A 16 week 10km SWIM training plan (for swimmers currently 01:50/100m or faster for 1500m)

Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 05:57


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 3 hour 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.

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 up, swim back / doggy paddle up / swim back - all with pull buoy).

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 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

Sample Day 12
P1 swim endurance 600m builds

Aim: gradually add force to get the swim speed up

WU: 600m easy (stay very easy for the first 300m then add some force - you can mix up pull buoy and paddles in the 2nd 300m)

Main1: take 20-30s rest after each swim to get a accurate rep time

2 x 300m (1st CSS+10 / 2nd CSS),
3 x 200m (1st CSS+10 2nd CSS+5 / 3rd CSS),
4x 100m (1st CSS+10 / 2nd CSS+6 / 3rd CSS+3 / 4th CSS),
5x 50m (1st CSS+4 / 2nd CSS+2 / 3rd CSS / 4th CSS-2 / 5th CSS-4)

Main2 with pull buoy:
9x 100m as 15m drill* / 35m swim / repeat

*1-3: doggy paddle
4-6: scull 1
7-9: scull 2

CD: 150m choice easy

Pete Wilby

I am a triathlon and open water swimming coach based by the sea in Teignmouth, Devon. I provide a coaching service for triathletes and open water swimmers of all abilities. I aim to provide a service for everyone.

When I train triathletes I use critical swim speed (CSS) for swimming, which requires a pace clock or watch. I use power, heart rate, and feel (RPE) for cycling. And I use pace, time and distance as well as RPE for running.