What You Should Be Working On In The Pool

  • Posted on
  • By Eric Turner

Our swim coach expert is back to chat about the important swim workouts you should be doing in the pool right now.

All too often people ignore the swim. “It’s the shortest part of the race” they say “all I need to do is survive.” The swim though, can set you up for success for the rest of your race. What if you could swim the same swim time, using half the effort? How much better would your bike and run be? Or what if you could swim faster with the same level of effort. How much further ahead would you be when you got out of the water?  


We can’t ignore the swim anymore and we really can’t continue to show up at the pool and mindlessly swim a certain yardage. We don’t do this in our bike or run training. We do intervals and gear repeats and tempo work and yet so many of us show up to the pool and do mindless swim yardage. The solution is to start dedicating chunks of your swimming to developing your kick and your speed.


I am making a big generalization, but unless you were a competitive swimmer (and even if you were) I’m gonna guess your kick can be faster/better/stronger. Spending 4 weeks working on developing your kick might be the best thing you can do for your stroke development this winter. Simply implementing a lot of side kicking into your routine can have a great effect, but dedicating a chunk of time to really working on the legs will help set up the hips, improve the turn over and give you the foundation to make some stroke changes. If you are looking for a specific plan to build your kick check out my 4 Week Kick Builder plan on Training Peaks and use code “ElementKick” to get 10% off through the end of February.


The other area you can work on this winter is speed. I never see too many triathletes busting our 50’s in the pool, but building top end speed in the pool can translate into speed in every distance, just like marathoners do repeat 800’s. The easiest way for people to start to add speed work to their swimming is to add 10x25 or 10x50 FAST to the end of every workout. Get at least as much time rest as you spend swimming, so if you do 50’s fast and it takes you 45 seconds, take 45 seconds rest. Start by doing these at the end of each practice then start rotating them through the practice. If you really want to spend some time on speed check out my Middle Distance Block in Training Peaks that focuses on the 200 and 500 events in swimming (use code Element for the same 10%).


Kick and speed are really foundational elements of swim training. Spending time working on your kick and working on your speed will put you in a position to experience greater benefits from your race specific training and (maybe more importantly) it can be fun to mix up the training a bit.


Eric Turner is an endurance coach with Superfly Coaching, a sponsored Element athlete and a regular contributor to our blog. Follow him on his Facebook page, on Instagram or at SuperflyCoaching.com