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Increase Distance Repeats 50-500 Swim Workout


This is a distance swimming workout to develop endurance and pace or speed awareness. It is a moderately long workout, with the goal of swimming one effort at a moderate speed, then a second swim of the same distance at a faster effort - descend from one to two. As the workout gets longer, you may slow down a bit. That is OK, focus on controlling the first swim's speed; go slow enough that you have enough left in the tank to go faster on the second swim. Once you reach the peak, the 500s, the last few swims drop off in distance. Don't get fooled into going too fast on the first swim just because it is shorter. Keep control until the last 50, then finish fast - last one, fast one.

Looking for a bigger challenge? Instead of two of each distance, swim three of each distance, and descend from the first to the third. That will add 1,100 to the total distance of the workout.

Swim on!

The Swim Workout

Warm-up 1,200 NOTE: It is OK to shorten this warm-up to fit the main set within your amount of time to swim
2 x 200 (:20 Swim and drill mix. Do swim drills for technique practice for one length, then swim for one length, then repeat.
2 x 200 (:10 Kick. First and last 25 of each at a moderate effort.
4 x 100 (:20 Pull. First and last 25 of each at a moderate effort, the rest of each is easy.

Take some extra rest if needed, sip some water or sports drink, and get ready for the main set.

Main Set
4 x 50 (:20 Swim. Descend = each is swum faster than the one before it.
2 x 100 (:15 Swim. Descend.
2 x 300 (:15 Swim. Descend.
2 x 500 (:15 Swim. Descend.
2 x 150 (:15 Swim. Descend.
2 x 50 (:15 Swim. Descend.
1 x 100 Swim. Easy Cool-down.


Click on the "print" icon on the upper right to get a copy formatted for printing so you can print it and take the workout with you to the pool

About Swimming Workouts

This workout is designed to take between 75-minutes and 90-minutes. If that is too much time or distance, then cut things out, but do not always cut out the same thing every workout. And never skip the loosen at the end of the workout. Use that as one last bit of technique work before you leave the swimming pool at the end of the workout.

After the description of the set there is a number in a half-parentheses, like this - (:30 - that is how much rest you get after each swim. For example, 6 x 100 (:30 means you are to swim a 100 (yards or meters), rest 30-seconds, then repeat five more times.

There is nothing special about these swim practice sessions other than what you bring to them. Lots of freedom here. You control how hard or fast you swim and what swim strokes you want to use while swimming the workouts. Normally the amount of rest per swim will limit your top-end speed on a workout, but that does not mean go as fast as you can all of the time. A few guidelines:

  • The more rest you get, the faster the swim.
  • The early parts of a workout should always be easy to moderate and very deliberate.
  • Use your best swimming technique.
  • Stop the workout if you are too tired, go for it again in the future.You get to be a better swimmer by recovering from the workouts you do, not by doing more and more swimming without resting and recovering from that swimming.
  • Have fun with the workouts.
  • Change the strokes you are doing from time to time, try new things, and don't get caught in a rut.

Each workout has:

  • a warm-up
  • stroke drills or swimming technique work
  • kicking
  • pulling
  • a main set
  • a loosen or cool-down

More Reading for Swimmers on Swim Workouts:

Swim on!
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