Structure Your Training The Swim Smooth Way

How should I structure my training week? is one of the most common questions we hear at Swim Smooth.

If you swim within a Swim Smooth Squad or train using the Swim Smooth Guru (our virtual swim coach) you'll know that we favour a consistent routine all year round without much (or any) periodisation.

SS Coach Mike Jotautas takes his squad through a technique session in Louisville, Kentucky

We like a consistent structure that you can easily understand and follow week in, week out. Keep this rolling along and you'll get the right training stimuli (and the consistency of training) that you need to keep on improving over many months and years up to a very high level.

This is a far more effective approach than overly periodising things and focusing exclusively on one thing at a time (e.g. just on your stroke technique over the winter, your aerobic fitness in the spring and your open water skills come the summer).

Fundamentally we are talking about five types of workout here:

Technique sessions (watch intro video here)
CSS sessions (watch intro video here)
Aerobic Endurance sessions (or for more advanced swimmers a Red Mist session)  (watch intro videos here and here)
Open Water Skills sessions (watch intro video here)
Sprint sessions (watch intro video here)

Those videos are the introductions to each session type from the Guru's extensive training plans.

Develop A Weekly Structure - And Keep it Rolling

Fundamentally we are looking to roll through the first four session types, occasionally introducing a Sprint session if you are swimming three times per week or more.

We know from the 5000 of you subscribed to the Guru that most of you swim two, three or four times per week. So here's how that works out for each of those instances:




Swimming Twice Per Week

Week 1, 3, 5 etc: Technique session and CSS session
Week 2, 4, 6 etc: OW Skills session and CSS session*

* on weeks 2, 6, 10 etc swap the CSS session for an Aerobic Endurance session



Swimming Three Times Per Week

Week 1, 3, 5 etc: Technique session, CSS session and OW Skills session
Week 2, 4, 6 etc: Aerobic Endurance or Red Mist session, Technique session, CSS session*

* on weeks 4, 8, 12 etc swap the CSS session for a Sprint session



Swimming Four Times Per Week

Every week: Technique session, Aerobic Endurance or Red Mist session, CSS session and OW Skills session* 
* on weeks 4, 8, 12 etc swap the CSS session for a Sprint session




This structure can be seen in Appendix C of the Swim Smooth Book (also showing examples for swimming 5, 6 or 7 times per week) and is baked into the Guru's extensive training plans and Goal-setting engine (subscription required).

The key here is to keep this regular structure rolling week-in, week-out. It's a challenging routine but done with consistency will take your swimming to the next level.


Open Water Skills... Through The Winter?

Absolutely yes!! Open water skills (whether practised in the pool or open water) are so valuable to your performance as an open water swimmer or triathlete that they should be practised all year round. These sessions - normally swum in a group in your own lane - are great fun and really remind you of what you are training for next season.

Don't underestimate the importance of this - developing the confidence and an effective stroke to swim in open water is worth just as much time improvements as stroke technique or swim fitness.

More from SS Head Coach Paul Newsome on this here:




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