(If you're still learning to swim freestyle and don't feel up to this yet don't despair - we'll have a less challenging swim set for you guys coming soon. If you're not sure if you can manage it then give this session a crack - we're sure you'll surprise yourself!)
Main Set For Lane 1 (for those swimming 1:50 to 2:30+ for a fast 100m)
Repeat this set twice through, taking 60 sec rest between each set:
100m + 30 sec rest
200m + 30 sec rest
Main Set For Lane 2 (for those swimming 1:35 to 1:50 for a fast 100m)
Repeat this set three times through, taking 50 sec rest between each set:
100m + 25 sec rest
200m + 25 sec rest
Main Set For Lane 3 (for those swimming sub 1:35 for a fast 100m)
Repeat this set three times through, taking 40 sec rest between each set:
100m + 20 sec rest
200m + 20 sec rest
Very important: Swim each of the repetitions at the same speed - the maximum sustainable pace you can manage over the whole swim. Don't sprint the 100m then slow down over the 200m and 300m. So the 100m should feel straightforward, and 200m quite hard and the 300m very hard to sustain. Great distance swimming is about pace judgement under pressure and this starts in training!
You can see why we've nickname this the Goldilocks set as the 100-200-300s get progressively harder - think 'baby bear' 'mama bear' 'papa bear'!
This is the main set of your swim session, you should perform a warm-up and ideally a short drill set before starting this. Also follow with a cool-down swim to help flush waste products from your muscle groups.
If you swim in a yard pool simply swim the meter distances as yards. If you like you can improvise the session to lengthen it a little.
If you have a Wetronome Mk2, swim this set using the lap-interval mode to beep every 25m and take one beep rest (arrive on one beep, go on the next) between each swim and two beeps rest after each set of 100-200-300. If you have a good understanding of your CSS pace then swim the set at this pace or just a touch faster.
The Goldilocks set is an example of 'CSS' swim training - what we consider to be the best way to develop your lactate threshold pace. This sort of controlled sustained speed with short recoveries is the key to becoming a faster distance swimmer. Many swimmers attack shorter swims with more recovery - great training for sprinters but no so good for distance swimmers. Find out more here.
You'll find our complete training knowledge, including a mix of key sets like this one, in our 35 Session Waterproof Training Plans.