Top Tips,  Training Sessions

Take your training outside (part 2) – week 3

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


400m to 800m FC

Alternate through a

stroke rate contrast set

of 20 strokes easy, 10

strokes fast.


4 to 5 x 400m-500m as:

1) Stroke rate practice.

Alternate 10 fast

strokes with 20

strokes endurance

pace. Remember not

to shorten the stroke

and finish the back of

the stroke to your hips

on the fast stroke rate

2) Evenly paced

endurance swim. Draft a

slightly quicker swimmer

if possible for some or all

of this distance.

3) Endurance pace, with

a fast effort at the start

and away from each

turn buoy for up to 30

4) Negative split. Begin

at endurance pace and

improve your speed,

rhythm and effort over

the final 200-250m.
5) Drafting at endurance

pace. Overtake each

other every 100m,

putting in a fast effort to

complete the manoeuvre

before settling back into

endurance pace on the



400m easy swim,

alternate between

6 strokes FC and 5

strokes BS for the first

and last 100m.


2400m – 3600m


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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