Alistair Brownlee's Triathlon Swimming Workout

Alistair Brownlee riding a bike
(Image credit: American Express)

The triathlon season may be over but Alistair Brownlee, Britain’s all-conquering triathlete, is already back in training, targeting his third ITU World Championships title.

Below he’s provided his current swimming training sessions that help him establish and then maintain his triathlon race pace. Try this workout in the comfort of an indoor pool over the winter so you’re ahead of the competition when the season begins next year.

How to find your race pace

“In training it’s really important to swim at different paces,” says Brownlee, 26. “It will help you find your race pace so you can cover the 1.5km swim of an Olympic triathlon efficiently without your bike and run suffering. I estimate mine to be about 70 seconds for every 100m but for a reader that will more likely be around 90 seconds. Use the pool clock and look at doing long swims 10 or 20 seconds above your race pace, constantly playing around with the pace.”

Brownlee’s Swimming Efficiency Workout

Warm-up with 200m at a gentle pace.

Swim 200m at 1min 40sec/100m pace
Swim 200m at 1min 50sec/100m pace
Swim 100m at 1min 30sec/100m pace (your race pace)

Repeat five times.

“Assess how quickly you recover and how out of breath you are at each speed and note it down once you’re out of the water. This will help you establish an even pace you can hold onto when you start the swim in competition and mean you know how hard you can push your speed for a sprint finish – that’s really important for triathlon.”

Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.