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A 20 week, 10km. INTERMEDIATE SWIM Plan, for most Swim Speeds/Types Who Have Some Experience


Peter Wilby

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20 Weeks

Plan Description

A 10km Open Water Swim Training Plan

This plan could be applied to a variety of swim speeds. It has been tried and tested with both 01:20/100m athletes to 02:05/100m athletes (by these paces I refer to CSS). It is designed to take you through a base fitness stage and is really for athletes who may only be swimming once or twice a week for 1500m - 2500m before starting. That said, you must be comfortable to begin at that point - complete beginners could find this plan too hard and high-level swimmers regularly swimming 3km-or-more 3-or-more times per week could find this plan too easy at first.

If 1.5 - 2km twice per week is too much before starting, you need another plan and possibly longer to train - beginners, check out my 'Intro to endurance swimming plan', designed for complete beginners to prepare for a more advanced plan, . If you feel this plan starts too easy, try my '16 week 10km SWIM training plan (for swimmers currently 01:50/100m or faster for 1500m)'.

A final point to bear in mind, before embarking with this training plan, is you must be comfortable in open water already. If you have no open water experience you will need additional efforts to gain that experience before your 10km event. Nevertheless, if you have swam in open water events before and are already comfortable with the open water swimming environment, this plan will very much help guide and focus your training. The plan starts including OW swims in week 17.

Some swim training in this plan requires a metronome. 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.


Included in this 20 week plan are structured pool swim sessions, open water sessions and strength sessions. The first week includes three 2km pool sessions. The weeks gradually build in distance but there is normally just one longer swim and the other swims around 2.5km. As this plan progresses the frequency of swims increases from three per week to five per week. If you have time for additional swimming, steady distance swimming in OW will support you best. The longest week consists of five swims, one of which is open water and one is 5.5km in the pool, the longest week is just short of 15000m total distance.


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.


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.

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Training Plan Sample Week


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
Swim x4
0:03 hrs 1:00 hrs
Strength x1
0:26 hrs 0:45 hrs
Day Off x1
—— ——
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
0:03 hrs 1:00 hrs
0:26 hrs 0:45 hrs
Day Off
—— ——

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

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.

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