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Nailing A Killer Swimrun Session

It doesn't matter whether you're competing or completing, getting some quality training under your belt before your next swimrun race will make the event much more enjoyable (and faster too!).

While the 'perfect' training plan doesn't exist there are a few different types of sessions it's important to schedule in and I always include a block where I repeat a specific race preparation session weekly for the 4 to 6 weeks leading up to a race.  Athletes I coach always feedback to say that nailing this session boosts their skills, speed and confidence going into their event, so why not give it a try and see how you get on?

The session is essentially a mini-swimrun event and depending on the weather and water temperature I try to use much of the same kit that I race with.  It's important to find a venue where this session will work, and that's not always easy as you need an open water swim location where you can swim for about 10 minutes which also has a 10 minute run loop right next to it.  The geeky coach in me would also want the terrain and water (sea or lake) to mimic your race, but that might be asking too much!  If you can meet up with your race partner for this then that's even better, every minute spent training with your partner pays back as time and smiles gained in the race.

The session itself starts with a 10 minute easy run in your swimrun kit, this is your warm up and is nice and gentle.  As you approach the end of the run slow down to a walk so you can put your wetsuit on properly and practice your transition technique ready for the main part of the session later when you want to arrive at the waters edge with the aim of minimising the time you're stood stationary.  Once you're in the water the first swim is  about 10 min of relaxed swimming, don't forget that you're still warming up.  As you exit the water walk for a while as you transition to running and 'cab down' (unzip and lower your wetsuit), again this means you have a chance to run through your transition routine in a relaxed manner before the session proper starts.

The main set is an hour long and consists of three cycles of a 10 min progressive run into a 10 min progressive swim.  There is no rest between each swim or run but each section starts at a steady pace, faster than an easy warm up, but not hard.  The aim is to gradually ratchet up the pace over the 10 minutes so that you're really working over the final 2 minutes.  This not only challenges you physically but also engages your ability to judge your pace and specifically puts your transition technique to the test as you'll arrive at each transition out of breath and under pressure, but with an easier section to come so you can get sorted and iron out any issues.  You should go through the full transition drill (wetsuit, paddles, goggles, hat) for each entry and exit so that every part of your drill is refined and improved.

At the end of the hour take 5 minutes to walk and warm down.  It's really important that you use this time to reflect on the what went well in the session and what needs refining so you can develop your skills over time.

By the time you've finished, the session should look this with 4 transitions into the water and 4 transitions out of the water:

10 min easy run

10 min easy swim

10 min run progressively building intensity

10 min swim progressively building intensity

10 min run progressively building intensity

10 min swim progressively building intensity

10 min run progressively building intensity

10 min swim progressively building intensity

5 minute walk.

Let me know if you try this session out and how you get on!  It's worked really well for me and my athletes but beware, the killer swimrun session is never easy!

(This blog first appeared on, Breca run swimrun events all over the world and if you're looking for amazing courses and great organisation I'd definitely recommend checking out their races)



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