Workouts for open-water swimming: Speed endurance

Triathlon & Open Water
Written by: arena coaches at 12 December '17 0
You are reading: Workouts for open-water swimming: Speed endurance

If you thought training for open water distances meant swimming kilometre after kilometre, then you are wrong.

An extremely important aspect, not to be underrated, is speed endurance training.

That is because there are moments in a race, regardless of whether the race is over 3 km, 5 km or even further, when you need to handle sudden changes in pace.

Not to mention the end of the race, when the person with the fastest sprint and best “legs” will easily beat the other competitors.

So, even though you might think this is a workout for sprinters, bear in mind that it is mainly designed for long-distance athletes.


  • 400 easy
  • 2 x 50 legs with 20 sec. rec.
  • 100 sculling
  • 4 x 50 legs with snorkel and no kickboard with 20 sec. rec.
  • 100 without breathing 3-7 change every 50 m

We have decided to include some legwork so that swimmers do not overlook this aspect, even though you only use your legs at the beginning and end of a long-distance race.


  • 8 x 50 #25 fast freestyle with head raised + 25 easy @ 1.30
  • 100 easy
  • 4 x 50 #1 x hard controlling your stroke #1 x easy breathing every 5 strokes@ 1.30
  • 100 easy
  • 9 x 100 #1 x 75 fast + 25 easy #1 x 50 hard + 50 easy #1 x 25 max without breathing + 75 easy @ 2.30

The ratio between the hard part and recovery part is 1:2; this will allow the athlete to do the fast parts at the right intensity and recover properly during the slower part.

The high-speed work is aimed at simulating the three parts of a race:

  • Swimming freestyle with your head raised simulates the first part of the race and the approach to the directional the buoys;
  • Hard swim + slow swim, breathing every five strokes, simulates mid-race changes in pace;
  • The final changes in pace simulate the end of a race, launching “sprint finishes” from further out (75 m) to much shorter sprint finishes (25 m).


  • 400 easy.

Total: 3.000 m.

Enjoy your training!



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arena coaches

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