Jul 15, 2014 – Podium Swim Club – Speed & VO2max

This set was prescribe earlier this week and is purely speed focused. Not speed endurance, or threshold, but VO2max efforts. The goal here is to work on top-end speed, and just as you would send runners or triathletes to the track to run 400m and 800m repeats, the same applies in the pool. A 1:3 or higher work – rest ratio is ideal to ensure that efforts are repeatable and the athlete can maintain the high intensity efforts over the duration of the main set.


Warm up:
250 easy effort swim
200 pull

6 x 50 on 1:00
1st length drill, 2nd length easy

4 x (50 – 75) On :50 – 1:15
Descend both the 50’s and the 75’s

Main set:
5 x ( 3 x 25, 50, 25)
3 x 25’s are max effort on 1:00
50’s are max effort on 1:30
Final 25 is easy on 1:00

Cool down:
200 easy swim


This workout was provided by Podium Training Systems Coach Dave Burgess.

Additional Comments:
It’s important with sprint and VO2max work that form does not fall off. If the athlete can’t maintain form during these efforts, they need to slow down to a pace where they can maintain form throughout the set. Note that anything beyond 50 yards (or meters) and the rest required will increase dramatically, and the number of reps will decrease. I don’t frequently prescribe 100’s in a speed session save for my higher performing athletes.

While the main set is shorter on volume, it’s very high in quality. When done properly – at full maximal effort – athletes will be quite exhausted by the end. And for the warm up, the drills that are prescribed should of course be specific to the needs of the athlete.

I’ve had great success with athletes who needed to improve their overall speed (both in sprints, and transitioning to aerobic efforts) by incorporating speed based sets with generous work – rest ratios.

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