Olympic Distance Swim Training Plan
This is a 12-week swim training plan for an Olympic Distance triathlon from Tri Swim Coach. We start out technique-focus, then shift to endurance, base, speed, and finally taper. We keep hill repeats to a minimum. 😉
Distances are listed in yards, but these workouts can be done in a 25 meter pool (or even a 50 meter pool). Keep in mind that 25 meters is equal to approximately 27 yards, so you will be doing a little extra if training 25 meters.
The first workout assumes that you are already somewhat in shape with a formidable stroke. If you are still struggling with technique, you may want to take a few lessons before beginning the plan.
On the stroke count drills, 1 stroke=1 arm stroke. So you would count the right arm as one, and the left arm as 2, etc.
The training plan starts out with about half drills and half light interval training. As the weeks go by, it switches to more and heavier interval training, and less drills. But note that drills never disappear completely.
My recommendation is adding in some open water swimming by the 3rd week. On the days where I have listed Olympic Distance 1500, for example, you can replace your pool swimming with an open water day.
A word about cruise intervals (sometimes called “Base” intervals). I have listed the definition of a cruise interval as Cruise = an interval you can make 100’s free on comfortably with about 10-15 seconds rest.
Example: 5×100’s on 1:45. So, if your cruise interval is 1:45 and you’re doing 200’s on cruise, you double your interval and go on 3:30. If you are doing 50’s, you cut the interval in half and can either go them on :50 or :55.
Some of the workouts include strokes other than freestyle. It is important to cross-train in swimming, to avoid shoulder injuries, burnout, etc. However, if you don’t know butterfly and breaststroke, just substitute free and backstroke (learn backstroke if you haven’t already!) on these occasions.
Tri Swim Pro membership area, which includes more open water swim training, the ability to interact with the coaches and other triathletes, and drill videos and plans for each distance, check out https://triswimcoach.com.
Total Distance: 51.9 mi
@= on, i.e. 10×100’s @ 2:00 means 10 100’s on the 2:00 interval
SC= Stroke Count
spl = Strokes per length
ST = Strokes
DPS = Distance per Stroke, try to maximize
K = Kick
Build= build within the swim, i.e. 200 Free Build means start off easy, and get faster throughout the 200.
Cruise = an interval you can make 100’s free on comfortably with about
10-15 seconds rest. Example: 5×100’s on 1:45.
Descend = Get faster throughout the set. Example, 4×100 Descend 1-4.
#1 would be relatively easy, #4 is HARD.
Ascend = The opposite of Descend- ease up throughout the set.
Free Golf = Count your strokes and check your time after each swim.
Add the 2 numbers and that’s your golf score. Try to beat your score on
each one by lowering that number.
I.M. = Fly, Back, Breast, Free in that order.
I.M. Switch = 50’s alternating Fly/Back, Back/Breast, Breast/Free, Free/Fly
Max HR = Maximum Heart Rate.
Taper = The period before your race where workouts ease up and you
begin to rest for your event. Intensity and distance will both decrease, with
longer swims added in.
3/4 Catchup – taking stokes about 3/4 of the way to touching your other
hand before each recovery
6K/Stroke – For each stroke (one arm) take 6 kicks. This is reinforcing the
rotation from side to side in freestyle.
Fists – Swim freestyle with your hands in fists
Finger Tip Drag – Drag your finger tips through the water on recovery. You
will need a bent elbow to do this properly.
Shark Fin – While kicking on your side, extend one arm. Slowly point elbow
of trailing arm up towards sky, hand almost touching your side, making a
“shark fin.” Slide hand back down, breathe, repeat.