Speed Workouts for Triathletes


  1. Accelerations: 8 to 12x explosive 50 meter (m) freestyle repeats, with 20-30 seconds rest.
  2. Timed Set*: 8 to 12x 50m freestyle repeats on the minute. Swim 50m freestyle within the time frame of one minute. If you finish in 40 seconds, you will have 20 seconds rest before the next interval.
  3. For Time*: 5 x 400m freestyle maintaining fastest possible pace with rest or recovery swim equal to the time taken to complete the 400m swim.
  4. Interval Ladder*: 50m, 100m, 300m, 500m, 300m, 100m, 50m freestyle with rest equal to half the time taken to complete the interval swim.

*Number of sets, rest and distance can be altered.


  1. Over-Speed Spin: 10x 3 to 10 minutes spinning at 100-plus rpm with moderate speed spin recovery of 3 to 5 minutes.
  2. Time Trial: Complete a 5K, 10K, 20K, or 40K course for time. Record the average speed and time and use them for comparison in later time trials.
  3. Timed Intervals: 8 to 12x 3 to 4 minutes fast with 1 to 3 minutes easy. Work and rest periods can be lengthened as needed; for example: 5 to 8 minutes fast with 3 to 5 minutes easy.
  4. Hill or Big Gear Climbs: 8 to 12x 1- to 2-minute hill climbs with 3 minutes moderate speed spin recovery. Maintain seated position if possible.


  1. Accelerations: 8 to 12x 100 to 200m focusing on stride, foot strike and cadence.
  2. Track Work: 8 to 12x 200m with 100 to 200m jog. The same distance, work and rest can be done at 400m and 800m.
  3. Fartlek: 8 to 12x 30 seconds fast; 30 to 60 seconds easy. Work and rest periods can be lengthened as need, ex. 45 second fast/45 to 90 seconds easy.
  4. Hill Repeats: 6 to10x 60 seconds fast and steep hill repeats; 60 to 120 seconds easy jog to base of hill.

Apply these speed workouts to a well-rounded triathlon training program to help increase your training threshold, improve efficiency, and decrease overuse injuries. Along with proper recovery, strength training and a nutritional diet, interval training can prepare you for a personal best race performance.

More: How to Create Your Own Interval Workouts

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