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.
This week I’ll take you through what Ledecky did, next week I’ve modified the workout for us mere mortals to be able to complete with the normal three options I publish.
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.
- 200m WU on 4min;
- 8x 150m (100m IM + 50m K) on 2:20;
- 8x 100m Pull (Build 1-4) on 1:20;
- 8x 50m Drill on 50;
- 16x 25m on :30;
- 4x Drill,
- 4x Pick Up,
- 4x Perfect Technique,
- 4x FAST,
- 800m -ve Split on 9:00;
- 4x 200m Fast on 2:30;
- 600m -ve Split on 7:00;
- 6x 100m Fast on 1:15;
- 400m -ve Split on 4:40;
- 2x 200m Fast on 2:30;
- 200m -ve Split on 2:20;
- 2x 100m Fast on 1:15;
- 200m Dbl Arm Back on 4:00;
- 8x 50m K on 1:00;
- 400m CD
Total: 8,000m (although Katie typically did this set in yards)
For the Warm Up (WU) start with a 200m swim. Ledecky did this and rested until the four-minute mark.
The first set is made up of eight, 150m reps. the first 100m of which is an Individual Medley (IM) – 25m each of Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke, and Freestyle, then the final 50m is kicking. Ledecky did this starting every two minutes and twenty seconds.
The second set is also eight reps, but this time is swimming with a pull buoy for 100m. Building the pace for the first four reps (moderate, fast, faster & fast respectively for each rep), then dropping back to a moderate pace for the fifth rep and continuing to build the pace again for the last rep to be fast. Ledecky did this starting every one minute and twenty seconds.
Next up is a set of eight by 50m Drills. I’m not a fan of time pressure being put on drills but Ledecky did the set starting each rep every 50 seconds. I have written previous articles about drills to enhance your swimming.
Next up is a set of sixteen, 25-metre reps. The first four reps are all swum as drills. The next four are swum picking up your pace. Start off with a few gentle strokes, then a few moderate pace strokes, then a few fast strokes, and continue picking up your effort until you finish the reps with a few strokes absolutely springing to your max. The ninth to twelfth reps have swum with perfect technique and the final four reps have swum as fast as you can (the faster you go the more rest you’ll get). These are all done starting every 30 seconds.
Next up is a series of broken sets: start with an 800m rep swum with a negative split. A negative split is where the second half is faster than the first half. Rest until the nine-minute mark and then swim another 800m but this one is broken into four reps of 200m. The 200m reps are started every 2:30.
Next up is a 600m rep, which also swum as a negative split. Then starting on the seven-minute mark: another 600m has swum but this is broken into six, 100-metre reps starting every 1:15.
Then a 400m rep, swum as a negative split. Then starting on 4:40 is another 400m which is broken into a set of two, 200-metre reps starting every 2:30.
Finally for this series is a 200m, negative split rep. Then starting on the 2:20 is another 200m broken as a set of two, 100-metre reps on 1:15.
To loosen the arms up after that series swim 200m double arm backstroke for four minutes.
The final set is eight, 50-metre reps of fast freestyle kicking. Start each rep at the 60-second mark.
For the Cool Down (CD) swim 400m. 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.
Keep an eye out for next week’s article that will cover a modified version of this workout for the majority of us.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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