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Workout Wednesday: Race week training

by Lauren Brandon

Race season is here! With racing comes taper time and who doesn’t love some extra rest leading into a race? One thing that is important to remember is that you want to keep the body moving and keep the muscles firing. You will want to incorporate some intervals into all three disciplines during race week and don’t be afraid to get your heart rate up and sweat a little. Unfortunately, I see a lot of people taking their training way too easy before their race, so here are a few possible swim, bike, and run workouts for race week.

Most races are done on Saturday or Sunday, so you will want to do at least two of each type of workout (swim, bike, and run) during race week. While one workout of each might be easy, try the following for your second workout and include these hard efforts. If you are doing some other type of race such as a mountain bike race or cross-country run race, you will still want to do some short intervals race week to help make sure you are ready to go!


The total amount of your swim workout race week will depend on what race you have been training for. If I’m getting ready for an Ironman, then I will do a 3000 swim workout a couple of times during race week. About 3-4 days out from the race, I like to do some 100’s with descending efforts, such as the following.

9x 100 descend 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 (easy, medium, fast) with about 15 seconds rest in between each 100.

If you are getting ready for a shorter distance race, change the above set to 12x 50 (descend 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12) so that numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12 are all fast and take about 10 seconds rest in between each 50.

Read more: The works swim set


Typically it’s good to get some intervals in on the bike during the middle of race week. You want to keep your intervals short but hard and take a lot of rest. Here is an example of an interval set that you can incorporate into one of your rides no matter what the distance of your race is.

6x 2 minutes hard with 4 minutes easy. This will help keep you muscles firing, but not make you too tired. Make sure to get a good warm up and cool down.

Read more: 4 ways to develop more power


You want to do your run and bike intervals on different days. If you’re going to do bike intervals on Wednesday, then do your run intervals on Tuesday. You can always switch these around depending on what days you plan on running and riding that week. Again, you want to do some fast intervals, but nothing that will make you too fatigued. Keep them short and take rest or run easy in between each interval. One example of a run workout race week is doing some descending 1k efforts, with a 1k easy in between. Example:

6x 1k (1 at 70%, 1 easy, 1 at 80%, 1 easy, 1 at 90%, 1 easy)

Warm up and cool down as much as needed and your legs will be ready to go come race day!