Triathlon Swim Workouts for Beginners: Improve Your Performance

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Triathlon swimming can be a daunting challenge for beginners, but with the right swim workouts, you can enhance your performance and build the necessary skills to conquer the open water.


In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with expert tips and a range of triathlon swim workouts specifically designed for beginners.


Whether you are aiming to complete your first triathlon or simply want to improve your swimming abilities, this article will equip you with the knowledge and training routines to excel in the water.

Table of Contents

Why Triathlon Swim Workouts Matter

Triathlon swim workouts are essential for several reasons. Not only do they help you develop the necessary swimming technique and endurance, but they also simulate race-like conditions, preparing you mentally for the challenges of open-water swimming.


By incorporating structured workouts into your training regimen, you can optimise your performance, enhance your cardiovascular fitness, and build confidence in the water.

Getting Started: Essential Swim Gear

Before diving into the triathlon swim workouts, it’s important to ensure you have the right gear. Here are some essential items you’ll need:

1. Swim Cap

A swim cap helps reduce drag and keeps your hair out of your face while swimming. It also adds an extra layer of insulation, keeping your head warm in colder water.

2. Goggles

Invest in a good pair of goggles that fit comfortably and provide clear vision underwater. Anti-fog lenses are recommended to prevent fogging during your workouts.

3. SwimSuit

Choose a well-fitting, streamlined swimsuit that allows for freedom of movement. Opt for a one-piece suit for ladies or “jammers” for men, as they offer reduced drag compared to baggy swim trunks.

4. Wetsuit (optional)

In open-water triathlons, wetsuits are often permitted. They provide buoyancy and insulation, enhancing your performance and keeping you warm. Make sure to check the specific rules and regulations of your race before purchasing a wetsuit.

Triathlon Swim Workouts for Beginners

Warm-Up: Technique and Mobility

Before diving into the main sets, a thorough warm-up is crucial. It prepares your body for the upcoming workout and helps prevent injuries. Here’s a warm-up routine to get you started:

  1. Arm Swings – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Swing your arms back and forth, gradually increasing the range of motion. Perform 10 swings forward and 10 swings backwards.
  2. Shoulder Rolls – Stand tall with your arms relaxed at your sides. Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion for 10 repetitions, then reverse the direction for another 10 repetitions.
  3. Neck Rotations – Gently rotate your neck in clockwise and counterclockwise circles, aiming for a full range of motion. Perform 5 rotations in each direction.
  4. High Knees – Jog in place while lifting your knees up towards your chest. Continue for 1 minute to elevate your heart rate and warm up your leg muscles.
  5. Arm Circles – Extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Make small circles with your arms, gradually increasing the size. Perform 10 circles forward and 10 circles backwards.

Main Sets: Building Endurance and Technique

The main sets of your triathlon swim workouts focus on improving endurance and refining your swim technique. Incorporate these workouts into your training routine:

  1. Distance Swim – Swim continuously for a predetermined distance, such as 200 meters or 400 meters. Focus on maintaining a steady pace and smooth stroke technique throughout the swim.
  2. Interval Training – Divide your swim into intervals, alternating between fast-paced swimming and recovery periods. For example, swim 100 meters at a challenging pace, followed by 30 seconds of easy swimming to recover. Repeat this cycle for a total of 10 sets.
  3. Drills – Incorporate specific drills to improve different aspects of your swim technique. Examples include kickboard drills to enhance leg strength and balance, catch-up drills to synchronize your arm movements, and finger-drag drills to improve stroke efficiency.
  4. Open Water Simulation – If possible, practice swimming in open water conditions to familiarize yourself with the challenges you may face during a triathlon. This could include swimming in a lake or the ocean, navigating around buoys, and sighting techniques to stay on course.

Cool Down: Active Recovery

After completing the main sets, it’s important to cool down properly. The cool-down phase helps your body recover and reduces the risk of muscle soreness. Here’s a simple cool-down routine to follow:

  1. Easy Swim – Swim at a relaxed pace for 5-10 minutes, allowing your heart rate to gradually return to normal.
  2. Stretching – Perform gentle stretches focusing on your shoulders, back, chest, and legs. Hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds without bouncing.


With the comprehensive triathlon swim workouts provided in this article, you can significantly improve your swimming abilities as a beginner.

Remember to prioritise technique, gradually increase your training intensity, and always listen to your body.

Consistency is key, so aim to incorporate these workouts into your training routine regularly. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle your triathlon swimming leg with confidence and achieve your personal best.

Happy swimming and good luck with your triathlon journey!

Note: Always consult with a professional coach or trainer before starting any new exercise regimen to ensure it aligns with your specific needs and abilities.

Coach Shamus

At the heart of MultiSportCoaching is Coach Shamus, a seasoned athlete and experienced coach with a passion for helping others achieve their goals. With over 25 years of experience in coaching athletes of all levels, Coach Shamus has the knowledge and expertise to help you reach your full potential.
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