24 Week Long Course with Finding Freestyle (11 hours)

Average Weekly Training Hours 10:21
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 10:21
Training Load By Week

This is a training plan for Ironman distance athletes with roughly 11 hours per week to train. It includes the Finding Freestyle Basic Course, as well as parts of the Advanced Course and Peaking Block. Access to our Question & Answer Forum is provided and some purchases include swim video review and bike fit video review.

Workouts are structured around Functional Threshold Power and Daniels VDOT pacing, but alternative Perceived Exertion guidelines for the bike are presented. Power meter is recommended but not required.

Over 20 video links are embedded and extensive overviews are attached to the first days workouts. Though not a fully supported plan, athletes have email access to the author.

Sample Day 1

Welcome to your first run. While this plan contains much variety, it will also contain some version of this basic, easy run on multiple days.

Easy run. Pace should be conversational. Finish with 4 strides.40:00 - 50:00

Sample Day 1
Week 1 Primary

There is a document titled "Full Text Description"attached to this workout that should be read carefully before attempting this course.

Also, watch all the included videos before beginning this or any of the workouts.

The first week of this course begins at the ends – the two ends of the “Float & Paddle – Statue of Liberty continuum”. These two drills mark the outer ranges of the stroke pattern that your arms will ultimately find themselves in when you have developed and tuned your stroke to its optimum level. The contrast offered by these two drills is stark in terms of complexity as well as the basic arm mechanics employed.

In the Float & Paddle, (see video) you have the Australian crawl in its most stripped down, elemental form – constant kinetic motion, switching between two basic forms – right arm extended/left arm at your side and left arm extended/right arm at your side – with the only “moving parts” being your torso (and your head, of course, when you need to breath).

With the SoL, (see video) you have a complicated interaction between kicking, pulling, pausing, floating, breathing, and counting.

While very different, these two contrasting drills intersect in fast swimming; specifically, F&P will teach you to engage the muscles of your torso in order to propel your arms, this is a fundamental characteristic of optimal swimming propulsion. SoL will help you to develop a sense of body balance and positioning in the water, and it will encourage you to integrate the pull and the kick together in a smooth rhythmic flow – this too is a fundamental for propulsion.

When you are doing the “Technical Focus” portion of the workout, explore and exaggerate these contrasts. Make the shoulder joint as rigid as possible when doing the F&P, trying to make torso rotation the only means of moving your arms. Contrast is a powerful tool to increase your awareness. By taking these first steps to developing aquatic body awareness, you will be on your way to knowing where you are, an essential part of getting to where you want to go.

Most importantly, however, is to be patient with your execution. Many will find it next to impossible to “turn off” the legs entirely when doing F&P. Others may find it hard to switch from one side to the next rhythmically in SoL. Even if you are a relatively experienced swimmer, your body only “knows what it knows” (not what it doesn’t know) – there will be many motions that are foreign to you. This is a fact of life when building physical vocabulary. When you are developing new vocabulary, remember to treat yourself like you would a child learning new words, if you can even discern the word from the noise, you are headed in the right direction.

The pulling we have you do is encouraged to be done with a pull buoy, forcing you to learn how to lift the legs with muscular control and timing. When you first start with this activity, the legs may ride VERY low in the water. Sometimes the only way out is through.

Float and Paddle - http://tinyurl.com/p4hsa3z
SoL 1-6 - http://tinyurl.com/omfhd68
Pull w/o buoy - http://tinyurl.com/q643fsn


1 x 300 CHOICE, REST 1:00
4 x 25 PULL (NO BUOY) REST :10
4 x 25 SWIM, REST :10

TECHNICAL FOCUS - Take your time1
As Much Rest As Needed (AMRAN)
6 x 25 PULL,
6 x 25 STATUE OF LIBERTY 1-6 (SoL)
4 x 25 FLOAT & PADDLE (F&P)

[1 x 25; 1 x 50; 1 x 75; 1 x 100]


FLOAT AND PADDLE (F&P) – sometimes referred to as “kayak paddle”, or “t-paddle”
because the arms are fixed at the shoulders, and all propulsion is achieved by rotating the
body to drive these fixed arms. Legs float behind – challenge is to keep them elevated,
however, proper body motion will make this happen for the most part.

Basic excution:
Swimmer floats horizontally and extends arms outward from shoulders into a “T” starting position, rotating the body core to paddle the arms. Maintain the “T” arm position by attempting to limit all rotation at the shoulder joint. If shoulder joint is immobile, the only way to make the arms move in a paddling motion is to rotate the torso. Legs remain still, simply “floating” behind the upper body.

Skills: basic pull propulsion, engaging torso in time with arms and head for “full body” pulling, reduced shoulder rotation.

PULL – it is OK to let the legs dangle independently, or even to have a little “counterbalancing” motion from them.
Try it without a pull buoy.

STATUE OF LIBERTY (SoL) – the key objective for this drill is to achieve a comfortable
body position while kicking on your side, and try to smoothly transition from the side
kicking to the pulling phase. 1-6 (1 pull, 6 kicks) is our basic form for this drill, but it can be
done in numerous combinations, such as 3-6 (3 pulls, 6 kicks), 1-9 (1p9k), etc. Do not over roatate to perform this drill. The body should be held at about a 45 degree angle from the water surface while kickingon the side. Beware going completely onto the side (90 degree angle) as this will cause difficulty in proper execution.

Basic execution:
The swimmer kicks on their side with one arm extended forward and one extended back towards the feet (at their side).
After a pre-designated number of kicks, the swimmer pulls, rotating to the opposite side.

Body position, balance, integrated timing of kicking and pulling.
Proper rotation (not all the way to 90 degrees) allows leverage during the catch and power developed from the body.

Key Points:
The head "leads", in other words, put the face in the water, with eyes looking at the bottom of the pool before pulling phase begins.
Turn head to the side when a breath is needed, put it back in the water to exhale.
"Continuous kick" - Work to eliminate any pause in the kick while you transition from kicking on your side to taking the stroke and rotating to the opposite side.

Advanced Points:
Shoulder of "down" arm is out of the water, body forming approximately a 45 degree angle with the water surface to optimize balance work

Sample Day 2
Power Test

When performing this power test, it is very important to do it the exact same way, under as close to the exact same conditions as possible, every time. TEST INDOORS! On a trainer, in a cool and well ventilated room with a large fan blowing directly on you. You should be rested, but not tapered for this. If you are run down or ill, you should re-schedule.

Follow the protocol exactly and DO NOT slack off on the 5 minute interval in an attempt to perform better on the 20 minute segment. Both of these interval are used to evaluate your current fitness.

Both the 5 and 20 minute segments are ALL OUT, absolutely as hard as you can maintain for the duration.

Warm-up 15:00, building through 12:00 and then 3:00 easy
3 x 1:00 @ Z6 or just HARD!
1:00 easy between
5:00 recovery

5:00 ALL OUT (Don't hold back this is part of the test)
10:00 easy
20:00 ALL OUT
15:00 cool down.

Your functional threshold power is 93% of your 20:00 Average POWER. This is different than the traditional 95%, but you are doing an IM so we want to be safe and conservative.

Sample Day 3

Easy run. Pace should be conversational. Finish with 4 strides. 40:00 - 50:00

Sample Day 3
Week 1 Supplememental

The supplementary workout(s) for the first week are geared to allow the swimmer time to digest and refine their understanding of the basic concepts introduced in the primary workouts.

Similarly, they are intended to begin the process of fitness building, introduce the concept of speed-play, and “hybrid” swims – swims in which the athlete performs a mixture of drills and swims during a more fitness oriented set.

The drills that are chosen for hybrid swims are often ones that can be performed at a speed that is similar to swimming, enabling the athlete to have options when working out with a group, but still wishing to spend time advancing their own agenda using the techniques in this program.

Over the course of the 12-week program, these hybrid sets will become more demanding. As the athlete learns more advanced drills and activities, their ability to integrate hybrid swims into fitness-oriented workouts will increase dramatically.

Finally, the Supplemental workouts tend to be lengthy. This is why we refer to them as workouts, rather than workout, even though only one appears weekly. Swimmers are encouraged to go as far as their fitness and time allows and to finish the supplemental activites at another time. More advanced swimmers who complete the supplemental in one session are encouraged to take advantage of a more conditioning based 3rd session provided weekly.


12 X 25 on :10 REST
4X [#1 – F&P, #2 – PULL, #3 – SWIM]

6 X 50 on :15 REST
2X [#1 – SoL 1-6, #2 – SoL 3-6, #3 - SWIM]

3 X 300 on :20 REST
#1 – 100 SWIM / 100 F&P / 100 SWIM
#2 – 100 PULL / 100 SWIM / 100 PULL
#3 – 100 SWIM / 100 1-6 SoL / 100 SWIM

6 X 25 ALTERNATE 1-6 SoL/3-6 SoL on :10 REST
1 X 300 50 SWIM FAST / 50 PULL EASY, REST :20
6 X 25 F&P on :10 REST
1 X 100 FAST SWIM, REST :30

2700 yards/meters done- Good time for a break?

12 X 75 IN SETS OF 3 on :15 REST
SET #1 – 1-6 SoL / 3-6 SoL / 25 SWIM FAST
SET #3 – 25 SWIM FAST / 25 F&P / 25 SWIM FAST


3700 TOTAL yards/meters

DESCEND – This is a basic speed-play concept which generally refers to increasing speed
between successive swims in a set (increasing speed = decreasing time, hence
“descending”). So, if we are doing a set of 6 X 50, descending 1-3, it means we will increase our
speed as we go from the 1st to the 2nd to the 3rd swim of the set, and then begin the process
again through the 4th, 5th and 6th swims.

It should be stressed here that descending is a time based activity, not an effort based one. The idea is not necessarily to work harder, rather, to go faster on successive swims. Seems simple, but that first swim needs to be well under control to have any chance of descending success.

Sample Day 4

Easy run. Pace should be conversational.
Finish with 4 strides.

Sample Day 6
Time Trial

Warm up for 10:00 - 15:00 and finish with a few strides, accelerating through each one to slightly exceed expected time trial pace pace.
Passive recovery

1 x 400 @ projected time trial pace.
Passive recovery

2 mile / 8 laps ALL OUT for time. If you pace poorly or fall apart, keep going. Finish the test, and learn from your pacing errors for next time. Racing is pacing and knowing how the body responds and recovers from improper pacing is crucial to success. There is no failure, only feedback.

Passive recovery.

Cool down for 5:00 -10:00 light jogging/walking.

David Luscan
Finding Freestyle Multi-sport Coaching

Finding Freestyle offers full service multi and single sport coaching, fully custom & off the shelf plans, online bike fitting, and the only web based, process driven, learn to swim faster program for triathletes and competitive pool and open water swimmers. The Finding Freestyle Basic and Advanced courses can stand alone or be easily integrated into any stand alone or custom training plan.