Tri Swim Coach

Saturday Swim Session: Gale Bernhardt’s Endurance 4 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

  • 300m WU;
  • 200m K;
  • 4x 150m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 20sec RI;
  • 60sec RI;
  • 4x 100m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 15sec RI;
  • 60sec RI;
  • 4x 50m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (1,900m)

Option B

  • 300m WU;
  • 300m K;
  • 6x 150m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 20sec RI;
  • 60sec RI;
  • 6x 100m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 15sec RI;
  • 60sec RI;
  • 6x 50m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (2,500m)

Option C

  • 300m WU;
  • 300m K;
  • 8x 150m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 20sec RI;
  • 60sec RI;
  • 8x 100m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 15sec RI;
  • 60sec RI;
  • 8x 50m (Desc 2-2-2-2) 10sec RI;
  • 200m CD (3,100m)

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

The next set is kicking for 200m (Option A) or 300m (Options B & C), use some fins but avoid using a kick board.

The first Main set is made of four (Option A) or six (Option B) or eight (Option C) reps of 150m. These reps swim in a Descend 2-2-2-2 format. Swim two reps at a moderate pace, then two reps at a fast pace, then two reps at a faster pace, and then finally two reps at your FASTEST pace. Take a 20-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep and then a 60-second Rest Interval (RI) before the next set.

The second main set also swims in Descend 2-2-2-2 format. This time it is made up of four (Option A) or six (Option B) or eight (Option C) 100m reps. Take a fifteen-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep and then a 60-second Rest Interval (RI) before the next set.

The second final set also swims in Descend 2-2-2-2 format. This time it is made up of four (Option A) or six (Option B) or eight (Option C) 50m reps. Take a fifteen-second Rest Interval (RI) between each rep.

For the Cool Down (CD) swim 200m. 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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