurance is a critical component of fitness for triathletes and long-distance open water swimmers. This is a great session for triathletes and open water swimmers to do to build their top-end speed.

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 today’s workout comes from Swim Workouts for Triathletes written by Gale Bernhardt and Nick Hansen.

Option A

  • 200m WU;
  • 2x 200m (50 Swim/100 K/50 Swim) 20sec RI;
  • 200m, 100m Mod, 20sec RI;
  • 100m, 50m -ve Split, 25sec RI;
  • 2x 100m FAST, 30sec RI;
  • 4x 100m Pull, 25sec RI;
  • 100m CD (1,750m)

Option B

  • 200m WU;
  • 2x 200m (50 Swim/100 K/50 Swim) 20sec RI;
  • 300m, 200m, 100m Mod, 20sec RI;
  • 200m, 100m, 50m -ve Split, 25sec RI;
  • 200m, 100m FAST, 30sec RI;
  • 6x 100m Pull, 25sec RI;
  • 100m CD (2,550m)

Option C

  • 200m WU;
  • 2x 200m (50 Swim/100 K/50 Swim) 20sec RI;
  • 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m Mod, 20sec RI;
  • 300m, 200m, 100m -ve Split, 25sec RI;
  • 200m, 100m FAST, 30sec RI;
  • 4x 150m Pull, 20sec RI;
  • 100m CD (3,200m)

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.

Continue the Warm Up (WU) with a set of two, 200m reps. Within the 200m break it up into 50m swimming, followed by 100m kicking (without a board), and then finish the rep with 50m swimming. Take a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) after each 200m rep. Watch this video on how to kick without using a board:

The first set of the main body of the workout is made up of two (Option A), three (Option B), or four (Option C) reps done at a moderate pace. Each rep gets slightly shorter as you make your way through them. Option C starts with a 400m rep, then moves to 300m (which is the start point for Option B), then 200m (which is the start point for Option A), then the last rep of this set is 100m. Take a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep.

Next up is a set of two (Option A) or three (Options B & C) reps, for these reps they swim as a negative split. A negative split means the second half of the rep swims faster than the first half. Option A’s reps are 100m and 50m respectively with a 25-second Rest Interval (RI). Option B’s reps are 200m, 100m, and 50m also with a 25-second Rest Interval (RI). Option C’s reps are 300m, 200m, and 100m respectively also with a 25-second Rest Interval (RI).

The next set is made up of two reps swum as FAST as you can with only a 30-second Rest Interval (RI). Option A has two, 100m reps. Options B & C swim a rep of 200m and then a rep of 100m.

The final set is swum using a pull buoy. Option A’s set is made up of four, 100m reps with a 25-second Rest Interval (RI) between reps. Option B’s set is made up of six, 100m reps with a 25-second Rest Interval (RI) between reps. Option C’s set is made up of six, 150m reps with only a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) between reps.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 100m. 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, here is a similar session I published 12 months ago.

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