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HIM Training: Pace Swim

by Meghann on June 6, 2011

Today is Monday, June 6th, which means the Augusta Half Ironman is 16 weeks away and my training plan has officially begun. Time to get this party started!! Woop! Woop!

Day 1 of my 16 week training plan is pretty cut and dry – a 45 minute swim followed by NROLFW 1A. Sounds easy enough, right?

However, I wasn’t a fan of the time incremented swims the original training plan my plan was based off only provided. Knowing I would get bored – and no better off from where I started come September – I enlisted the help of my friend Courtney to design a few swim workouts I could use through the 16 week plan.

She was amazing and created a Pace, Test Set, and Distance Workout that I could rotate and build upon during training. Love that. She was even great in adding comments to the workouts to give me make better sense of what I should be aiming for.

Today I grabbed my goggles, towel, and swim cap and headed to the YMCA pool to attempt the Pace Workout Swim for the first time.


Courtney’s Version

Pace workout (Total yardage = 1900 yards, Total time = 45-50 min)

Warm up set – (10 min)

1 x 300 @ 20 second rest easy

1 x 200 @ 20 second rest faster

1 x 100 @ 20 second rest faster

Main set – try to hold near 2:00’s per 100 yard (24 min), eventually work your way down to holding 1:55’s, then 1:50’s, then 1:45’s (Or whatever your goal pace is for Augusta)

3 x 100’s @ 2:30

3 x 100’s @ 2:20

3 x 100’s @ 2:10

Cool down set – focus on technique not speed here.  Pick one or two items with your stroke to focus on like holding your head straight or reaching out far with your arms…etc. (13 min)

10 x 50’s @ 1:15

I told you she was amazing! 😉

My Breakdown

Now, after reading Courtney’s comments above and the notes in her Swim Workout 101 post, this is how the above workout breaks down in my head.

Warm up set – (10 min)

12 lengths of the pool with 20 seconds of rest after

8 Lengths of the pool at a little faster pace with 20 seconds of rest after

8 Lengths of the pool at a little faster pace with 20 seconds of rest after

Main set

Swim 4 lengths of the pool as close to 2:00 as possible. Once finished rest until clock hits 2:30 and repeat again 2 more times.

Same as above with a limit of 2:20

Same as above with a limit of 2:10

Cool down set

Swim 2 lengths of the pool. Wait for clock to hit 1:15 and repeat 9 more times.

How I Felt

I wasn’t sure I would enjoy having time goals, but, honestly, it made the swim so much more interesting. I felt myself racing with the clock and the time literally flew by. 1900 yards seemed very daunting at first, but breaking it up into 100 yard increments really made it seem like nothing.

I picked up a stop watch at Target last week and having that helped too.


The watch was so much easier to follow then the big clock and this way there was no second guessing myself. The watch and I are already lifelong friends.

The more I learn about swimming – and the more it starts to make sense to me – the more I like it. Swimming really isn’t that bad once you figure it out. It’s 10 times better having a plan, goals, and a little sense of knowing what you’re doing. 😉


After the swim I quickly changed and headed to the main part of the gym for my 4th workout of 1A of NROLFW. I went up on all of my weights, but I noticed that I have begun going through the motions, instead of giving it my all in the workouts. I made a mental note for Wednesday and plan to really push myself next time around. Falling into the trap of just going through the motions is NOT where I want to be.


Cereal was on my mind for breakfast. It’s quick, easy, and really refreshing in the summer heat.


In the bowl

  • 1/2 cup Kix
  • 1/2 cup Kashi Golden Goddess
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seed Granola
  • Lemon Chobani (I’m on a big lemon kick lately)
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries


Day 1 of my first HIM training plan is complete. Now, it’s time to get to work.

See ya! 🙂   

1 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday June 6, 2011 at 9:50 am

“Falling into the trap of just going through the motions is NOT where I want to be.”

It can get really easy to just go through a weightlifting workout without really pushing yourself as hard as you can. I usually write down my weight and sets so I can try to do at least as much weight or reps as the prior week.
Having a weight training buddy or spotter helps immensely.

2 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

Woohoo congrats on the first day of training Meghann! Sounds like you still had a pretty strong workout despite the weights part at the end, but I’m sure as you keep going, your stamina will also build. Have a great day!
Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat recently posted..Thrive in 30

3 Amanda @ Eating Up June 6, 2011 at 9:51 am

Seeing other bloggers swim laps is making my heart ache for a pool! I was a swimmer growing up, and it still is my favorite form of exercise. I think I’m gonna need to join a gym with a pool soon.
Amanda @ Eating Up recently posted..Post-Grad Life- Updating the Context of Eating Up

4 Sarah June 6, 2011 at 9:53 am

Nice work with the swimming! I’m a terrible swimmer which is the #1 reason I haven’t wanted to do a tri.. yet. So props to you!
Sarah recently posted..Ya Can’t Win Em’ All

5 Lindsey @ I'm a Grown-Up Now June 6, 2011 at 9:54 am

I totally understand the cereal thing! Firstly, cereal is in my top 5 favorite foods ever (I have very a sophisticated palate), and secondly, summer is here! I’ve eaten cereal for breakfast and smoothies for lunch or dinner for the last two weeks. I can’t help it!

6 Hillary June 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

I’m the exact same way: I need a plan to follow in order to really push myself. Must be something about having a goal in mind and sticking to it. I’m not that competitive with other people, but I am SUPER competitive with myself!

Great start on the training plan!
Hillary recently posted..“But This Is Me- You Know”

7 Marissa June 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

I wish I understood swimming or had someone to teach me… I don’t even know how long the pool I use is, or what is considered “good” time for lengths… so complicated… but I like swimming, so I’m pretty much okay with just swimming like 50 laps, resting a bit, and then doing about 50 more and calling it good. Haha… and I know what you mean about “going through the motions!” I have to constantly remind myself that I need to push it when I lift weights. What makes it easier for me is telling myself that if I don’t push myself, I’m basically wasting my time because my muscles aren’t going to grow unless I lift hard and heavy. And I don’t want to just be wasting my time! Plus, if I push myself, I know I’ll get sore… and being sore is so rewarding!
Marissa recently posted..Meet Skippy!

8 Michelle June 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

I have days where I walk around the weight room not really giving it my all and taking too long between sets… I find that if I have a set plan of what I’m going to do that day with weights and a time goal, I am much more focused and motivated.
Michelle recently posted..Happy

9 Jessica @ For the Fun of Fit June 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

I’m so excited to hear you are enjoying swimming and finding it less daunting. Even without training for a tri – swimming is awesome for cross-training! It’s my favorite – and I am perpetually jealous of your Floridian outdoor pool. That would definitely make swimming more enjoyable 🙂
Jessica @ For the Fun of Fit recently posted..Cycling and Chobani

10 Gina @Runningtothekitchen June 6, 2011 at 10:03 am

I kind of felt that way yesterday when I was doing my 3rd workout with NWOLFW too. Glad you pointed it out, I need to address that on my next workout tomorrow too.
btw- so jealous of your outdoor pool!
Gina @Runningtothekitchen recently posted..Ireland Day 6 &amp 7- Killarney

11 laura June 6, 2011 at 10:06 am

thats really great of courtney to help you, very sweet of her. how awesome are blends??

your breakfast looked delicious, seriously mouth watering.
laura recently posted..Party in your mouth

12 Holly @ The Runny Egg June 6, 2011 at 10:10 am

Great job on your workouts!

I’m with you — cereal and cold fruit is what I’ve been craving for breakfast lately!
Holly @ The Runny Egg recently posted..Friday Date Night

13 Angela@pinching and packing June 6, 2011 at 10:12 am

Thank you so much for posting your swimming workouts in so much detail! The boyfriend and I are training for our first tri in September. We really know NOTHING about swimming, so this info is so helpful! I am stealiung your workouts and cutting the lengths down. We aren’t quite ready for the HIM yet. Maybe some day.
Angela@pinching and packing recently posted..NYC on a Budget

14 Fit Chick Britt June 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

So excited for you to start HIM training and get to read all about it!! I totally agree swimming long distances seems so easy when you break it down 100 yds at a time.

15 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife June 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

I loooovvee focusing on weight training, and hate it when I zone out!

Great swim workout, lady! And I have been on a lemon/lime kick lately too….must be Summer or something? 😉

16 Victoria (District Chocoholic) June 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

Breaking up swim workouts is key…if I tried to do 5000 meters straight I would go insane. Nicely planned sets are essential – keep up the great work!

17 clare @ June 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

Sweet! Have fun on your journey to HIM!!! It’s amazing how short the 1900 meter swim is in comparison to the rest of the race. I remember thinking that the 35 min in the water was nothing compared to 3 1/2 hours on the bike, haha. Hopefully you have a good amount of open swim sessions planned as well because it is totes different from the pool 🙂 So fuN!!!
clare @ recently posted..Sprint Tri Prep

18 Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun June 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

Hooray for the official start to training! And for a great swim workout. I would need different styles of workouts to make it more interesting and motivating too. The breakdowns of it certainly make it sound like a motivating workout even though I have no clue what half of it means. LOL
Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun recently posted..Self-Love Reflection- Overcoming Binging

19 Holly @ Pink Runner June 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

You are amazing! Doing a half Ironman is a huge deal and you plan looks like you will be busy. Good luck with everything 🙂
Holly @ Pink Runner recently posted..Wedding and Sushi

20 Bee Goes Bananas June 6, 2011 at 11:15 am

That cereal looks delicious!!! I always crave cereal. It’s an addiction of mine. Something about a bowl of cereal topped with bright coloured berries just screams summer!

21 Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs June 6, 2011 at 11:54 am

Woo-hoo for starting your HIM Training!

Swimming intimates me that way that running use to. Maybe I’ll get there someday 🙂 Until then, I will read you posts and nod along as though I understand what you are talking about!
Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs recently posted..Menu- Workouts- &amp Daily Mile

22 Shannon June 6, 2011 at 11:58 am

I really like that swim workout. I am hitting the pool in a few hours to get my swim on 🙂
Shannon recently posted..Im Back!

23 Holly June 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Great workout! I’m a swimmer, but I agree that it can get kind of boring after a bit–having time goals keeps me interested. 🙂
Holly recently posted..Sunday Best

24 Heather June 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Have you been trying to eat less lately? It looks like you’ve been cutting back?

25 Ali @ Ali Runs June 6, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Congrats on your one day down!! Swimming has always been very intimidating to me-but I am hoping that this summer I can start swimming a little more and hopefully learn to enjoy it.
Ali @ Ali Runs recently posted..Buffalo Half Marathon Race Recap

26 Katy (The Singing Runner) June 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Woo hoo! Yay for day one! 🙂 Great job!
Katy (The Singing Runner) recently posted..Chicago Marathon 2011 Training Reflection- Week 11

27 Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio June 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Congratulations on your training… that’s fantastic! Day 1 is always exciting and scary but it looks like you’ve set yourself up for success! Yummy breakfast too!

28 Amy @ love4living June 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm

What a great pool your YMCA has! Do you know if a lot of the YMCA pools outdoors in So. Florida?
Amy @ love4living recently posted..Getting a clue and forgiving myself

29 Meghann June 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Every YMCA I know around here has an outdoor pool, but I can’t speak for all of south florida!

30 Laura June 6, 2011 at 5:17 pm

What do you constitute as a length? Just from one end of the pool to the other or there and back?

31 Meghann June 6, 2011 at 5:50 pm

A length is just from one end of the pool to another. I would consider there and back a lap

32 Samantha June 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm

This is a dumb question, but I know basically NOTHING about swimming, so I’m going to ask it anyway. When you say you swam 12 lengths of the pool and then rested, is one length swimming down and back? Or is one length just down to the other end once?
Samantha recently posted..Interval Love

33 Meghann June 6, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I say a length is from one end of the pool to the other. There and back would be a lap. 🙂

34 Pacer2Swim February 7, 2013 at 10:38 am

Have you ever tried the Pacer2Swim (

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