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Triathlon Swim Training for Newbie Swimmers


Adam Hodges

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4 Weeks

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Plan Description

Are you a triathlete without a swim background looking to improve your stroke mechanics as you build your swimming fitness? This plan is designed specifically for you. Whether you are training for your first triathlon or looking to improve your form in between seasons, this 4-week plan takes you through a series of swimming drills and gradually adds some aerobic base building workouts to help you focus on mechanics as you build your fitness in the water.

The plan includes a 500-yd time trial at the end of the first week to help you set your swimming pace zones. As the plan progresses, the focus moves from drill work to building up to some longer and more intense swim sets. The final week of the plan culminates with a 1,000-yd time trial.

Frequency in the water is important for new swimmers to develop good form and proper habits. With this in mind, the weekly yardage is spread over five swim workouts with two designated rest days. The plan also includes three strength sessions per week to target typical swimmer weaknesses and prevent shoulder injuries. Most of the workouts range from 800-1,000 yards with the longest workouts reaching 1,500-2,000 yards. You can adjust the workout distances up or down according to your needs.

The plan—like any training plan—represents an initial draft, rather than a final document set in stone. You will write the final version over the coming month as you adapt the training to your specific situation and goals.

Consult the Alp Fitness website ( for supplemental resources to use along with this plan. Train smart!

Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Swim x5
4,892m 1,829m
Strength x2
—— ——
Day Off x2
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
4,892m 1,829m
—— ——
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • GPS

All supported devices

Adam Hodges

Alp Fitness

I offer training plans for runners and triathletes seeking personal growth through self-defined challenges, whether those involve races (e.g. Ironman 70.3, 50K trail runs) or solo adventures (e.g. fast-packing, mountaineering objectives). Learn more about the training approach in my book, “The Triathlete’s Training Guide,” and check out for additional videos and articles to help you train smart.

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