EPC Tips – Swim Technique Workout

Try this big descending workout in the pool for technique work, endurance, and intensity all wrapped into one…

This workout was introduced to me recently at my masters swim group, and it’s become a personal favorite in short time. It’s built around sets of 4x100s with the intervals starting out very long (easy) and gradually descending to faster and faster intervals as you go, until you can go no more. Choose your starting interval to allow you to be able to swim very easily and have 15-20 seconds rest at the wall; this should be roughly 30-40 seconds over your tempo swim pace (say you’re tempo pace is 1:30 per 100, then start this set with a 2:10 interval). From here you will shorten the interval by 0:05 every 4x100s as follows…

4×100 @ 2:10
4×100 @ 2:05
4×100 @ 2:00
4×100 @ 1:55
4×100 @ 1:50
4×100 @ 1:45…

repeat this pattern until you can no longer make the interval time (you know you’re there when you’re basically doing an ‘open turn’, looking at the clock and going into your next 100).

Once you can no longer make the interval, grab your paddles to help you ‘keep up’ and make the next set of 4×100. When you need more help to make the interval, slip your fins on and get in a final round (or two) of 4×100. Your final 4×100 is basically ends up as a straight 400 with everything you’ve got left.  Finish with some warm-down laps.

This is great workout as it starts out super easy and gets progressively harder and harder and harder and harder…

A great strategy to employ through this workout is to use the first few rounds of 4x100s as your easy warm-up and take the time to focus on your technique, by over extending and maximizing distance per stroke. Then as the intervals get a little tighter, focus on being smooth and picking up your stroke rate to achieve your goal time. As the intervals begin to get more challenging to make then you focus on going hard and bringing the power. Once you ‘don the gear’, it’s go-time to swim as hard as you can! This is a great workout to do in a group as well. The slower swimmers can see how long they can hang with the faster swimmers and really use them to help push themselves to new levels of discomfort. If you’re short on time, start the session with a faster interval so you can get into the fast stuff more quickly; if you have the time then start at a slower interval and you can get more yardage in overall. When I do this workout I typically get in 9-10 rounds so around 4000m of swimming. Good stuff!

The ‘Workouts of the Week’ are brought to you by coach, Cody Waite. Racing XTERRA USA and/or World Championships this Fall? Then checkout his XTERRA Championship specific Group Coaching Program for a complete XTERRA specific program leading up to the BIG races!