Training sessions 1st to 15th January 2019

Hampton Pool At Xmas 2018

In August 2019, I'm aiming to swim 21km (plus potentially a little more) at Vidösternsimmet, which is billed as Sweden's toughest open water race. At Outdoor Swimmer we frequently get asked for ideas for training sessions, so I started sharing the training sessions I'm doing for that on Twitter @SimonDGriffiths for anyone else that wants to try them. I've now decided to move them here as I kept running out of characters on Twitter. These are mostly sessions I've done with Teddington Masters Swimming Club and created by the club coaches (thank you Ian, Lorraine and Veronica). Others I do with friends (AKA "The 400 Club"). Tuesday morning sessions are often adapted from sets originally created by Fiona Ford from Triathlon Europe, who is a Swim Smooth coach and contributor to Outdoor Swimmer.

Training sessions often appear to be written in code so please ask via Twitter if anything is not clear. Abbreviations I use include:

FC = Front crawl, BA = Backstroke, BS = Breaststroke, Fly = Butterfly, IM = Individual Medley, +10s = take about 10 seconds rest before starting the next swim.

The main pools I use are Hampton Pool (36m long), Richmond Pools on the Park (33.3m long), Teddington Pool (25m) and Hanworth Pool (25m)

Adapt the distances for the length of pool you're training in and adjust the times to suit your own swimming speed. Let me know via Twitter how you get on.

Tuesday morning 15 January – Richmond PoTP

A brisk Critical Swim Speed (CSS) set. Focus on consistent pacing.


1 x 400m alternation 100m FC, 100m BA

1 x 200m FC pull

2 x 100m FC kick

Main set

5 x 67m FC as 1 length drill, 1 length sprint

10 x 100m on CSS pace + 15s rest after each

1 x 200m FC pull, aerobic pace

1 x 200m FC, aerobic pace, focus on keeping hips and legs high.

10 x 67m on CSS pace +5 to 10s rest after each

Cool down

1 x 200m FC kick (steady pace)

1 x 200m FC easy pace, focus on best possible technique

Total: 3,600m

Monday morning 14 January 2019 - Richmond Pools on the Park

Regular Monday morning session with the informal but very dedicated 400 Club. This was hard going after last night’s swim and waterpolo game.

Warm up

600m mixed strokes

Main set

8 x 400m FC off 6:15 (approx. 30 to 45s rest after each)

Cool down

1 x 400m FC steady (stroke focus)

1 x 200m BA easy

Total: 4,400m

Sunday evening 13 January 2019 - Hampton Pool

Warm up

18 lengths mixed strokes (648m)

Main set

1L fly, 2L BA, 3L BS, 4L FS (360m)

6 x 2 lengths (72m) FC off 1:05 (approx. 5s rest)

2 lengths easy (72m)

4 x 3 lengths (108m) FC off 1:40 (approx. 10 to 15s rest)

2 lengths easy (72m)

2 x 6 lengths (216m) FC off 3:20 (approx. 20s rest)

2 lengths easy (72m)

1 x 12 lengths (432m) FC

1L FC, 2L BS, 3L BA, 4x1L Fly (360m)

Cool down

4 lengths easy (144m)

Total distance: 3,456m

Saturday morning 12 January 2019 – Hampton Pool

A lovely start to the weekend at Hampton Pool

Warm up

24 lengths (836m) alternating 1 length FC, 1 length medley order drill

Main set

2 x 12 lengths (432m) FC off 7 minutes (approx. 1-minute rest after each)

2 lengths easy (72m)

4 x 6 lengths (216m) as 1L each of Fly, FC, BA, FC, BS, FC

2 lengths easy

8 x 3 lengths (108) FC off 1:45 (approx. 20s rest after each)

2 lengths easy

12 x 2 lengths (72m) as 1L IM order, 1L FC

Cool down

4 lengths easy (288m)

Total distance: 4,684m

Friday lunchtime 11 January 2019 – Teddington Pool

Lunchtime club session with Teddington Masters

Warm up

200m FC, 150m BA, 100m BS, 50m Fly drill


Start next swim when last swimmer in the lane finishes.

1. 4x1 IM

2. 75m as 25m Fly, 25m BA, 25m BS

3. 75m as 25m BA, 25m BS, 25m FC

4. 3x50m overlap IM (i.e Fly/BA, BA/BS, BS/FC)

5. 4x25m sprint (IM order)

5x100m FC off 1:45 (approx. 25s rest)

Repeat 1 to 5 in reverse

3x100m FC off 1:45 (approx. 25s rest)

Cool down

150m easy

Total: 2,450m

Thursday evening 10 Jan 2019 – Hanworth

Late evening club session with Teddington Masters

Warm up

400m, 300m, 200m, 100m all FC, 10s after each.

Main set

4x100m as 75m FC, 25m Fly off 1:35 (approx. 10s rest after each)

4x25m Fly kick on back

4x50m FC off 45s (approx. 5 to 10s rest after each)

50m easy

400m FC sprint every 4th length

4x50m FC off 40s (approx. 2 to 3s rest after each)

50m easy

4x50m FC off 40s (2 to 3s rest after each)

50m easy

4x25m Fly sprints

4x100m as 75m FC, 25m BA off 1:30 (approx 5s rest after each)

400m FC sprint every 3rd length

4x50m FC of 40s (2 to 3s rest after each)

50m easy

4x50m FC of 40s (2 to 3s rest after each)

Cool down

100m easy

Total: 4,050m

Tuesday morning 8 January 2019 – Richmond PoTP (33.3m pool)

Early morning start in Richmond with focus on swimming at threshold pace (approx. 1500m pace)

Warm up

400m alternating 100m FC/100m BA

4x(3 x 1 length) Fly/BA/BS (400m)

Main set

2 rounds of:

6x100m off 1:35 (approx. 15s rest)

4x67m off 1:00 (approx. 5s rest)

1x200m off 3:10 (approx. 30s rest)

All at threshold pace. 2L easy between rounds.

Cool down

200m easy

400m drills

Total: 3,600m

Monday morning 7 Jan 2019 – Richmond PoTP

Usual start to the week at Richmond

Warm up

600m easy, mixed strokes and drills


8x 400m FC off 6:15 (approx. 30 to 45s rest after each). Try to increase speed by 10 to 15s between 1 and 8.

Cool down

200m easy

Total: 4,000m

Saturday morning 5 Jan 2019 – Hampton Pool

Club session at Hampton Pool with Teddington Masters

Warm up

20L easy mixed strokes (720m)

Main set

12x72m choice +25s rest

3x288m (8L) FC +45s rest

72m easy

6x(4x36m) IM +20s rest

15x1L sprints (540m)

Cool down: 7L (252m)

Total: 4,176m

Friday lunchtime 4 Jan 2019 – Teddington Pool

Lunchtime session with @TSCM

Warm up

150m easy FC

100m easy BA

4x50m IM as 25m kick, 25m swim

Main set

6x50m FC @80% effort +20s rest

150m as 25m FC, 25m IM order

5x50m FC @80% +15s rest

125m as 25m FC, 4x25m IM

4x50m FC @80% +10s rest

4x25m IM

3x50m FC @80% +5s rest

75m as 25m each on Fly, BA, BS

2x50m FC @90% +5s rest

50m recovery

50m FC sprint

100m recovery

6x50m as 25m FC, 25m medley order drill

Cool down:

150m easy

Total: 2,550m

Thursday evening 3 Jan 2019 – Hanworth

Teddington Masters club session

Warm up

1000m as alt 200m FC, 200m BA

Main set

4x50m FC hard (off 45s) (approx. 10s rest after each)

4x25m fly sprints

3x50m FC hard (off 40s) (approx. 5s rest after each)

4x25m BA sprints

2x50m FC sprints (off 35s) (approx. 1s rest)

4x200m FC off 2:45 (approx. 5s rest after each)

50m recovery

200m IM

50m recovery

4x100m FC off 1:30 (approx. 10s rest after each)

50m recovery

4x100m FC off 1:30 (approx. 10s rest after each)

100m recovery

4x25m breath-hold - rest as needed

4x50m FC sprints off 45s (approx. 10s rest)

Cool down

250m easy

Total 4,250m

Wednesday morning 2 Jan 2019 – Pools on the Park

Early morning threshold set @PoTP Richmond

Warm up

4x100m alt FR/BA

3x67m (2L) off 1:20 (increase speed on each)


10x100m off 1:35 (approx. 15s rest after each)

1x67m recovery

4x67m off 1:00 (approx. 5s rest after each)

2x200m off 3:10 (approx. 30s rest after each)

1x67m recovery

8x100m off 1:35 (approx. 15s rest after each)

Cool down

200m easy

Total: 3,400m

Tuesday lunchtime 1 Jan 2019 – Hampton Pool

Good to start the new year with a swim at Hampton Pool as follows:

Warm up

12 lengths (432m) easy FC, 4 lengths 144m easy BA


6x72m FC off 1:05 (approx. 10s rest)

12L (432m) as 2L FC, 1L medley order

4x36m fly sprints

72m recovery

6x72m FC off 1:00 (approx. 5s rest)

432m FC

8L (288m) as 1L FC, 1L medley order

216m steady FC

4x36m sprints

72m recovery

3x72m off 55s

Cool down

144m easy

Total: 3,528m

01 Cover March Copy

Issue 47 March 2021

  • Swimming with MND - How Alex Francis is redefining adventure with a regime of cold water swimming
  • New Horizons - Meet lockdown's army of new swimmers
  • On the Dry Side - How other sports can support your swimming.
  • UK Travel - Wild swim walks in Cornwall
  • The Native Origins of Freestyle - how white people named a style of swimming indigenous people had mastered millennia before

Swim Wild and Free

Sign up to our newsletter and receive a free five-part series on the fundamentals of freestyle by Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne.