How Many Times A Week Should I Swim For a Triathlon?
If you have followed the blog for the past 3 weeks, I have told how you can indeed achieve speed and cut down your times by just swimming three days a week. For some of us, this is a reality. With “open lane” time limited, familial and social commitments, and the all-mighty work burden, just getting to the pool is a struggle.
However let’s say you are blessed enough to be able to swim four or five times a week. Should you? What should the workouts look like?
To answer the first question, I would say more often than not: yes, definitely fit in that fourth swim but with two caveats. If you are an experienced swimmer, whose swim is a strength and competitive, then that fourth swim would be better spent on the bike or running. Another person who can skip this would be the athlete who has a decent swim and desperately needs to improve the bike and/or run. But if swimming is a weakness, then that extra swim will allow you to be more consistent in the water, get a better feel for the water, and add some aerobic recovery and volume while working on form.
But what should that fourth swim look like and where to put it? Let’s assume you swim Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I would do a 30 min aerobic swim on Sunday afternoon after your weekend workouts, which for the average triathlete consists of a long brick on Saturday and long run on Sunday. By putting the swim there, you can give your sore legs a break and prepare for Monday’s swim both mentally and physically by priming your muscles with good form.
Now for what to do. I would split the 30 min swim into two sections: 15 min of drills then a straight 15 minutes (Assuming that you are not a raw beginner. If this is the case then 3x4min with 1 min rest is fine). This straight set is less for endurance and more for mental toughness.
Once again, if you feel like you have the swim down and you are happy with the gains you are making with swiming three times a week then this thirty minutes can be spent biking, running, or just recovering for the next week.