Workout 2 - Mix It Up
The ideal way to divide up a 30-minute workout is to do 10 minutes warm-up, 15 minutes main set, and five minutes cool down. Depending on your swimming ability, you may cover anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 meters, so the workout below has room for variation according to your ability (it will cover 1,800 meters).
300 meters (five minutes)
4x50 kick/swim (IM order - fly, back, breast, free) @ 1:15
400 @ 5:30
300 @ 4:45
200 @ 3:00
100 @ 1:30
300 meters (backstroke, breaststroke) - five minutes
Workout 3 - Keeping Pace
The final way to maximize 30 minutes in the pool is the pace workout, doing as many 100-meter repeats as you can with a minimal amount of rest. The point of this exercise is to drill into your body and brain what it feels like to repeat a set distance at a set time.
This develops endurance and consistency in pacing, and is a challenging workout to boot (about halfway through, your stamina will really be put to the test and you will have to fight to keep repeating the same times). Doing this workout regularly will help you become a better endurance athlete, and condition you for next summer's ocean races.
20x100 at 1:30 pace: Try holding the same pace for each 100, with only 10 seconds maximum rest between each one. Adjust the 1:30 interval to faster or slower based on your capabilities. As you get better, you may lower your interval or lower your pace, or both.
To make the set more interesting, you can descend your pace as well, doing the first five 100's at 1:20, for instance, and the next five at 1:18, then the next five at 1:16, and so on.
Remember, during the offseason it's to be expected that our time and dedication will be limited in the pool. But it's better to do a quick 30 minutes consistently than to give up on your training altogether and have to fight the fat come the beginning of next season!
A former swimmer at Stanford University, Alex Kostich has stayed strong in the sport at the elite level even while maintaining a day job. The three-time Pan-American Games gold medalist still competes in—and wins—numerous open-water races around the world each year, as well as competing in the occasional triathlon and running race.