Masters Swim Training Plan (16 weeks)

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week

This plan is modeled after the popular Masters swimming program that Adam Hodges coached at the University of Colorado in Boulder. It is ideal for Masters swimmers, triathletes, and fitness swimmers accustomed to swimming three times per week with weekly yardage ranging from 8,000-13,000 yards.

The plan begins with a focus on aerobic development and gradually shifts towards higher intensity training. Time trials are scheduled at the end of each phase. The training is designed to peak an athlete for a final time trial or race at the end of the 16 weeks.

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Sample Day 1
2743m
Prep/Base Week 1, Workout 1

 Warm up: 200 free, 200 non-free, 200 kick

 Rotating kick/swim: 8 x 50* with 15 seconds rest interval (*25 rotating kick, 25 free). Focus on long body and body roll; stretch out the stroke.

 Aerobic base 100s: 12 x 100 free in Zone 2 with 15 seconds rest interval. Focus on a steady base pace. 100 easy backstroke when finished.

 Quick kicks: 12 x 25 fast freestyle kick with 30 seconds rest interval. Focus on quick turnover of kick to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers.

 Aerobic base pull: 300 pull in Zone 2 with 25 seconds rest interval. Focus on body roll and breathing to alternate sides. If you feel comfortable breathing every three strokes; then try to extend it to every five strokes. Optional: Do backstroke pull every fourth 25.
 Cool down: 200 easy

Sample Day 3
2835m
Prep/Base Week 1, Workout 2

 Warm up: 300 free, 200 non-free, 100 kick

 Rotating kick with sculling: 5 x 50 rotating kick with 30 seconds rest interval. Focus on sculling (i.e. forearm rotation) with extended arm while on that side kicking.

 Aerobic base divided 250s: 5 x 250* with 30 seconds rest interval (*100 free in Zone 2, 50 backstroke in Zone 1-2, 100 free in Zone 2).

 Aerobic base kick/pull: 200 kick alternate fast/easy by 25; 200 pull in Zone 2 with bilateral breathing (paddles optional); 30 seconds rest interval. Repeat.

 Cool down : 200 easy

Sample Day 5
2743m
Prep/Base Week 1, Workout 3

 Warm up: 150 free, 150 non-free, 150 free, 150 kick

 Aerobic base descending ladder: 400 in Zone 2; 50 catch-up drill; 300 in Zone 2; 50 catch-up drill; 200 in Zone 2; 50 catch-up drill; 100 in Zone 2; 50 catch-up drill. All with 15 seconds rest interval.

 Aerobic base 100 kicks with fins: 5 x 100 kick in Zone 2 with 20 seconds rest interval. Use fins without a board, and keep a long, streamlined positioned while kicking on your back.

 Base pull with backstroke: 200 pull in Zone 2 with bilateral breathing; 15 seconds rest; 100 backstroke at recovery pace (i.e. Zone 1).

 Form counts: 8 x 25 free for form not speed with rest interval as needed (15-30 seconds). Count your strokes on each 25. See how low you can get that count. Focus on being more streamlined (off the wall and while swimming). Glide and stretch out your stroke.

 Cool down: 200 easy

Sample Day 8
2926m
Prep/Base Week 2, Workout 1

 Warm up: 300 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 kick

 Long swim fartlek: Swim 1,500 continuously, repeating the following pattern for the duration of the swim: 25 easy free, 25 moderate free, 25 fast free, 25 easy backstroke.

 Quick kicks: 12 x 25 fast freestyle kick with 30 seconds rest interval. Focus on quick turnover of kick to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers.

 Cool down: 200 easy

Sample Day 10
2743m
Prep/Base Week 2, Workout 2

 Warm up: 300 free, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 kick

 Fist drill 50s: 8 x 50* with 20 seconds rest interval. (*Swim with hands closed in fist during the first 25 of each 50. Focus on keeping the elbow high and finding the most effective position for your arm during the pull phase of your stroke. Open up fist and swim normally for second 25 of each 50. Focus on keeping elbow high and building upon the position you found during the fists drill.)

 Mixed stroke descending ladder: 150 free in Zone 2; 25 seconds rest; 100 backstroke in Zone 2; 20 seconds rest; 50 breaststroke in Zone 2; 15 seconds rest. Repeat 4 times.

 Fast/easy kick 50s: 8 x 50 kick* with 15 seconds rest interval. (*Alternate fast/easy by 25.)

 Aerobic base pull: 200 pull* in Zone 2. Focus on body roll and breathing to alternate sides. If you feel comfortable breathing every three strokes; then try to extend it to every five strokes. (*Optional: Do backstroke pull every fourth 25.)

 Cool down: 200 easy

Sample Day 12
2195m
Prep/Base Week 2, Time Trial

 TT #1: Record your time and use to determine your pace zones (see instructions provided earlier).

 Warm up: 200 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull

 1,000 Time Trial: 8 x 50 (25 drill, 25 build) with 15 seconds rest interval, 100 backstroke to stretch out. 1,000 TT - Give this your maximum effort! Record time. 100 easy.

 Cool down: 200 easy

Sample Day 15
3383m
Initial Base Week 1, Workout 1

 Warm up: 300 free, 200 non-free, 100 kick

 Aerobic base 300s: 6 x 300 free in Zone 2 with 30 seconds rest interval. Focus on a steady base pace. 100 easy backstroke when finished.

 Rotating kick/swim: 12 x 50* with 15 seconds rest interval (*25 rotating kick, 25 free). Focus on long body and body roll; stretch out the stroke.

 Aerobic base pull/kick: 200 pull in Zone 2 with bilateral breathing (paddles optional), 15 seconds rest interval, 100 kick in Zone 2, 15 seconds rest interval. Repeat 3 times.

 Cool down: 100 easy

Adam Hodges
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Alp Fitness

With credentials from USA Triathlon and the American College of Sports Medicine, All-American triathlete and XTERRA SoCal Trail Series champion, Adam Hodges, PhD, provides training plans and educational resources to help you achieve success in triathlons, running and life. His coaching vision is based on the belief that the ultimate reward of training is the continual process of self-discovery and personal growth that arises out of athletic challenges. Learn more at alpfitness.com.