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Workout Wednesday: Lauren Brandon’s speed variation swim

— By Lauren Brandon

If you want to get faster, it is important to incorporate more swim sets with speed variation. In my own Ironman swim training, I tend to do a lot of longer swims without any speed variation — this is definitely not going to help me get faster. My goal this year is to stop swimming the same speed everyday and start picking up the pace.

My favorite part of this workout is that you can make the main set as long as you want. If you are just starting out your season and swim training then you can keep it shorter. If you are doing a longer workout, then just add more rounds to the main set. This is also a great set for race week (I like to keep the main set at  9 x 100 on the Wednesday before a race so that I getting in some speed work a few days out from my race).

  • 600 choice swim
  • 6 x 50 kick (with or without fins) – 10 seconds rest (descend 1-3 and 4-6 so that number 3 and 6 are fast)
  • 12 x 50  freestyle swim (odd are half fast, half easy; even numbers are easy) – 10 seconds rest
  • 100 easy
  • 15 x 100 freestyle swim descending 1-3 (this means that #3, 6, 9, 12, & 15 are fast)!
  • 3 x 200 pull (or paddles only- no buoy) working on your stroke with 15 seconds rest
  • 300 easy

Total: 4000 — add or subtract as needed

*The main set is descending 100s in sets of 3 (the third one is always fast)! You want to pick an interval where you get about 10 seconds rest on your easy 100 and then you will get more rest as you go faster. If you are planning on shortening this workout, I suggest a minimum of 9 x 100, but you can do as many as you want. Sometimes I’ll do 9 x 100 swim and then 9 x 100 with paddles in order to get in a 1800 main set.