Top Tips,  Training Sessions

Take your training outside (part 2) – week 2

Build endurance and improve your open water skills with the second of four sessions from Fiona Ford


1 to 2 x 400m FC

Practise integrated

sighting and breathing.

Maintain symmetry in

your stroke and breathe

to both sides.


3 x 750-800m as:

1) Practise head-up

swimming or polo

sighting for 5-10 strokes

at the start and at

each turn then settle

into endurance pace

maintaining a very still

head position.

Include sighting

technique every 6 or 12

strokes to ensure you

swim accurately around

the marked course.
2) Breathing pattern

practice: Breathe

every 3/2/3/2 strokes.

Incorporate sighting on

the breathing strokes.

Note which side (L or R)

needs more practice!
3) Sighting practice. Mix

head-up/polo sighting

and standard sighting.

Work on strong and

powerful exhalation

to gain control of your

breathing after the

demands of the polo



200m to 400m easy

swim. Sight with both

techniques for skill



2850m – 3200m


FC = Front crawl

BS = Backstroke

Drafting on feet: Maintain a gap

of around 15cm to 30cm behind the

swimmer in front. Modify your catch

position around their feet and swim

at an easy effort level. You save

an estimated 20% effort through

effective drafting.

Drafting on hip: Aim to swim with

your shoulders level with the hips of

the swimmer you’re drafting. Modify

your arm recovery and stroke rate

around theirs. Breathe towards them

to monitor their direction and stroke

rate, and adjust yours to maintain

this more challenging drafting


Endurance pace is your threshold

pace or critical swim speed (CSS)

plus about 3 to 5 seconds per 100m.

So, if your CCS is 1:45 per 100m, your

endurance pace will be around 1:48

to 1:50. Aerobic endurance training

is a fully maintainable pace that

allows you to maintain excellent

technique and rhythm over longer

distances. Train in a wetsuit if you

will be racing in one. Remember

your CSS pace in a wetsuit in open

water will be different to your CSS

without a wetsuit from the pool.

Use your wetsuit assisted CSS

from timed swims as described in previous sessions. Endurance training is some

of the most important we can do

as distance freestyle swimmers

to maintain pace over time, by

developing the eficiency in the fat

utilisation energy system.

Swim Smooth Squad training and Video Analysis sessions

Triathlon Europe provides weekly Swim Smooth squad training in South West London. The squad enjoy training all year round in fabulous indoor and outdoor 33m pools. Fiona offers swim training plans, 1-2-1 video analysis sessions and stroke correction sessions on weekday mornings and weekend Swim Smooth workshops.

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