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Go until failure: Suicide 50s

There’s an old mantra out there that boring training makes good athletes. The majority of the time, swim training is just that – you stare at a black line and perform the same movements over and over again. However, breaking the routine and adding a little spice into your swim week is always a good idea.

Related: What not to do when lane swimming 

Clint Lien, the head coach of Victoria’s Mercury Rising Triathlon Club, likes to call Fridays, “Fun Fridays!” The “fun” doesn’t mean easy though, inevitably the Friday swim sets are going to encourage some intense efforts.  

Here is a fun, yet challenging swim workout you can do any day of the week.

— by Clint Lien, found in our Jan./Feb. 2019 magazine issue

Suicide 50s – Until failure

This “to failure” set is a staple of any fun swim program. There are several ways to execute this session, but one of the most effective ways is as follows:

  • Swimmers start on the 00 and then 10 seconds apart.
  • They must finish the first 50 by the time the clock is back to the 00 (or their start time).  
  • For the next 50, they leave on the 01, 11, 21, etc. BUT they must make it back by their start time.  
  • Then they leave on the 02 and they must to the wall by the 00.
  • Once they fail to finish the 50 by the time the clock returns to the original leave time they’re out.

Inevitably you end up with almost the entire group of swimmers cheering like mad for one or two remaining swimmers to make just one more set.

This set is tough for swimmers who can’t swim a 50 in less than 50 seconds. The math gets tough.

For those swimmers I might give them a set that looks like:

4 x 50 on a leave time of 75 seconds, 4 x 50 on a leave time of 70 seconds, 4 x 50 on a leave time of 65 seconds, etc. They continue to descend the times until they can’t make the time.