HomeSwim6-Week Open Water Training Plan in the Pool & Open Water

6-Week Open Water Training Plan in the Pool & Open Water

This 6-week training plan is designed specifically for beginners who are looking to build their confidence and endurance in both pool and open water swimming. This plan can be used to train for a triathlon or open water swim event up to 1 mile long.

Throughout this program, you will gradually progress from building foundations and refining technique to focusing on speed, endurance, and mental preparation as you approach race day. Each week is carefully structured to include two pool swim sessions and one open water swim session, providing a balanced approach to your training.

Open water swimming presents its own unique challenges, from navigating unfamiliar waters to sighting and managing different conditions. By incorporating regular open water sessions alongside pool swims, you’ll develop the necessary skills and confidence to tackle the swim leg of your Olympic distance triathlon with ease.

Ideally you should swim 3 times a week. There are six weeks of training. Each week you should try to swim two times in a pool and one time in open water. Each week you should focus on 2 endurance swims (to improve your ability to swim 1500) and a technique or pacing session (to help improve your speed and technique). Feel free to move the sessions around depending on when you can get to a pool or open water swimming venue.

Remember, consistency and patience are key. Listen to your body, adjust the workouts as needed, and trust in the process. As you progress through this training plan, visualize yourself crossing the finish line strong and confident.

Now, let’s dive in and begin your journey towards achieving your triathlon goals!

Week 1: Getting Comfortable

Day 1: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Drill set: 4 x 50 (25m kick, 25m swim), 30 seconds rest between each
  • Main Set: 200 continuous swim moderate intensity
  • Cool-down: 100 easy swim

Focus: Breathing rhythm and body position.
Total: 700

Day 3: Open Water Swim

Location: Find a calm, shallow area in a lake or ocean.
Swim for 15 minutes, focusing on staying relaxed and sighting. Include a warmup and cool down (see example open water swim training session)

Day 5: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Main Set: 4 x 100 freestyle moderate, 20 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 200 easy swim

Focus: Bilateral breathing.
Total: 800

Week 2: Building Endurance

Day 1: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Drill set: 2 x 50 (25 pull, 25 swim)
  • Main Set: 4 x 150 freestyle moderate, 20 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 100 easy swim

Focus: Maintaining steady pace.
Total: 1,000

Day 3: Open Water Swim

Location: Choose a different open water spot if possible.
Swim for 20 minutes, gradually increasing distance. (See example session).

Day 5: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Drill set: 2 x 50 (25 Scull#1, 25 swim)
  • Main Set: 4 x 200 freestyle, 20 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 100 easy swim

Focus: Kicking technique and efficiency.
Total: 1,200

Week 3: Technique Refinement

Day 1: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Drill set: 4 x 50 (25 Fist, 25 swim), 30 seconds rest between each
  • Main set: 4 x 200 freestyle, 20 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 100 easy swim

Focus: Drill work on stroke technique.
Total: 1,300

Day 3: Open Water Swim

Location: Return to a familiar open water spot.
Swim for 25 minutes, focusing on smooth stroke and sighting. (See example session).

Day 5: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Drill Set: 6 x 50 (25 side kick, 25 swim), 20 seconds rest between each
  • Main set: 400 continuous swim moderate intensity
  • Cool-down: 200 easy swim

Focus: Endurance and leg strength.
Total: 1,100

Week 4: Building Strength

Day 1: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Main Set: 6 x 200 freestyle moderate, 20 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 200 easy swim

Focus: Increasing endurance and strength.
Total: 1,600

Day 3: Open Water Swim

Location: Explore a new open water spot.
Swim for 30 minutes, focusing on pacing and navigation. (See example session).

Day 5: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Drill Set: 4 x 100 (50 paddles, 50 swim), 20 seconds rest between each
  • Main Set: 8 x 100 (50 pull, 50 swim), 20 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 200 easy swim

Focus: Upper body strength and technique.
Total: 1,600

Week 5: Speed and Endurance

Day 1: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 300 easy swim
  • Main Set: 8 x 50 freestyle sprints, 20 seconds rest between each
  • 600 continuous swim moderate intensity
  • Cool-down: 300 easy swim choice

Focus: Increasing speed and power.
Total: 1,600

Day 3: Open Water Swim

Location: Return to a familiar open water spot.
Swim for 35 minutes, incorporating intervals of increased effort. (See example swim)

Day 5: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Main Set: 8 x 200 (100 easy, 100 moderate), 30 seconds rest between each
  • Cool-down: 200 easy swim

Focus: Endurance and pacing control.
Total: 2,000

Week 6: Tapering and Mental Preparation

Day 1: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200m easy swim
  • Main Set: 6 x 100m freestyle, decreasing rest time by 5 seconds each set. 20 sec rest in between.
  • 800 continuous swim moderate intensity
  • Cool-down: 200m easy swim

Focus: Maintaining form and mental focus.
Total: 1,800

Day 3: Pool Swim

  • Warm-up: 200 easy swim
  • Main Set: 10 x 50 easy swim, 10 sec rest in between, focusing on smooth technique
  • Cool-down: 300 easy swim choice

Focus: Relaxation and mental preparation for the upcoming race.
Total: 1,000

Day 5: Open Water Swim

Location: Quick swim in open water to familiarize yourself with conditions.
Swim for 20 minutes, focusing on sighting and staying relaxed. (See example swim)

As you approach your race day, remember to taper your training to allow your body to rest and recover fully. Visualize yourself succeeding in the race and trust in your training.

Conclusion

As you wrap up this 6-week journey, remember: every stroke, every lap, every effort has brought you closer to your goal. As race day approaches, trust in your training, believe in yourself, and embrace the challenge ahead.

You’ve put in the work, now it’s time to let your passion and determination shine. Whether you’re aiming for a personal best or simply aiming to finish, know that you’re capable of greatness.

So, dive in, give it your all, and relish every moment of the journey. The finish line awaits, and with it, the satisfaction of knowing you’ve pushed yourself to new heights.
Best of luck with your Olympic distance triathlon!

Rating: 5.00/5. From 1 vote.
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Karen Parnell
Karen Parnellhttps://chilitri.com/one-to-one-coaching
Karen Parnell is a Level 3 British Triathlon and IRONMAN Certified Coach, WOWSA Level 3 open water swimming coach,  80/20 Endurance certified coach and NASM Personal Trainer and Sports Technology Writer. Need a training plan? I have plans on TrainingPeaks, FinalSurge and TrainingTilt: TrainingPeaks FinalSurge TrainingTilt I also coach a very small number of athletes one to one for all triathlon distances, open water swimming events and running races, email me for details and availability. Karen.parnell@chilitri.com

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