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Free Triathlon Swimming Workouts

by
author image Carol Smolsky
Carol Smolsky is a Registered Nurse, ACE Personal Trainer, Crossfitter and yoga practitioner. She finished 14 full Ironman Triathlons (four Hawaiian championships), and countless other running and stair climbing races. She writes workouts for all levels, from recovering patients to elite athletes, as well as Triathlon Training Programs for all distances.
Free Triathlon Swimming Workouts
VO2-boosting swim workouts that will also improve your bike and run. Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

You want to spend as much money as you can on your bike, shoes, wetsuit, gym membership, travel and race lodging. Who has money left over for a swim coach? Yet, nothing feels better than coming out of the swim and being the first one to the bikes in transition. You can achieve your goals with free swimming workouts. There's no need to hire a coach. Three workouts per week should be your minimum, spaced like this: off, swim, off, swim, off, off, swim. Do not do two distance workouts in a row. Always stretch your shoulders, arms and hamstrings before getting in the water.

Distance One

For a warmup, do 5x100 easy, with 10 second rests between each 100. For your main set do the following, each with a 10 second rest: 1x500, 1x400, 1x300 and 1x200. Do one main set if you are a beginner, two if you are intermediate, and three if you are advanced. The sets are descending, meaning the 500 is an easy pace, with each distance getting faster. The 100 is an all-out sprint. For the warm-down do 2x200 at an easy pace, your choice of stroke.

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Endurance One

For the warmup, do two descending sets of 5x100, with 10-second rests between each 100 and each set. For the main portion of the workout, do the following: 2x200 at a fast pace with 10 seconds of recovery, 4x100 at a fast pace with 10 seconds of recovery, and 4x50 at an all out sprint pace with 15 seconds of recovery. Do one main set if you are a beginner, two if you are intermediate and three if you are advanced. For the sprint set, do 4x100 at an all-out sprint pace. You'll need to rest for five seconds after each 25 and rest for 1:30 between the 100s. For the warm-down do 1x300 at an easy pace.

Sprint

Warm up with 5x100 at an easy pace, 10-second rests between each 100. For the main set do 5x100 all-out sprints with a one-minute recovery after each 100, 10x50 all-out sprints with 45 seconds of recovery, 16x25 all-out sprints with 30 seconds of recovery, doing the odd 25s fly and the even 25s freestyle. Do one main set if you are a beginner, and two if you're intermediate or advanced. For your hyper set, do the following four times: 4x25 streamline kick underwater, with 30 seconds of recovery after each 25. The odd lengths are fly while the evens are freestyle. Beginners can use a kick board on top of the water. If you're intermediate, you can recover for up to a minute between 25s. For your warm-down, do 5x100 at an easy pace.

Distance Two

For a warm up, do 3x200 at an easy pace, with 10-second rests, streamline kicking on your back the third 50 of each 200. For your main set, do 1x500 at race pace with 10-second rests and 1x400 at a fast pace with 20 seconds of rest. If you're a beginner, do one main set. Intermediates do two sets and advanced do four. For your kick set, do 2x50 at race pace with 20-second rests between the 50s, then do 2x50 fast with 20-second rests between 50s. Do four kick sets if you're a beginner, six if you're intermediate and eight sets if you're advanced. For your warm-down, do 2x200 at an easy pace in your choice of stroke.

Endurance Two

Warm up with 3x200 at an easy pace with 10 second rests. Then do 8x50, kick the first 25 in your choice of stroke. Then swim 25, taking 10 seconds of rest between 50s. For the main set, do: 3x200 at a descending pace, with 15-second recoveries; 6x100, swimming the first 25 fly, descending the pace and taking 15 seconds of rest; 6x50 of kick at a fast pace in your choice of stroke, taking 15 seconds of rest. If you're a beginner, do one main set, two if you're intermediate and three sets if you're advanced. For your warm-down do 2x200. For the first 25, kick in the stroke of your choice at an easy pace, taking 20 seconds of rest between the 200s.

Distance Three

Your warm-up will be: 2x200 at an easy pace with 10 seconds of rest, 4x100 at an easy pace with10 seconds of rest and 8x50 at race pace with 10 seconds of rest. For your main set, do: 1x500 building (start the 500 with an easy pace and gradually speed up the pace over the entire 500) with 15 seconds of rest; 3x200 descending with 15 seconds of rest; 4x100 descending with 15 seconds of rest; 8x50 at a fast pace with 10 seconds of rest. If you are a beginner, swim one main set, intermediates and advanced swim two sets. Your warm-down is a 1x400 easy swim.

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