Our swimming and triathlon training plans contain swim workouts. These workouts are detailed and sometimes very specific to maximise the result of your training session. In this article we explain the terminology we use in these swim workouts. This way you will know what to do during your workout. We will using an example workout to illustrate how you should perform it.

Warm up

This swim workout starts with a warm-up. Starting with a warm-up is important: It lets your body know there is work to be done and prepares it for the main set of the training. A warm-up should feel easy. The warm-up for this example swim training is as follows:

2x (50 CHOICE, 100 KICK, 50 CHOICE) – 20″RI

You will start with 200 meters swimming in any swimstroke you like. It does not matter which stroke. The key is to warm-up your body. It is a good idea to vary between several swim strokes like freestyle, backstroke and breast stroke. After completing these 200 meters, there is another block that you will do 2 times. This block consists of 50 meters of any swim stroke you like. Then you swim 100 meters kicking drill. With this drill, you isolate your arms and swim with your legs only. You end the set with another 50 meters any swim stroke you like. And remember to do this block 2 times.

Main set

After the warm-up it is time for the main set of your swim workout. This is the longest part of the training session. In the mainset you will do the important work that will improve your swim endurance and speed. For this example workout, this is the main set:

All in freestyle

300,200,100 MOD – 20″RI
200,100,50 N/S – 25″ RI
200 FAST – 30″ RI
100 FAST – 30″ RI
6×100 PULL – 25″RI

In this mainset the only swim stroke you will use is the freestyle stroke. The first set consists of three distances: 300, 200 and 100 meters. You will swim all these distances on a moderate pace. After each distance, so after 300, 200 and 100 meter you will take 20 seconds rest.

The second block is 200,100,50. Indicated is to swim these with a negative split. This means dat the 50 meters should be faster than the 100 meter. The 100 meter should be faster than the 200 meters. So start slower and gradually build up your speed during this block. Make sure that your last lane in this block will be the fastest. After the 200, the 100 and the 50 meters, you will take a rest of 25 seconds.

You will continue with 200 meters as fast as you can swim over this distance. After a rest interval of 30 seconds, you will swim 100 meters as fast as you can. It is important that you swim as fast as you can for the indicated distance. So you should swim faster for the 100 meters than for the 200 meters.

After the 100 meters you will take 30 seconds rest and then continue with the last block of the main set: 6 times a 100 meter with pull buoy. This will fix your legs so you swim with your arms only. Take 25 seconds rest after each 100 meters. Sometimes it is indicated to use paddles while swimming with a pull buoy, but in this example workout it is not.

Cool down

After the hard work is done during the main set, the swim training session is finished with an easy cool down. For this example workout the cooldown is:


This means you will swim 100 meters in any swim stroke you like.

Example workout


2x (50 CHOICE, 100 KICK, 50 CHOICE) – 20″RI

MAIN SET – All in freestyle

300,200,100 MOD – 20″RI

200,100,50 N/S – 25″ RI
200 FAST – 30″ RI
100 FAST – 30″ RI
6×100 PULL – 25″RI



Gebruikte afkortingen

RI – Rust Interval (in seconden)


FREE – Freestyle
BACK – Backstroke
BREAST – Breaststroke
CHOICE – Swim any stroke


EASY – Easy pace, zone 1-2
– Moderate pace, zone 3
BUILD – Swim progressively faster within the set
– Swim as fast as you possibly can for the given distance
DESC – Descending speed, swim slower for every next distance
DESC 2-2-2 – Descending speed every 2 sets
N/S – Negative split, swim faster for every next distance


K – Kicking Drill
PULL – Swim with pullbuoy

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