Masters Swim Training (6 workouts + 1 drill session per week)

Author

Adam Hodges

All plans by this Coach

Length

12 Weeks

Typical Week

7 Swim, 1 Day Off

Plan Specs

swimming masters

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Summary

Masters swim programs have grown in popularity since the first National Masters Swimming Championships were held in 1970. Whether you swim for fitness or train to compete, this training plan provides you with a 12-week Masters Swimming program with six workouts per week plus an optional drill-based form session that can be done on the scheduled recovery day each week. You can move through the plan from start to finish or randomly draw from the 72 workouts + 12 drill sessions. Every workout is different and provides well-defined sets with detailed instructions. Whether you swim daily or a few times a week, the plan provides you with a variety of training options to keep you fit.

Long distance freestyle workouts total 3,300 yards and all other workouts total 3,000 yards; the supplemental drill-based form sessions range from 800-1,000 yards. You can easily adjust the distances up or down to adapt the workouts to your target yardage and training goals. Take days off or lower the yardage for recovery weeks as needed. Remember, no matter where you want to go, you must start from where you are. The plan is ideal for swimmers without access to a local Masters swim program or for Masters swimmers who want a collection of workout choices to use when life’s myriad commitments keep them from training with the team.

Each workout targets a particular distance (short, mid, long), stroke or combination of strokes, and training effect. The first six weeks focus on aerobic base development plus threshold and speed work. The last six weeks add aerobic capacity workouts to the mix.

WORKOUT DISTANCES
• Short Distance = 25-150 yards
• Mid Distance = 150-300 yards
• Long Distance = 300+ yards

TRAINING EFFECTS
• Aerobic Base (refers to base building work to put “fitness in the bank”)
• Threshold (refers to work around lactate threshold to improve lactate tolerance)
• Aerobic Capacity (refers to anerobic work done to improve anaerobic endurance)
• Speed (refers to higher end max effort speed)

WEEKS 1, 4, 7, 10
• Mid Distance Free/Back
• Long Distance Free
• Short Distance Free/Choice
• Mid Distance Free/Breast
• Long Distance Free
• Short Distance Free

WEEKS 2, 5, 8, 11
• Mid Distance Free/Fly
• Long Distance Free
• Short Distance Free/Back
• Mid Distance IM
• Long Distance Free
• Short Distance Free/Breast

WEEKS 3, 6, 9, 12
• Mid Distance Free
• Long Distance Free
• Short Distance Free/Fly
• Mid Distance Free/Choice
• Long Distance Free
• Short Distance IM

SWIMMING PACE ZONES
Workout intensity levels are prescribed using pace zones (see below). To determine your swimming pace zones, see https://www.alpfitness.com/determine-your-swimming-pace-zones/.

Zone 1 = Very easy effort
Zone 2 = T-pace + 10 sec
Zone 3 = T-pace + 5 sec
Zone 4 = T-pace
Zone 5a = T-pace
Zone 5b = T-pace – 5 sec
Zone 5c = Maximum effort

What the different zones are used for:

Z1 = warmup, warmdown, easy recovery
Z2 = aerobic base building
Z3 = comfortably hard tempo
Z4-Z5a = lactate threshold work
Z5b = VO2max work
Z5c = max speed sprints

For more, see https://www.alpfitness.com/what-are-training-zones/.

Consult the Alp Fitness website (alpfitness.com) for supplemental videos, tools and resources to use along with this plan. Train smart!

Stats

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 00:00

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 alpfitness.com for additional videos and articles to help you train smart.

Back to Plan Details

Sample Day 1

2743m
Mid Distance Free/Back (backstroke inserts)

FOCUS: Aerobic Base

WARMUP (= 800)
300 free, 100 back, 300 free, 100 back

MAIN SET (= 1500)
6 x 250 @ mod pace (Z2)
Free w/ middle 50 backstroke
:20-25 rest

FINAL SET (= 600)
4 x 150 (50 free @ Z4, 50 back @ Z2, 50 free @ Z4)
:15-20 rest

WARMDOWN (= 100)
100 easy

TOTAL = 3000

Sample Day 2

3018m
Long Distance Free (400s forever)

FOCUS: Aerobic Base

WARM UP (= 800)
300 free, 100 back, 300 free, 100 kick

MAIN SET (= 1600)
4 x 400 free :30 rest
--
#1. steady mod pace (Z2)
#2. 50 “on” (Z3-Z4) / 50 “off” (Z1-Z2)
#3. 100 “on” (Z3-Z4) / 100 “off” (Z1-Z2)
#4. 200 “on” (Z3-Z4) / 200 “off” (Z1-Z2)

FINAL SET (= 800)
400 free pull @ mod pace (Z2) bilateral breathing every 3-5 strokes
400 alternating 25 easy kick (Z1-Z2) / 25 fast swim (Z5c)

WARM DOWN (= 100)
100 easy

TOTAL = 3300

Sample Day 3

2743m
Short Distance Free/Choice (speed play)

FOCUS: Aerobic Base, Speed

WARMUP (= 800)
4 x 200 (free, back, free, breast)

MAIN SET (= 1500)
Do the following set 2 times*:
150 free @ mod pace (Z2) :20
6 x 25 free @ sprint (Z5c) :20
150 free @ mod pace (Z2) :20
3 x 50 free @ build to sprint (Z5c) :20
150 free @ mod pace (Z2) :20
*Second time through the 25s and 50s are your choice of stroke.

FINAL SET (= 600)
2 x 300 fartlek swim* :30
--
*Free @ mod pace (Z2) with every third 25 “feel good speed” (sprint without straining). First 300 is all free. Second 300 is your choice of strokes.

WARMDOWN (= 100)
100 easy

TOTAL = 3000

Sample Day 4

2743m
Mid Distance Free/Breast (base building)

FOCUS: Aerobic Base

WARMUP (= 800)
250 free, 150 non-free, 250 free, 150 non-free

MAIN SET (= 1600)
Do the following set 4 times:
250 free @ mod pace (Z2) :25
150 breast @ mod pace (Z2) :25

FINAL SET (= 500)
5 x 100 free @ tempo pace (Z3-Z4) :20

WARM DOWN (= 100)
100 easy

TOTAL = 3000

Sample Day 5

3018m
Long Distance Free (descending ladder w/fins)

FOCUS: Aerobic Base

WARMUP (= 800)
200 free, 100 back, 100 kick, 200 free, 100 back, 100 kick

MAIN SET (= 2000)
Descending freestyle ladder @ mod pace (Z2) w/ fins
600 :40 rest
500 :35 rest
400 :30 rest
300 :25 rest
200
*For 600, 400, 200: swim every fourth length backstroke.
**For 500, 300: swim every fourth length “feel good speed” (fast without straining for it).

FINAL SET (= 400)
4 x 100 free :20
--
#1. 75 @ mod pace (Z2), 25 @ threshold pace (Z4-Z5a)
#2. 50 @ mod pace (Z2), 50 @ threshold pace (Z4-Z5a)
#3. 25 @ mod pace (Z2), 75 @ threshold pace (Z4-Z5a)
#4. Full 100 @ threshold pace (Z4-Z5a)

WARM DOWN (= 100)
100 easy

TOTAL = 3300

Sample Day 6

2743m
Short Distance Free (increasing speed)

FOCUS: Aerobic Base, Speed

WARMUP (= 800)
500 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 kick

MAIN SET (= 1500)
Do the following set 4 times:
125 free @ mod pace (Z2) + last 25 sprint (Z5c) :10
100 free @ mod pace (Z2) + last 25 sprint (Z5c) :15
75 free @ mod pace (Z2) + last 25 sprint (Z5c) :20
50 free @ mod pace (Z2) + last 25 sprint (Z5c) :25
25 free @ mod pace (Z2) + last 25 sprint (Z5c)

FINAL SET (= 600)
12 x 50 free @ build to sprint* :20
--
*Starts out easy (Z1) and gradually builds to sprint (Z5c) by end.

WARM DOWN (= 100)
100 easy

TOTAL = 3000

Sample Day 7

732m
OPTIONAL (form work): Stroke Counts + Downhill Swims

WARMUP: 200 easy

SET ONE: 4 x 25 stroke counts (rest as needed).
Count strokes per length with rest as needed between 25s. Remember these numbers so you know your average. If your number is above 20 strokes per 25 yards; your aim is to eventually lower that below 20. (Note: one arm equals one ‘stroke.')

SET TWO: 16 x 25 “swimming downhill” (rest as needed).
To get the sensation of “swimming downhill,” think of your chest/lungs as a big buoy (like an inflatable beach ball) that you want to push down into the water. Press this buoy (your chest) into the water, and let the force of the water pushing back raise your hips and legs to the surface.

WARMDOWN: 100 easy

Masters Swim Training (6 workouts + 1 drill session per week)

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