Here’s a set that will help you develop and build your “easy” sprinting speed.
When you watch top sprinters go about their business they make it look surprisingly easy, don’t they? Nearly effortless. With awesome posture and positioning in the water they sail across the pool, a rooster-tail of white water following them.
Today’s workout, the “feel good, look good” set, will help you find and develop that easy speed.
In terms of swimming workouts, this isn’t going to destroy you. And unlike those endless distance sets it won’t take you very long.
But make no mistake, “easy” speed is a bit of a misnomer—it’s tough to maintain excellent technique and effort that is just below maximum for a sustained period of time.
The “Look Good, Feel Good” Set
As you will see, the set kinda has to be done in a short course pool.
Before you do this set make sure that you warm-up thoroughly. If you are kicking off your week with this set (like I did today) make sure that you do a lengthy warm-up, capped off with some build to high intensity efforts.
Here we go:
50 x 25 swim as–
1st 40, all on a :30 sec interval
- Swim fast to the 15m mark; not all-out, but at a relaxed sprint.
- Cruise the last 10m to the wall.
- You should get around 10-15 seconds rest per rep. Enough to mostly catch your breath.
- Bang out an identical number of underwater dolphin kicks each time. Pick a number at the beginning of the set and stick to it all the way through.
- If you are getting so winded that your breakout is being cut short, take more rest.
- Focus on having your chest and hips high in the water.
- Arm turnover should be brisk, but not out of control. The goal is a relaxed, controlled sprint. Not spinning out.
- Awesome technique, or not at all. We aren’t training for exhaustion, we are training for skillful speed.
- Kick fast and kick tight.
- Breakout like a boss; that first stroke you take should explode you to the surface with authority.
:60 additional rest
Final 10, all from a dive, on a :60 interval
- Sprint to the 15m mark. Controlled sprint is still the goal.
- Climb out at the end of each rep to perform the dive (odds done from the blocks, evens from the bulkhead or wall).
- When you dive, whether from the blocks or the side of the pool, dive into the smallest hole you can, while keeping your body straight and braced when you enter the water.
- I wore my swim fins for these reps. I love doing sprints from a dive with fins on—it teaches your body speed at its absolute highest, and will remind you to keep everything streamlined and as drag-proof as possible under the water.
When should you do this set?
- On a Monday when you want to cue up the rest of your week. Starting out with easy speed work is a great way to set-up the full intensity work to come later in the week.
- During your taper. That “easy” sprint is what you want come meet-time, so getting some work in designed specifically to hit this feeling in the water is recommended during your swim taper.
Remember that the goal for this set from beginning to end is controlled speed.
You want to feel relaxed, fast, and at no point do you want to flail.
More Stuff Like This:
The 36 Ultimate Workouts for Competitive Swimmers. Our ever-growing collection of workouts and sets for swimmers. Includes sets from Katie Ledecky, Michael Phelps, and more.
The Other Auburn Sprint Set. Here is a breakdown of the hardest sprint set I have ever tried–100×25 all out on a descending interval. Have fun and have a big meal ready for after, you’re gonna need it.