Training schedule for a 750m triathlon relay swim

by Chris

I'm an ex national level swimmer that has not been in the pool for the best part of 12 years competitively. I am taking part in a 750m swim as part of a triathlon relay team and need a schedule to get me to swim it in around 9 minutes.

Core fitness is good through cycling, weights etc - but the swim cardio is lacking.

Do you have any schedules that I can be passed to start training and then adapt?



Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

As an ex-national swimmer that shouldn’t be too much of a problem, even if you used to be a sprinter.

1. Technique: This is your biggest advantage – don’t rush into training and lose that advantage, spend some time just getting a feel for the water again. This is what we would normally do with the elite triathletes if they’ve been out of the water for a few weeks.

Try sessions that don’t include more than 100m reps and don’t have too much pace change. Quite boring but you get a good chance to remember how to swim.

Eg: 10 – 30 x 100 on a long cycle that allows plenty of rest (20-25s) at a pace you maintain for the whole duration and can complete with good technique. Check your stroke count periodically through the session. It should not creep up any more than a couple of stroke from 1st to last rep.

You can mix this with some 50m if necessary.

After a few sessions of this you can move on to do 3 x 10 x 100m with a 300 or 400m easy swim between the sets.

This will begin to develop the muscular endurance and you will see how your form stays together. Again maintain stroke count.

Get back into the habit of stretching and find your flexibility again as this will help with the stroke.

Start off with 2 – 3 sessions per week, then increase this to 3 – 4, you shouldn’t need to do more than that.

2. Aerobic Training – try to get some ‘big’ aerobic sets in. Once you feel you are finding your feel for the water, the training can begin properly. Gradually creep the distance of some of the reps up.

Set 1. 15 – 20 x 100 at a hard but sustainable speed with 10-15s recovery. Maintain stroke count.

Set 2. A distance set, beginning with 200m reps at a comfortable aerobic pace, building over time to 400m. These can be alternated as one slightly harder, one slightly easier rep, but mix 200 and 300 m (so the harder one is 200 and easier is 300).

Set 3. A VO2max set – 10-14 x 50m maintaining the best pace you can for the set. Have 15 – 20s rest. Once you have got the hang of this again, you can do 2 – 3 sets of this with a good 5 – 7 minutes rest between sets.

3. Test yourself – include a regular 200m time trial and an 800m one, and keep a check on your critical swim speed, this will help to gauge where the fitness and time gains are coming from.

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