Training

Two-mile pool training plan

If you're planning to train for the Swim Serpentine two-mile event in a 25m pool, you'll need to complete 128 lengths (3,200m) to cover the distance.

There are a variety of training sessions and skills sets for you to try below, but if you're new to swimming, or are looking to improve, it's a great idea to find out if there are any adult swimming sessions in your pool, perhaps a triathlon club or ‘Masters’ training session. These sessions are often welcoming and a great way to progress quickly. Often they also have a swimming coach on the pool side to provide set sessions for you, which can help with your technique and fitness.

A swimming session should consist of a Warm up, Main Set, Contrast Set and Warm Down:

  • Warm up: Gradually warm up your arms and lungs as you increase your pace over some short distances.
  • Main Set: Typically a target distance broken down into shorter distances with short recovery times to help you work on your pace. For example: the target may be 1,000 metres, so a simple session would be to swim 10 x 100 metres with one-minute rest between each four lengths (in a 25m pool). This way you can swim faster for the duration of the 100 metres than you would be able to over a straight 1,000m swim.
  • Contrast Set: After a main session the contrast set throws in some drills with perhaps some kick or stroke work.
  • Warm down:  A reverse of the Warm up, reduce your speed and think about technique.

At other times you may go into the pool to complete a long-distance swim – for example, to swim one mile non-stop and time yourself.

You can try the following sample sets and drill suggestions to train for the Swim Serpentine two-mile event. (You can also check out the one-mile training sets here.)

Sample main sets for two-mile swims include:

PACE SET
Warm up 200-400m
Main set 25m relaxed, 25m at a faster pace, 50m relaxed, 50m at pace, 75m relaxed, 75m at pace, 100m relaxed, 100m at pace, followed by 1 minute rest
  25m relaxed, 25m at pace, 10 seconds rest, 50m relaxed, 50m at pace, 15 seconds rest, 75m relaxed, 75m at pace, 20 seconds rest, 100m relaxed, 100m at pace, 1 minute rest
  25m relaxed, 10 sec rest, 25m at pace, 10 sec rest, 50m relaxed, 15 sec rest, 50m at pace, 15 sec rest, 75m relaxed, 20 sec rest, 75m at pace, 20 sec rest, 100 m relaxed, 30 sec rest, 100m at pace
  25m relaxed, 25m at a faster pace, 50m relaxed, 50m at pace, 75m relaxed, 75m at pace, 100m relaxed, 100m at pace
  Total distance: 2,000m
Contrast set 8 x 50m as 25m drill, 25m kick, (you can do arms in front with short breast pull to breathe) 10 sec rest. Make sure you try sighting during your drills
Warm down 200m swim down
PYRAMID SET
Warm up 150m any stroke then 50m drill, then 150m any stroke and another 50m drill
Main set Swim 100m, 15 sec rest, swim 200m, 15 sec rest, swim 300m, 15 sec rest, swim 400m, 15 sec rest, swim 300m, 15 sec rest, swim 200m, 15 sec rest, swim 100m
  On the way up the pyramid, aim to sight on every fourth length. On the way down the pyramid, sight on the first length of each swim segment
  Total distance: 1,600m
Contrast set 4 x 25m drill (fists) work on feel of water, 10 sec rest
  4 x 50m as 25m drill, 25m swim relaxed, followed by 10 sec rest
Warm down 200m swim down
MEGA MAIN SET
Warm up Swim 200m-400m
Main set Swim 50m, 10 sec rest, swim 50m, 15 sec rest, swim 50m, 20 sec rest, swim 50m, 30 sec rest. As you get more rest between segments, try to swim faster
  Swim 100m, 10 sec rest, swim 100m, 15 sec rest, swim 100m, 20 sec rest, swim 100m, 30 sec rest
  Swim 150m, 10 sec rest, swim 150m, 15 sec rest, swim 150m, 20 sec rest, swim 150m, 30 sec rest
  Swim 200m, 10 sec rest, swim 200m, 15 sec rest, swim 200m, 20 sec rest, swim 200m, 30 sec rest
  Swim 150m, 10 sec rest, swim 150m, 15 sec rest, swim 150m, 20 sec rest, swim 150m, 30 sec rest
  Swim 100m, 10 sec rest, swim 100m, 15 sec rest, swim 100m, 20 sec rest, swim 100m, 30 sec rest
  Swim 50m, 10 sec rest, swim 50m, 15 sec rest, swim 50m, 20 sec rest, swim 50m, 30 sec rest
  Total distance: 3,200m set = two miles
Contrast set 200m kick
Warm down 200m swim down
TIMED SWIM
Warm up Swim 300m with 100m kick drill
Main set Time a mile of continuous swimming (1,600 m) then rest for two minutes and time another mile. Try to swim the same mile in the same time as – or faster than – the first mile
Contrast set 25m kick drill, 25m drill, 25 swim, 10 sec rest. Repeat three more times
Warm down 200m swim down
BROKEN SWIMS (PACING)
Warm up Swim 200m
Main set 10 x 200m as follows:
  200m broken – stop after 100m for 10 sec rest then try do second 100m faster than first 100m, followed by 30 sec rest. Repeat once
  200m broken – stop after each 50m for 5 sec rest, trying to get faster each 50m, followed by 30 sec rest. Repeat once
  200m broken – stop after 150m for 10 sec rest then try to swim the last as fast as you can. Repeat once
  200m broken – stop for 5 sec rest after each 25m, followed by 30 sec rest. Repeat once
 Contrast set 100m relaxed swim using another stroke
  100m kick
  100m drill
Warm down 100m relaxed swim