8 Week Swimrun Training Plan (2024)

Swimrun training plan
OTILLO - Jean-Marie Gueye

If you’re tired of the traditional run-of-the-mill workouts and seeking a new challenge, look no further than the dynamic world of swimrun racing. Here we have outlined a swimrun training plan for a sprint level race.

Combining the elements of swimming and running, these rather new race events not only test your physical prowess but also ignite your mental resilience.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deep into the world of swimrun workouts, exploring their benefits, training strategies, gear requirements, and tips to excel in this demanding style of endurance racing.

Understanding Swimrun Workouts

Swimrun workouts, which are good for swimrun racing (and aquathlon racing), have gained immense popularity in recent years due to their refreshing take on endurance training.

Originating from the islands of Sweden, this discipline involves alternating between swimming and running over a set distance, often in a natural environment like lakes, rivers, and trails.

The essence of swimrun lies in its seamless transitions between the two elements, with participants donning their gear for the entire duration of the race – including swimming in their running shoes and running in their wetsuits!

Benefits of Swimrun Workouts

swimrun training plan swim exit
  1. Full-Body Workout: Swimrun workouts engage almost every muscle group in your body. Swimming targets the upper body, especially the arms, shoulders, and core while running engages the lower body muscles, primarily the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles. This dual engagement leads to a well-rounded, full-body workout.
  2. Cardiovascular Endurance: The alternating nature of swimrun workouts serves as a fantastic cardiovascular challenge. Your heart rate fluctuates as you transition between the two activities, training your cardiovascular system to adapt and recover quickly.
  3. Mental Toughness: Swimrun workouts demand mental resilience. The rapid shifts from water to land, coupled with changing terrain, test your adaptability and mental fortitude. Overcoming these challenges boosts your confidence and prepares you for other endurance sports.
  4. Connection with Nature: Swimrun races are often held in picturesque natural settings. Engaging with nature during your training sessions can have a calming effect, reducing stress and promoting overall well-being.

Training Strategies for Swimrun Workouts

  1. Balanced Training: To excel in swimrun, your training regimen should focus on both swim training and running. Divide your training time equally between the two disciplines. Prioritize open water swims to acclimate to various water conditions.
  2. Brick Workouts: Brick workouts involve seamlessly transitioning between swim and run segments, simulating race conditions. Start with shorter distances and gradually increase the length of each segment. The goal is to develop the ability to perform well even with tired muscles.
  3. Specificity Matters: Tailor your workouts to mimic race conditions. If your event involves challenging terrains, incorporate trail runs and hilly routes into your training. Similarly, practice swim intervals in open water to replicate the race environment.
  4. Gear Familiarity: Since you’ll be running in a wetsuit and swimming in shoes, it’s essential to get comfortable with these gear transitions. Practice running in your wetsuit, and experiment with different types of running shoes that work well in wet conditions.
  5. Nutrition and Hydration: Just like any endurance sport, proper nutrition and hydration are crucial. Since swimrun races often take place in remote areas, consider carrying portable energy sources and a hydration pack to fuel yourself adequately.

Gear Requirements for Swimrun Racing

Swimrun wetsuit
synergywetsuits.com
  1. Wetsuit: A wetsuit is designed to provide buoyancy in the water while allowing you to run comfortably. These wetsuits are specially designed for swimrun events. They often have sleeves, but nothing below the knee. They zip in the front (to allow air circulation during the run) whereas a typical triathlon wetsuit zips up the back.
  2. Swim Paddles: While not a requirement, most athletes carry swim paddles to allow for a greater “pull” of the water on each stroke. You should train with these first though, as they can be rough on your shoulders.
  3. Pull Buoy: Also not a requirement, this keeps your legs elevated in the water so you go faster. Carrying it during the run stinks though.
  4. Running Shoes: Choose lightweight running shoes that offer good grip on both wet and dry surfaces. Trail running shoes will provide stability and traction on challenging terrains.
  5. Buoyancy Aid: Depending on the race rules, you might need to carry a buoyancy aid for safety during the swim segments. Some athletes prefer inflatable tow floats that don’t hinder their progress during the run.
  6. Navigation Tools: In open-water swim segments, navigation can be challenging. A waterproof GPS watch or a navigation buoy can help you stay on course.

Tips to Excel in Swimrun Workouts

swimrun training plan exiting the water
synergywetsuits.com
  1. Pace Yourself: Swimrun workouts are about maintaining a steady pace throughout the entire session. Avoid starting too fast and burning out quickly. Find a rhythm that you can sustain.
  2. Practice Brick Workouts: Efficient transitions from swim to run back to swim are crucial in swimrun racing. It’s different muscles for each leg, so make sure you know what that will feel like on race day. Get comfortable carrying your gear (such as a pull buoy) on the run.
  3. Train in Various Conditions: Open water conditions can vary significantly. Train in different weather conditions, water temperatures, and currents to prepare for any scenario.
  4. Team Dynamics: If you’re participating in a team swimrun event, communication and teamwork are vital. Practice swimming and running together to develop synergy.
  5. Recovery Matters: Given the dual demands of swimrun workouts, proper recovery is essential. Incorporate rest days, foam rolling, and stretching to prevent overuse injuries.

8 Week Sprint Swimrun Training Plan

Here’s an 8-week swimrun training plan designed to progressively prepare you for a swimrun race. Each row represents a week, and each column represents a day of the week.

The plan has longer brick workouts on the weekends. Shorter, less intense brick workouts during the week. These workouts should be done swim-run (one after another). Depending on your upcoming race, you may desire to add multiple repetitions of each leg to mimic the race itself.

Try to work on your core strength throughout the week as it will help in both swimming and running. Road running is fine but try to work on trail running for your long runs.

Week 1: Foundation Building

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim400m easy2 x (200m steady, 100m fast)400m technique focus300m intervalsRest Day600m easy800m steady
Run3km easy5km moderate pace4km with hill repeats3km easyRest Day6km steadyLong run: 10km
FocusTechnique: BreathingSpeed in intervalsForm and efficiencyInterval pacingRest and recoveryStamina and pacingSteady endurance

Week 2: Technique Refinement

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim500m steady3 x 200m intervals500m technique drills400m steadyRest Day800m easy1000m steady
Run3.5km easy6km moderate pace4.5km incorporating trails3.5km easyRest Day7km steadyLong run: 12km
FocusStroke efficiencyInterval pacingOpen water navigationConsistent pacing. Watch your heart rate zones.Rest and recoveryEndurance and pacingSteady long-distance

Week 3: Building Endurance

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim600m easy4 x 200m intervals600m technique drills500m steadyRest Day1000m steady1200m steady
Run4km easy7km moderate pace5km incorporating trails4km easyRest Day8km steadyLong run: 14km
FocusStroke efficiencyInterval pacingOpen water navigationConsistent pacingRest and recoveryEndurance and pacingSteady long-distance

Week 4: Intensity Variation

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim600m steady4 x 300m intervals600m technique focus500m easyRest Day1000m steady1200m steady
Run4.5km easy7.5km moderate pace5.5km with hill repeats4.5km easyRest Day9km steadyLong run: 16km
FocusBreathing efficiencyInterval pacingForm and techniqueRecovery and techniqueRest and recoveryEndurance run and pacingSteady long-distance

Week 5: Transition Mastery

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim700m steady4 x 300m intervals700m technique drills600m steadyRest Day1200m steady1400m steady
Run5km easy8km moderate pace6km incorporating trails5km easyRest Day10km steadyLong run: 18km
FocusEfficient transitionsInterval pacingOpen water navigationConsistent pacingRest and recoveryEndurance and pacingSteady long-distance

Week 6: Endurance Push

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim800m steady4 x 400m intervals800m technique focus700m steadyRest Day1400m steady1600m steady
Run5.5km easy8.5km moderate pace6.5km with hill repeats5.5km easyRest Day11km steadyLong run: 20km
FocusBreathing efficiencyInterval pacingForm and techniqueConsistent pacingRest and recoveryEndurance and pacingSteady long-distance

Week 7: Tapering Begins

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim500m easy3 x 300m intervals500m technique drills400m steadyRest Day800m steady1000m easy
Run4km easy7km easy pace5km incorporating trails4km easyRest Day6km easyRest
FocusRecovery and techniqueInterval pacingOpen water navigationConsistent pacingRest and recoveryEndurance and pacingRest and mental prep

Week 8: Race Week Taper

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Swim400m easy2 x 200m easy intervals300m technique focusRest DayRest Day500m easyRace Day
Run3km easy5km easy pace4km easyRest DayRest DayRestSwim-Run Race
FocusRelaxation and recoveryLight activityTechnique refinementRest and mental preparationRest and mental preparationRest and mental preparationRace Day focus

Notes:

  • Swim Focus: The swim sessions focus on steady swims, interval work, technique drills, and gradual reduction in distance during the taper phase.
  • Run Focus: The run sessions vary between easy runs, moderate paces, trail running, hill repeats, and tapering during the final weeks.
  • Transitions: Continue to practice transitions, especially during the earlier weeks to build efficiency.
  • Focus: Adjust the focus each week to suit your training goals, whether it’s technique, pacing, endurance, or recovery.

This training plan is designed to progressively prepare you for a swimrun race while considering principles like progression, recovery, and specificity. Listen to your body and be flexible in adjusting the plan as needed.

swimrun training plan running

Conclusion

Swim-run workouts offer endurance athletes a refreshing and challenging alternative to traditional training plans. The combination of swimming and running, along with the ever-changing environment, makes this discipline both physically demanding and mentally rewarding. You’ll not only elevate your endurance but also cultivate mental toughness and adaptability.

Remember, success in swim-run requires a holistic approach – from balanced training and specialized gear to efficient transitions and proper recovery. So, dive in, lace up, and embark on a journey that will redefine your limits and reshape your perception of endurance training.

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