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Workout Wednesday: Sprint Challenges


— By Donna Fraser

Grab a training partner and challenge yourself to some short and fast timed sprints after some longer pull-buoy work for this week’s swimming #WorkoutWednesday. This set is specifically designed to have you perform at high intensity while you’re exhausted — does that sound familiar? For anyone used to getting off the bike and entering the run leg of their triathlon, this isn’t a foreign concept. Performing well while tired is something all triathletes should practice.

ThinkstockPhotos-502624159This workout is best performed with a training partner who can keep you accountable to your efforts and time your sprints so all you have to focus on is swimming fast. For many of us, a little friendly competition is all we need to push a bit harder.

This set has lots to it. You’ll use a kick board and a pull-buoy so you can focus on different muscle groups at a time. The pull sets are a little longer than you might be used to, but are great to build shoulder strength and get that stroke as strong as possible. By the time you reach the 50-metre sprints at the end of the workout, you’re going to be tired. That’s why you’ll want to have a training partner to encourage you to really swim at an all-out effort and work towards keeping your times consistent. Challenge yourself to repeat this workout in a few months and see how your sprint times match up to measure your progress.


12 x 100:

– 3 x 100 swim at 1:45

– 3 x 100 kick at 2:15

– 3 x 100 swim at 1:35

– 3 x 100 kick at 2:05

Main Set

3 x {300 pull on 5:00 then 6 x 25 swim drill on :35)

Drills 1, 2, 4 and 5 are choice. Drills 3 and 6 should be all-out sprints for half the length.

100 easy

16 x 50 as follows:

4 x 50 all-out sprint on :60. One minute rest.

4 x 50 all-out sprint (not freestyle) on 1:10. One minute rest.

4 x 50 all-out sprint on 1:20. One minute rest.

4 x 50 all-out sprint kick on 1:20.

Cool down

4 x 75 on 1:30

Donna Fraser is a masters swim coach and 5-time Ironman finisher.