Swimming Week Two: Do A Time Trial

Hi y’all. Week 2 of training and less than 5 weeks to go until race day, oh boy. Week one was definitely tough as I decided to do double workouts every day. I’m hoping this motivation will continue this week and the coming weeks of training. This week I’m talking swimming, my personal favourite portion of training!


As I mentioned last week I grew up swimming competitively in Oregon. I was that kid who woke up at 5:00 before school and then sat in class reeking of chlorine. But I loved it, and I wouldn’t change my decision to swim and the valuable life lessons the sport has taught me.  Because of this, the swim portion of the triathlon doesn’t phase me whatsoever, actually I’m pretty stoked for this part.
In attempt to train for this portion and not just start the first 200 of my 700 at an all out sprint, which was always my custom in mid and long distance races I decided to do a time trial this past Saturday. Although 3 years on from my swimming days I could  hear my coach’s voice in my head telling me to “kick!” and “pick it up, Beth”. This being said, doing a time trial (a timed race simulation of the distance you will be swimming in the race, with someone else on deck timing each 100) was a great idea to see where I’m at in terms of time and how I feel when swimming.
I used to swim the 500-yard freestyle or 800-metre Freestyle at pretty much every meet I swam at, so I am used to training for mid-distance length events. Time trials and race-simulations are a great way to gauge where you are at and get an understanding of what elements of the race you need to work on in order to achieve optimal performance come race day.  For example, when registering for the TriDu Sprint race last week I figured my time would be around 11 minutes. I decided to do a time trial Saturday morning, expecting my 700-meter swim time would be a lot slower than 11 minutes. But in fact, my time was 10:43, which completely changed how I need to train for this race.
Understanding what your time is now, 5 weeks before the triathlon allows ample time to knock a few seconds of that initial swim leg. Once you know your swim time you can begin to work on specific sections of the swim portion and train to achieve a better time and additionally, more success and glory!
Here is an example of a workout I use to train for a middle distance race such as a 700…
Warm-up: 500 (100 SWIM, 100 KICK, 100SWIM, 100PULL, 100SWIM)
SET #1: 10 X 50 m Freestyle
SET #2: 4X (3 X 75 m) Freestyle
Cool Down: 250m Easy/Cruise
Of course this set can be modified for the following…
Time intervals: (how long you give yourself to complete/rest between each 50, 75, 100, etc)
Ability: (whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro) – You can always cut the amount of 50s or 75s in half!
Distance you are training for: This set is probably more suitable for someone swimming the 400(short) or 700(sprint). If you are prepping for the Olympic distance tri you might want to up the repetitions or distances for these sets.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.