Triathlon Training Plan Base 1 Phase: The Swim

Yesterday I started posting a series outlining the next four weeks of planned periodization training. The goal of this series is to identify my specific target goals and outline my strengths and weakness for each area of training.  I aim to specifically share my training goals and intentions to help identify what I desire to accomplish at the end of the planned phase.  As I mentioned yesterday, the focus of this phase rests heavily in improving endurance with some work on speed, mainly on improving form.   Today’s focus is on swimming, an area that needs allot of work on endurance and form/speed work.

Heading into the start of this week I realize that the month off I had to take due to medical conditions has hurt in some aspects areas that were already week and needing improvement.  Most noticeably endurance.  Before starting this phase I had moderate success in performing endurance exercises, but since I have returned to full force I have found I have lost a little endurance.  So with this realization I aim to tackle my lack of current endurance head on and try some things I have found work well in the past.  I also will continue to work on drills and speed work.  My swimming workout plan follows:

  • 3 Sessions a week – Each about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • 10 Minutes of easy 25 meter swims to warm up and cool down. Also, throw these in when relaxing and recovering through out the week.
  • 1 Session focusing 10 minutes on drills and form.  Same session will have 50 meter speed laps and stroke count exercises mixed in.  Goal here is to improve and reinforce form to further increase speed.
  • 1 Session focusing on Intensive endurance.  Goal is to perform short powerful lap sets.  I know most swim sets utilize a mileage scheme for laps and intervals.  I have found that if I focus on time instead of distance I better work my arms into exhaustion.  For intensive sets I aim to do 4 minutes of non stop swimming. At the end of each 25 I tap the lap button on my watch and immediately continue. I strive to keep moving for the entire 4 minutes.  When complete I rest for 1 1/2 minutes and do another set. I find this truly lets me focus on just getting a burn in my arms and really pushes my endurance as I rest less while doing the continuous 4 minutes.  Also, I throw in some sighting drills into this mix and work on breathing patterns.
  • 1 Session focusing on extensive endurance sets.  This is similar to the 4 minute sets but the set length is 6 minutes instead.  Also, there is a 2 minute breath between sets and I am to do as many as I can before I start to notice bad form.  Before My hiatus I was doing 4-5 of these sets.  Last time I was barely able to complete 2 or 3 of them.
  • 10 minutes of easy recovery swimming at the end of all swim sessions.  Use this to reinforce calm and proper swim form.  No hurry to these, just nice slow movements that practice perfect form.   Also, I am trying to mix these into casual recovery, easy 25’s to just relax and stretch out the arms and back.

By the time I finish this phase I want to have a solid form and mechanics.  Also, I am aiming to increase my overall endurance and aim to push the intensive and extensive endurance sets minutes up to 5 and 7 respectively by the next phase of training.  I have removed allot of upper body weight lifting from my workouts so I can have more focus on swimming specific muscles.  I still do rows and bent arm push downs, but their effect is minimal on my swimming.

Tomorrow or later today I will detail the running portion of this plan. Til next time.


  1. Take a look at Its a great site. In my masters group it was recommended to me that before you focus too much on the speed and getting the burn you might want to perfect the technique or you’ll find yourself letting bad habits sneak in. With that advice I’ve been spending a lot more time on technique and drills which has helped tremendously.

    Below are some additional sites that were shared with me.

    1. Thank you IowaTriBob, I will definitely take a good look at those sites. I might have not mentioned it, but when I first began this in May I took a long hard look at the way I swam. I taught myself the Total Immersion style of swimming which focuses heavily on drills and water feel. Usually when I swim I warm up doing form drills and while swimming try to maintain good form. Often if I find my form not correct while doing any type of lap I go and start focusing on drills to correct and reaffirm the proper motion. Thanks for the suggestions, good links.

  2. […] week I started posting a series outlining the next four weeks of planned periodization training. The goal of this series is to […]

  3. Chatter, I loved your blog and story. I am on my own journey.. we are likely about the same age I turn 40 in May 2015. I have been swimming for fitness for 150 days now and lost 50 lbs… keep up the plan 🙂

    1. That is so awesome. I turn 40 at the end of next year in December, but the funny thing is that turning 40 is such a small part of it now. Keep up the work, it pays off in the end.

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