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Endurance Builder Swim Workout


This is a distance-oriented swim workout. The aim is to get in some yardage while still keeping some fast swimming in the mix.

The longer efforts are all negative split swims. Each negative split effort should start very controlled, hold back on the effort. At the half-way point of the swim, pick up the effort, still under control, but increase the speed of the swim.

The sets of 2 x 50 between each longer swim are to be done at a fast but still controlled effort. They should keep your heart rate elevated, and can sometimes help make the longer swims faster by tricking you into a little bit of a faster pace when you are starting the longer swim. Your brain and body have done some fast swimming, and you want to start the longer swim at a controlled but good effort, and if things are flowing well, that might end up being faster than you realize; as long as you can keep that effort level going for the whole workout, it is the right one.

Swim on!

The Swim Workout

4 x 100 (:20 Swim and drill mix. Do drills for technique practice for one length, then swim for one length, then repeat.
2 x 200 (:20 Kick. Alternate easy efforts and moderate efforts.
1 x 400 (:20 Pull. Alternate easy efforts and moderate efforts.

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

Main Set
4 x 50 (:30 Swim. The first one is easy, the second moderate, the third fast, and the fourth one fastest. Try to get a sense of how your effort and speed relate.
1 x 800 (:10 Swim. Negative Split; the second half of the swim should be faster then the first half.
2 x 50 (:30 Swim. Fast - about the same speed and effort as the third of the four 50s above.
1 x 600 (:10 Swim. Negative Split.
2 x 50 (:30 Swim. Fast.
1 x 400 (:10 Swim. Negative Split.
2 x 50 (:30 Swim. Fast.
1 x 200 (:10 Swim. Negative Split.
2 x 50 (:30 Swim. Fast.
1 x 100 Swim. Fast.
1 x 100 Swim. Easy loosen to end the workout.

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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