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A 16 week, 10km, EXPERIENCED SWIMMER training plan (for swimmers with CSS 01:50 or faster)


Peter Wilby

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16 Weeks

Plan Specs

swimming intermediate masters pace based

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Plan Description


This is a 16 week, 10km SWIM training plan for somebody who currently swims at around 01:35/100m pace for a 1500m. If you swim between 01:15/100m pace to 01:50/100m pace, this plan will work for you.

The plan is designed for an early summer 10km open water (OW) swim in the UK. Therefore the OW swimming begins latter and doesn't consist of much time swimming. The majority of training is pool base.

All training requires a metronome to a set beep. For this I recommend the Finis Tempo Trainer. Along side swim training is a basic, core, strength, and circuits cycle to complement the physiological adaptations.


This training plan would suit a sea swim or lake swim alike. The plan best suits someone who is relatively experienced in swimming and would like a training plan to complement and motivate for the task in hand.


The training plan was originally created for a seasoned 10km swimmer competing in the Great Swims, UK. The plan has been adapted and re-set out to cater for any open water 10km swimmer although experience and technique is a must to begin this plan.

The training in this plan is set using critical swim speed (CSS). This is shown as CSS/100m pace. For almost all the pool sessions you will need a tempo trainer to measure and maintain your training zone.


The plan starts with three swim sessions per week and one strength session. Some strength sessins require basic weights. The longest session in the first week is around one hour 15 minutes and 3.3km.


The longest week consists of four swimming sessions and two strength. The most swim sessions in a week is five. The longest distance swam (not including the event) is 6.1km and the longest week is 7.5 hours. Every so often, it is intended you go slightly easier for a week.


It is only safe to do long open water swims with supervision, make yourself visible with a bright swim hat and/or a tow buoy, if you have to be on your own, go to a life-guarded area. In the final 6 weeks there are some longer open water swims which require nutrition practice. Plan ahead and try to find a qualified assistant to be by your side on a solid craft, this person can look after your feeds for you.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
5:02 hrs 2:45 hrs
0:55 hrs 1:00 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
5:02 hrs 2:45 hrs
0:55 hrs 1:00 hrs

Training Load By Week

Pete Wilby



My name is Pete Wilby. I am triathlon and open water swimming coach based by the sea in Teignmouth, Devon, UK. I coach triathletes and open water swimmers from beginner, right through to World Championship level.

My mission is to coach with a holistic perspective that helps people to excel. To summarise my philosophy, I have designed the LENS acronym (Life, Endurance training, Nutrition and Strength). This is how I - and I hope you will too - will view training and coaching.

Sample Day 1

LSD3 swim

Aim: catch up your beep

Gradually warm up:

400m easy,
200m with fins (broken arrow up, swim back),
4 x50m (scull 1, swim, doggy paddle, swim - all with pull buoy), resting 10s.

Main - chase the beep:
1) 350m swim at CSS+6, rest one beep
2) 350m as 25m streamline kick then 325m aiming to catch the beep, rest 2 beeps

CD: 200m choice then stretch in shower.

Sample Day 2

I - swim technique - 5

Aim: increase stroke length

WU: 4x 75m as FC/BC/FC with 20s rests

Main 1 +20s rests:
3x 50m kick with float,
then 4x 75m pull (with fists for 50m / 25m normal),
then 5x 100m with pull buoy (15m doggy paddle/ 35m swim / repeat).

Main2 +20s rests:
3x 50m streamline kick ,
then 4x 75m pull with paddles,
then 5x 100m swim (broken arrow / swim / zipper / swim)

CD: 100m easy

Sample Day 5

P1 swim (focused 500m rep with broken arrow)

Aim: focused 500m sets

WU: 200m swim / 200m kick / 200m pull / 200m swim

Main1: 6x 50m (kick holding pull buoy (no fins) up / pull back) with 20s rests

Main2: 3 sets on target time as follows

set 1 - just use pace clock or watch
1st 100m at CSS-8 pace +60s rest
2nd 100m at CSS-6 pace +45s rest
3rd 100m at CSS-4 pace +20s rest
4th 100m at CSS-2 pace +10s rest
5th 100m at CSS pace +5s rest
(straight into set 2 off the 5s rest)

Set 2 - prepare metronome set at CSS+8
500m continuous at CSS+8 pace holding stroke
rest 60

Set 3 - with metronome still beeping

5x 100m aiming to beat the beep to get some rest

Set 4 - with fins
2x 250m as broken arrow up / relaxed swim back with 20s rests

CD: 200m really easy

Sample Day 6

IM 1 - swim mixed

Aim: adding variety and feel for the water

WU: 100m swim, 100m IM, 200m swim. 

4x through the set below

(4x 25 IM order* strong with good technique), 200m swim easy FC

*swim the first set all fly, next all back etc. 

Main 2: 4x 100m IM with good technique +30s rests. 

CD: 100m easy bk

Sample Day 7

Core 2.3

WARM UP: lay on back, feet flat on floor, knees 90 degrees – 1st gently drop knees to right, then left, keep moving from side to side ten times. 2nd grab knees with hands and pull to chest so feet leave floor then circle the knees 10x one way, 10x the other. 3rd on all fours, arch back, pushing chest to floor and head back, hold for 5 seconds, then arch towards the sky, tucking chin to chest, hold for 5 seconds, repeat both ways 5 times. 4th lay on back again, wrap arms around shins, bring chin to chest and rock forward and back.

Main: do all the exercise sets 4 times with 30s rests between each -

Power bridge - lay on back, feet flat on floor, knees 90 degrees . Relax arms by side or behind head. Push hips up towards sky and extend hip flexors, hold 5seconds, then slowly lower towards starting position. Touch the ground and push up again. Repeat 45 times.

Plank with leg extensions – Plank (suck belly button to spine and hold body straight. Support yourself on elbows under shoulders), then (keeping leg straight and hips level) raise one foot, hold, and return, repeat on other side. Hold extension for 10 seconds on each leg and repeat both legs 15 times.

Scissor kick - Lay supine (on back), legs out straight. Slide hands (palm down) under the small of back. Push lower spine into hands and suck belly button towards spine, then – legs straight – raise feet 6’ off ground, maintaining spine into hands. This is your start position. The exercise goes cross feet right over left then left over right and back to start for 60 seconds.

Side plank dip - Lay on side. Elbow on ground supporting straight body, with only foot and elbow in contact with floor. Dip hips to ground (avoid letting hips swing forward or back). Then explode up (so you push your top side to the sky). Repeat 45 times then change to other side

Rows and kicks - Sitting upright feet flat on floor, grab ankles, lean slightly back, and raise feet off floor (now balanced on bottom). This is start position. Straighten legs and lean back (bottom only contact with floor still), and crunch back (like a rowing movement). Do 5 reps of rows then stop in the extended position and do 10 reps of straight leg kicks (front crawl style – legs straight, toes pointy) before starting again. Do 15 rows and 10 kicks 4 times in one set.

Sample Day 8

LSD4 swim

Aim: stay relaxed at a steady CSS+10

Warm up:
200m easy FC,
200m with fins (broken arrow up, swim back).

Main (all at CSS+10):
1000m +60s
800m +45s
600m +30s
400m +15s

CD: 100m choice then a long stretch in shower

Sample Day 9

I - swim - technique - 6

Aim: long strokes and heals breaking the surface

WU: 100m FC easy, 50m kick with float, 100m FC easy, 50m pull, 100m FC easy.

6x 25m streamline kick on back
6x 75m pull - focused on long strokes
6x 150m (50m kick/50m pull/50m swim)
600m straight forward swim focused on long strokes and heals breaking the surface

CD:100m easy choice

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