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Ironman Base- swim development


Mike Bridge

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9 Weeks

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Plan Description

This plan is aimed at boosting an athletes swim economy. By completing work at CSS pace and including weekly pool based strength work, effectively improves neuromuscular co-ordination and power which in turn increases swim economy. The strength resistance sets are based on recent research showing how to efficiently improve swim specific strength, a drag parachute or similar would be ideal but anything that creates drag without affecting technique could be used.
During this 8 week block run and bike training are put into maintenance mode so that the athlete can complete the swim training rested and ready to work hard.
This plan is ideal for the off season when an athlete has time to work on a specific discipline. However IM athletes who are further along into their prep may wish to extend some of the easy bike/run sets.


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
4:35 hrs 1:30 hrs
0:48 hrs 1:30 hrs
1:34 hrs 2:00 hrs
2:10 hrs 2:30 hrs
Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
4:35 hrs 1:30 hrs
0:48 hrs 1:30 hrs
1:34 hrs 2:00 hrs
2:10 hrs 2:30 hrs

Training Load By Week

This plan works best with the following fitness devices:

  • Heart Rate Monitor
  • GPS

All supported devices

Mike Bridge


Swimming technique improvement, Triathlon racing and skills, training program design

We provide a range of un-coached and comprehensive coaching options ranging from £30-£80 per month.

Sample Day 1

CSS test

The CSS test involves two timetrial swims - a 400m and a 200m.

Do the 400m timetrial first, it's less likely to effect the 200m than the other way around. Recover completely between each timetrial with some easy swimming. Perform both timetrials from a push off from the wall, not a dive.
Try and pace the trials as evenly as possible, don't start too fast and slow down.
This test will give us the pace at which we will conduct the hard training sets in this phase.

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Sample Day 1

5x 8min -threshold

These sub threshold sessions allow a lot of work to be completed in a short space of time whilst limiting injury risk.  This intensity of training is ideal when time to race day i short and an athlete needs to build bike fitness quickly. It is worth noting these efforts will improve  threshold power but are unlikely to improve top end power.

Sample Day 2

45 z2 run

A steady z2 run. the pace should be such that You can be talk all the way around. This pace will mean you develop endurance without accumulating too much fatigue.

Sample Day 3

10x100m css

The aim in this session is build aerobic capacity and swim endurance. The high pace but long rest should allow plenty of time to spent at threshold.

Sample Day 5

Over Under

Sample Day 6

Easy brick/strength z2

Sample Day 7


In this session we use short rep distances to build endurance at race pace. It will help develop nuero-muscular efficiency and add to the overall aerobic endurance.

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