Coach Brian’s Pool Workout (YMMV)

I went to bed thinking about doing a one hour ride the next morning in Zone 3. This morning I woke up with Coach Brian’s admonition in my ears, “train your weakness”. As I rolled out of bed I changed my mind and decided that I was going back to the pool and I would adapt Brian’s evil Ironman pool swim to my own distances and ability and work my weak spot: the swim.

Coach Brian is training for Ironman Arizona, and he’s swimming 3000 meters in the pool regularly, the monster. I had just under an hour to do my workout (having also decided to sleep 8 hours), which meant I had to reduce his overall distance just for today. I also had to convert my distances because I swim in a 75′ pool and it’s not evenly metric, which is how almost every swim workout is structured (where “5 x 100” is five sets of 100 meters). After ten minutes with a calculator and my morning coffee, I devised a solid pool workout:

5 x 100 (11 laps) warm up
5 x 100 drills (~10 laps)
2 laps floating back balance w/kicking
2 laps left side balance
2 laps right side balance
2 laps hand across face turnover
4 laps hand paddles
1 lap closed fist laps
1 laps zipper drill

5 x 200, (22 laps) 5 seconds rest between each set
5 x 100, (11 laps) 5 seconds rest between each set
5 x 50, (6 laps) 5 seconds rest between eat set

5 x 50, (6 laps) cool down


Drills (notes are from Coach Brian):

Hand paddles: do not do more than 300 or 400 with them.
Kicking – no kickboard, perform on your back. 
Zipper drill – the original and one of the best. At the end of your underwater pull, drag your hand along your side like you are pulling a zipper from your hip to your underarm.
Fingertip drag

The result? I did all the warm up and drills, and squeezed in a dozen sprint laps to finish off, followed by two laps in backstroke to cool down. Ultimately it was a phenomenal workout that left me breathless and flooded with happy swim endorphins. I’m going out for a mean heart rate training brick on Saturday with Brian and Damon, so I don’t feel like I lost a bike day. I can also do a long ride Sunday to get my ride on. I love the bike, and can always improve, but I HAVE to get better on the swim. The only way to do that is to train my weak point over and over and over again.


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