Train smart - #1

I am not a swimming coach – nor a coach – and never will be, however I have spent years learning how my body works and responds, which sessions are effective and which are best rolled into a ball and thrown at the dustbin. Most importantly, I have learned to optimise my time and focus on the quick wins to build endurance, strength and explosiveness.

I train short, I train efficient, and at the end of the day I go faster, and I go for longer.

I long ago discovered that you don’t need to spend 5h on your bike or breathe chlorine for 8km swimming to see some great results. This concept is what I really wish to share with you throughout this blog. Let’s go BUT first, music!

Why so serious? You might train hard, but still keep training with a little touch of fun.

As a cyclist, you may have expected my first training post to be a set of hill reps or a turbo threshold torture session… but that would have been way too predictable. Just like loudly clicking down a few gears before launching a sprint is a game-killer, I wanted to surprise you with one of my go-to swim sessions!

Swimming is a thorough sport; jump into a pool and in a few laps you get a total body workout combined with the option of easy-to-implement hypoxic training. Arms, legs, back, core muscles and cardio-vascular training all ticked off in under an hour.

Be sure to follow some basics first…

  • Strip down, wear your fav’ Funky Trunks.
  • Grab a pair of goggles to look like a frog.
  • Kindly ask granny to go and do sidestroke in another lane.

The swimming workout

Today’s basics:

Swim smart, optimize your time! 50’ is more than sufficient for an effective, specific workout.

Warm up:

400m freestyle as 75m breathe every 3 strokes / 25m breathe every 5 strokes

Main set:

– 2x200m: 25m drills (whatever you want from sculling to right/left arm only) / 25m build -20’’ rest after each 200m

– 4x100m: build 1 to 4 – slow, medium, fast, all out – 20’’ rest after each 100m

– 8x50m: fast, starting on 1’

– 16x25m: all out, start on 25’’ (or if you’re slower, take 5” rest per 25)

Cool down:

200m easy, alternate free + backstroke


2200m of fun

That’s it for the first ”Your Time is Precious” series of training plans. If you liked it, just mention it with some love in the comment section below. If you’re on fire with it : tell me more and let me know what are your concerns for training, I am happy to share more of my experiences.

Photo credits : Emma BILHAM