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4 training sessions to improve your open-water endurance

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: arena coaches at 17 April '18 0
You are reading: 4 training sessions to improve your open-water endurance

Maintaining your aerobic base is the secret to getting to the end of the season in top shape from both a cardiovascular and muscular viewpoint.

Even though the open-water season is now in full swing, you should not forget how important physical conditioning is. Maintaining your aerobic base is the secret to getting to the end of the season in top shape from both a cardiovascular and muscular viewpoint. Aerobic work will also allow you to focus more specifically on the quality of your performance, allowing you to open up a significant gap between you and your fellow competitors.

In this article we will outline 4 training sessions focusing on endurance. They include both conventional endurance work and training for changes in pace, i.e. exercises based on a changing speed. This will allow you to build a good aerobic base and will also help you learn how to handle changes in pace that are so important in open-water races.

TRAINING SESSION 1 (intensity 3, for EXPERT swimmers)

Warm-up

10 easy swimming at your own pace

8 x 50 freestyle with a pullbuoy and snorkel

  • Focus on your body position and the catch phase with 20” recovery

4 x 100 #25 sculling + 50 freestyle breathing every 5 strokes + 25 backstroke legs with 20” recovery

Main set

4 x 600 freestyle in 3 x 200 intervals with 10” recovery between one 200 and the next and 60” recovery after the 600.

  • Breaking down the session into intervals will help you work at a higher intensity, so that you can maintain a faster pace in even the longest races and finish faster. This is extremely hard training and is only recommended for experienced swimmers.

Swim-down at your own pace

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TRAINING SESSION 2 (intensity 2, for INTERMEDIATE and EXPERIENCED swimmers)

Warm-up

200 m at your own pace

200 m legs with a board

200 m with a pullbuoy

6 x 50 freestyle progression swim #1-3 #4-6 with 20” recovery

  • The second progression is faster than the first

Main set

8 x 50 #1 hard #1 easy with 15” recovery

4 x 100 freestyle at race pace with 10” recovery

2 x 200 #75 aerobic + 25 fast with 20” recovery

1 minute extra recovery

8 x 50 #1 hard #1 easy with 15” recovery

4 x 100 freestyle at race pace with 10” recovery

2 x 200 #75 aerobic + 25 fast with 20” recovery

  • This session is based on changes in pace, so that you can keep your heart rate at the anaerobic threshold[1]. The extra minute between the two sets will allow you to maintain a high intensity even when the training load starts to get heavy.

Swim-down at your own pace

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TRAINING SESSION 3 (intensity 3, for EXPERIENCED swimmers)

Warm-up

10 minutes easy at your own pace

12 x 25 fast legs with a board with 20” recovery

200 drills

  • Swim 25 m with one arm + 25 m with the other arm + 50 m both arms breathing every 7 strokes

Main set

50-100 with 5”/15” recovery

50-100-150 with 5”/10”/20” recovery

50-100-150-200 with 5”/10”/15”/30” recovery

50-100-150-200-400 with 5”/10”/15”/20”/60” recovery

50-100-150-200 with 5”/10”/15”/30” recovery

50-100-150 with 5”/10”/20” recovery

50-100 with 5”/15” recovery

  • The aim is to maintain a fast pace over shorter intervals. The longer recovery at the end of the mini-sets will allow you to recover better ready for the next set.

Swim-down at your own pace

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Training session 4 (for EVERYBODY)

Warm-up

10’-15’ minutes at your own pace

Main set

Test over 2.000 m or 3.000 m (possibly in open water) o an open-water race

  • If you can, test your fitness in the sea or a lake. There are plenty of open-water races from June to September. Take advantage of this to test yourself and train differently. Even if you use an open-water race as a training session, the conditions will be completely different. The intensity, weather/water conditions and your emotional state will all be different.

[1] From Wikipedia: in sports medicine the anaerobic threshold or lactate threshold is a measure of the maximum physical exertion the organism can withstand without lactic acid building up.

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