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Michael Phelps says he once did 75 workouts in 24 days

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history with 23 gold, three silver and two bronze medals over a span of four Olympic Games (2000-2016). Despite his effortless stroke, the success didn’t come without a lot of work.

In an upcoming podcast with Tony Robbins, Phelps reminisces about a particular training block.

“Over 24 days, we were probably working out, with weights, 75 times…So at that point, I saw myself improving so much because we weren’t taking a day off.”

For many triathletes, especially those in the professional ranks, three workouts a day isn’t out of the question – but that’s spread across three sports. Swimming is different though.

“And in the sport of swimming, if you miss one day it takes you two days to get back to where you were.”

Perfecting your stroke is all about rhythm and feel for the water, too much time out of the water puts you behind the eight ball. Though it’s unlikely you’ll be able to swim as much as Phelps, here are two takeaways:

1) Swim enough mileage: If you have hopes of swimming an hour Ironman split (3.8K), you should be aiming to reach 12K per week.

Related: Coach Paul Duncan: Tips for a one-hour Ironman swim

2) Transfer your pool swimming ability to open water: Swimming outdoors is very different from swimming at your local community centre. Open water swimming requires a quicker turnover to cut through the waves and current. Keep the momentum going as your hand slaps the water and remember to breathe.