January 23, 2018

Ron’s Swimming Rule of 250

Triathlon SwimmingOccasionally I get asked about my swimming regimen and what I do to get ready for my race season. I’ve outlined my swimming phases in an earlier article but here I’ll describe what I call “Ron’s Swimming Rule of 250.”

The “250” I’m referring to is 250 yards or meters, depending on the length of your pool. For these purposes it doesn’t matter. 250 yards/meters in most pools is 10 lengths of the pool. Therefore, the Rule essentially states that every workout will be done in increments of 250 yards/meters.

Since we all swim at different speeds and distances some may be able to do 250 in 2:30 while others will take 10:00. That’s okay. We all run and cycle at different speeds too. The main thing is to break your workouts into 250 yard/meter increments.

So here’s how you apply the concept. Your training plan should dictate how much time you need to swim each workout. Then, based upon your speed, you will determine how many 250s you need to do.

For example, let’s assume you can finish 250 yards comfortably in 5:00. Let’s also assume your scheduled workout for today is 60:00. Divide 60:00 by 5:00 per 250 and you should be doing 10 sets of 250 or 3,000 yards today.

The next thing to keep in mind is that your goal in the triathlon race is to swim without stopping. For this reason you should only stop once halfway through your workout – in this case after you’ve completed 1,500 yards or 60 lengths of the pool.

The purpose of the stop is to get your heartrate back down and get a little rest so you can maintain good form throughout the rest of your workout. Your stop should be no more than two minutes.

The structure of your 250s is critically important. You’re not going to be swimming 1,500 yards/meters at the same slow pace. While you’ll receive some benefit to the workout you certainly won’t be maximizing it.

In order to race fast you need to train fast. For that reason you’ll need to structure your 250s so some laps will be easy and some are hard. Early on in your season you’ll do more easy laps and fewer hard ones. However, as your season progresses you’ll increase the hard laps and reduce the easier ones. You get to the point where the majority of your laps are hard and very few are easy.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

So, if our athlete is in their “Build” phase they will be doing four easy lengths followed by six hard lengths for each of their 250s. When they get to their final “Race” phase they will increase the hard lengths from six to eight which will have them ready for their race.

Ron’s Swimming Rule of 250 will definitely get you ready for your next big race. You’ll improve your endurance as well as your speed.

Ron Saetermoe

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  1. Lamar says:

    I think that this technique is great. I’m a beginner swimmer and modified it just a bit for my skill level. I just took it down from 250 yards to 125 yards and its working great for me. Instead of 250/easy, its’ 125/easy, 100/easy-25/hard,75/easy-50/hard, 50/easy-75/hard and finally 25/easy-100/hard I’ve only been at if for two days now. I timmed myself two weeks ago and swam 250 yards in 7:07. Just this morning I swam 250 yards in 6:50. Once I perfect this, I’ll move on up to the full 250. My sprint tri will be in June, so I should be ready for 400 meters by then. Great article.Thanks.

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