The Average Set Thread

loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
edited November 2012 in General Discussion
We've got the Animal Set Thread.

We've got the Lunchtime Set Thread.

So I guess we could use a thread for the sets in between, the ones most of us do, most of the time. Let's say one to two hours or 2.5 hours if you need, but it'll likely be more about distances, 3 to 7k.

It would be nice to build a repository of main sets for ourselves, rather than going elsewhere, for those who don't write their own sets.



  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    edited November 2012
    [Warm up]
    400 fist
    400 f/c e.z
    400 paddles
    200 b/c

    400 f/c 20 secs Rest Interval
    200 f/c 15 secs R.I.
    400 f/c 30 secs R.I.
    200 f/c 10 secs R.I.

    4 x 400s, descending as:

    [1] 400 x BASE 100 time,
    [2] 400 x BASE 100 time minus 10 secs
    [3] 400 x BASE 100 time minus 20 secs
    [4] 400 x BASE 100 time minus 40 secs

    60 secs R.I.

    4 x 100 BASE 100 time minus 10 secs

    400 b/c

    Total 5000m

    I stole a bit of this from @owenswims93 this morning.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Mem​ber
    Great Idea! I do so many 6000 pool swims alone in the winter that I get bored out of my mind sometimes. Can't wait to see what some of you are doing. As I think of good ones, I'll share, too. Thanks, @loneswimmer!
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    @loneswimmer, what is your definition of BASE? (sorry, on my iPod now; the forum has no search function that I can find when I'm viewing it on my iPod)

    Is it smthg like, the average time you can hold a 100 in the set 10x100???

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    @loneswimmer, I think I found it from @evmo in the lunchtime set.

    But just so I understand: if I swim 10x100 taking exactly :10 rest between each one (rest totaling :90) in 16:30, is my 100 BASE 1:39 (16:30/10)? or 1:30 ((16:30 minus :90)/10)?

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    @IRonmike, you are are the same speed, your Base speed is the repeat interval you are doing on the 10x100, so you are going on 1:39, (so finishing in 1:30 to 1:35). BASE is your repeat 100s standard time plus standard rest.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    This is SwimSmooth Paul Newsome's Red Mist set. 4/5k of heart-stopping anti-fun from his blog.

    For this you need to test your 400 and 200 metre best times. Do that on a different day.

    Then you work out your Critical Swim Speed, (CSS).
    Do this by dividing 200 by your time for your 400m, minus your time for 200m: {200/T400-T200}.
    That's your CSS in metres per second.
    Divide 100 by this to get your CSS time for 100m.

    You WILL need a warmup. Then the Red Mist is 10x400s descending

    4x400 at CSS plus 6 seconds per 100m,
    3x400 at CSS plus 5 seconds per 100m,
    2x400 at CSS plus 4 seconds per 100m,
    1x400 at CSS plus 3 seconds per 100m,

    + swim down.

    Ideally it's a rolling set, no break between each set of 400s. Do it once a week according to Paul and retest your 4000 & 200 m times each month and recalculate your CSS. Somedays it's possible, other days it's a very tough set and reminds me of @evmo's Fishburn set.

  • HtimsjHtimsj Member
    Check out
  • MvGMvG MauritiusCharter Member
    edited June 2013
    I am probably not the best example for varied training programs. But I often use a 'modular' training set both for my standard lunchtime or short morning 5k program and for 10, 15, or 20 km program, and it's simple to memorize and varied enough:

    2500 free - pause - 500 back +500 free + 500 back - pause - 1000 free.

    Obviously you need to include your sprint and more intensive interval trainings as well. But this is something that works for me, and it is easy to monitor progress (or not) as you will get to know your 2500 and 1000m times really well over time. The backstroke breaks up the boredom of freestyle only, & works on the biceps and forearms in direct support of your freestyle power.

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    Bumping this mainly for visibility to new members. Not every set (or even most), is an animal set. - See more at:

    Absolutely average sets: so average they are mundane.

    100, 200 & 400 variations of a base 100 time eg:

    30x100 on 1:40
    5x400 on 6:40 (same as 100m time)


    5x400 on 6:40
    10x200 on 3:20
    10x100 on 1:40


    50x100 on 1:40

    etc, etc etc

  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember
    I'm not sure if this is considered an average set or lunch-time set. Here is my usual Wendesday night workout. It's in a SCY pool.

    1x500 on 7:30 warm-up
    6x500 broken (200, 150, 100, 50)
    The swims are on 1:20 base/100 except for the 50. That is a little of a recovery swim on :50 I alternate doing each distance on the base time minus :05 as I work through each broken 500. The 1st time through the 200 is on 2:35. The 2nd time through the 150 is on 1:55 and the 3rd time through the 100 is on 1:15. The 4th time through I start again with the 200 on 2:35. My goal is to maintain a sustainable pace on the 1:20 based swims and work the minus :05 swims trying to descend the 2nd one from the 1st one.

    I take a about a minute rest and then go right into a set of:

    10x75 2 on 1:05, 2 on 1:00, 2 on :55, 2 on 1:00 and 2 on 1:05
    10x50 2 on :45, 2 on :40, 1 on :35, 2 on :40, 2 on :45

    At least a 100 cool down, but usually a 200.

    4800 yds with a 100 cool down
    4900 yds with a 200 cool down.
  • Totallty avg. set.. and not stating intervals cuz I am getting intimidated w GTswim's intervals.
    600 warm up** mixing it up w s/k/p
    6x50 at pace.. whatever your pace is..
    5x100 on your slow interval..
    k-100 p100( I try to switch up my kicking and try to work on my alternate breathing on the pulling. If you want to pad the yardage do 200's.
    S 5x100 - taking 5 sec off your initial interval
    S 5x100 taking ANOTHER 5 sec off
    and so on.
    I like this because I usually get faster the shorter the interval and I KNOW I can count to five no matter what.
    I like the mixing in of kicking and pulling, it helps refresh things.
    It can be adapted to 3x100 if you are seriously pressed for time and you can jack up the 100's to 10 if you want to drag it out to an "animal set".
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    @loneswimmer - I like the "red Mist" set you published above, however, the equation written "{200/T400-T200}" can't be right as it gives an incorrect dimensional analysis result for m/s. Did you mean "{200/(T400-T200)}"?

    Just want to be sure I'm not missing something.


    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • Today- 6500-although my math may be a little off.
    w/up 3x 100 SKP x3 =900
    100 IM drill
    here's where I need it written down.. my brain just doesn't "take in aurally"
    4 3x50 kick descend 1-3--
    4x25 drill/hypoxic/drill/hypoxic and the piece de resisitance..
    3x100-- your first go round pick an interval that you can BARELY make (1.35 for me) and repeat this whole thing 3 times. Each time you get to the hundreds.. you ... INCREASE the interval by 5 sec... but you are trying to go faster.
    Some other stuff I forgot...
    then --21x50- done in sets of 3 --- 2x50 stroke.. on a short interval and then 1x50 free on the 60. repeat...!
    Last bit-- 50 pull 2x25 kick HARD.. 100 pull 2x25 kick HARD 150 pull 2x 25kick HARD..200pull 2x25 kick hard. The pulling is supposed to get faster...but by this time I was doing open turns.
    Nice mix.. and pleased as punch w 2.5 hours of SWIMMING

    :) :)
  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember
    I did this set the last two Sundays.

    1000 warm-up (500 choice and 500 of a structure set. Today we did 4x125)
    Main Set

    Pick a base time per 100 that you can comfortably make allowing for about :10 seconds rest. The long swims (500,400,300,200,100) are on the base time.

    The 5x100s are on:
    1st 100 base minus:10
    2nd 100 base plus :10
    3rd 100 base minus :05
    4th 100 base plus :05
    5th 100 base

    I used the base plus :10 and :05 as recovery swims and try to hold the same pace for everything else. Lots of rest to start on the long swims and not much rest by the last 5x100.
  • SylleSylle SwedenMember
    My current favourite set, super easy to remember, combines stroke and speed work:

    2x200 IM @ 4:00
    6x100 f/c @ 2:00 (trying to hold under 1:20)

    Repeat as many times as you want (I tend to do three these days) and lower the intervals for the 100s each time (i.e. 2:00 - 1:50 - 1:40 or 2:00 - 1:55 - 1:50 - etc. if you want more than 3 or 4k), trying to keep the same speed.
  • swimchica623swimchica623 Member
    edited February 2014
    I really liked this main set the other day:

    3x200s @ 2:30
    200 fly @ 4:00
    1min rest, repeat 4 times for a totaly of 16x200s

    Complete the workout with whatever more completes your weekday workouts are about 2 hours. I did this a week or two ago so honestly I forget everything but the main set now! Typically would start with a 600 free and 600-800 drill set then some pre-set of 50s or so for another 2000-3000 before the main set.

    Later in the week was 12x200s on 2:40, which is more on my base interval of for this workout you need to go faster than your base interval to the point you feel like you are dying at the end of the 3x200s!
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    I keep expecting to come here and get an average set. But 200 on 2:30? Jeez Louise. ;)

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • Lol, it was HARD. That is why I added the other set (which you could also do but it lacks the originality!). Lots of 200s on 2:40 is my "cruising" set. We actually did a TON of 100s on 1:20 Sunday the day after a 7 mile OW swim and I thought I was going to DIE, not cruise, but typically...yeah.
    2:30 (1:15 pace) could only be maintained for 3x200s. I got less than 3 seconds of rest between and was pretty much going all out for the span of a 600, then a 200 that was hard in its own right, and the entire set was it was a good night!
  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    I do my 200s (SCM) on 3:30 and am terribly excited when I get :10 rest, which normally only occurs with the first one. After that, it is really just a bunch of 200s with :01-:02 between them. ;)

    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • I'm a very average swimmer, so naturally this will be a very average set.

    LC 50m pool

    2 x (50 free, 50 breast)
    400 pull
    400 free
    flippers on
    2x50 6/3/6 head to side
    2x50 6/3/6 head down
    2x50 one-arm free (left for 50, right for 50) - breathe to stroking arm
    2x50 one-arm free (left for 50, right for 50) - breathe opposite to stroking arm
    2x50 fists

    10x100 free on 2:00 (coming in currently ~ 1:38)
    50 back, 50 breast recovery
    10x 50 free on 1:00 (coming in ~ 0:48)
    50 back, 50 breast recovery
    4 x (400 free (last 2 often pull) on 8:00, coming in ~ 7:00, then 50 back, 50 breast recovery)

    5200m and ~ 2hrs for me.

    Sometimes I'll make the 100's and 50's more "sprint" than "endurance".
    i.e. 100's on 2:30 coming in ~1:30, 50's on 1:30 coming in on ~0:43
  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    As winter in the northern hemisphere approaches, and some of us are spending more time in pools, it's time to bump the Average Set Thread.

    Any new average sets to share?
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member
    500 warm up (every 4th length back)

    I use a base 1:30 interval all the way through (no extra stops!) and try to swim faster as the distances get shorter.

    500-1000 cool down, alternating back/free by 100

    Hmmm...I think I'll do this one today!

    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember
    It's boring, but definitely an average set.

    500 warm-up

    We did the distances ending in 00 on base. The 75 ending swims on base + :15, the 50 ending swims on base + :10 and the 25 ending swims on base +:05

    Total distance is 5250, unless you miscount the 475 and do a 525 instead.
  • I do a ton of pool swimming, what with work, cold temps and not living right on the water, so I'll start posting more of my practices, but this is a typical ~5000 scy practice. I'm leaving out interval times since everyone is different and just putting in the effort.

    600 free
    200 pull
    200 kick

    Drill/stroke set
    5x100 IM (fly, back, breast, free or any stroke but freestyle except the last 25), moderate effort
    5x100 free - alternate 25 easy drill, 25 all out sprint
    4x50 stroke - 25 drill, 25 sprint

    Main Set
    800 at pace
    2x400, negative split 800 so the second 400 is faster than the first
    4x200, descend time for each
    4x100, all sprints, ~10-15 seconds rest

    Cool down
    200 - 400, choice
  • Another regular swim I do, which can be made average or animal, depending on how many times you repeat the main set.

    Warm up
    400 free
    2x200 free, pace
    4x50, fast

    Drill set
    3x200 with fins - 50 flutter kick on side, 100 drill, 50 dolphin kick on back with ~5 sec rest between each
    3x200 stroke of choice, 75 swim easy/25 drill/75 fast, 25 drill easy ~10 sec rest between each

    Main Set (repeat as many times as you want. Each one works out to be 2000)
    1x1000, increase speed each 200 to sprint ~10 to 20 sec rest
    1x400 pace ~10 sec rest
    2x200 fast
    4x50, descend speed on each one to all out sprint

    Cool down

    To turn it into an Animal set, I usually make it 4x1000, 4x400, 4x200, 4x50 and then repeat until I am questioning my life choices.
  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember
    Did this yesterday, 6000yds total.

    500 warm-up

    On the sets of even repeats take off one slow repeat and start with slow repeat. On the sets of odd repeats take off one fast repeat but start with the fast repeat. The pattern would look like:

    10x100 2 on base +10, 2 on base +5, 2 on base, 2 on base -5, 2 on base -10
    9x100 1 on base -10, 2 on base -5, 2 on base, 2 on base +5, 2 on base +10
    8x100 1 on base +10, 2 on base +5, 2 on base, 2 on base -5, 1 on base -10
    7x100 2 on base -5, 2 on base, 2 on base +5, 1 on base +10
    6x100 2 on base +5, 2 on base, 2 on base -5
    5x100 1 on base -5, 2 on base, 2 on base +5
    4x100 1 on base +5, 2 on base, 1 on base -5
    3x100 2 on base, 1 on base +5
    2x100 2 on base
    1x100 1 on base

    The 100s average out to base when finished. We did the last 3 100s to just make the interval as a warm-down and did an easy 50 after the 6x100 and 4x100.
  • dtatdtat Saskatchewan, CanadaMember

    I don't have access to a pool, so all of my training this summer has to be done in open water (training for a 10K). I was just wondering if anyone has any workouts that are similar in intensity/build of a pool workout, but do-able in open water? I enjoy the framework a pool workout provides, but I have a difficult time translating that to something in the lake (I usually just end up doing a steady swim for distance). Thanks!

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    @dtat, you may find something like this somewhere else, but here's what I did during a wonderful 2-week-long business trip to the east coast of FL:

    I found a spot near my hotel on google maps that was 1km long (between two big, easy-to-spot buildings). Depending upon the day, I would swim a few laps of that 1km. While swimming, I would increase stroke rate for 100 strokes, then decrease it for 100, then increase for 90, decrease for 90, and so on until I'm doing 10-10, then I'd build back up, 10-10; 20-20 up to 100-100. That was a good workout for me. I would generally do that after I did one of the 1km straight-aways, then at the end I'd cool down by finishing whatever 1km I was on.

    As I'm a horrible bilateral breather, I'd throw in some "sets" of bilateral breathing, or even more appropriate for OW, depending upon which direction of that 1km I was doing, I'd breath all left or all right (always breathing to the beach) per 1km.

    I also used the OW to practice skills like flipping over on my back and fixing my goggles without losing too much forward momentum.

    Have fun and count yourself lucky you've got access to OW. No flip-turns!


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • HollyTHollyT Member

    glad that this thread got bumped. I have something new for tomorrow's early swim. woot!

  • dtatdtat Saskatchewan, CanadaMember

    Thanks so much! I did that set last night, and then this morning I did 100 fast-90 slow-80fast -70 slow… and back up (three times through). I used the tempo trainer for it- and just ignored it for the recoveries. Worked well!

    So I've got a workout for increasing my stroke rate. Any ideas on something to work on DPS? A pool works so well for this, but I'm really struggling to think of something measurable and objective for open water training.

  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber

    This may be a repeat..
    W/up 200 S 100K 200P
    16x25 IM order 100K
    8x50 hypoxic( breathing every 2, every 3 every 4 every 5 and repeat) 100K
    4x100 on your interval 100K
    That's 2K right there and you can easily do any or all of the sets again as they conveniently add up to 500.

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Mem​ber
    edited May 2015

    Here's my go-to set lately. It's 4000 yards, so you can add warm up/warm down or a few other sets as you wish to finish out your workout:

    2 times through:

    2 x 500 pull

    5 x 200 swim, descend

    I usually do the 500s on the same interval and maintain a solid pace for both rounds. I then chop off either 5 seconds or 10 seconds from the 2nd set of 200s, depending on how I'm feeling. You could also easily mix in some IM or stroke in the 200s if you wanted. (I don't usually want!)

    It's a quick 4000- goes by fast, I swear!

  • ChrisgreeneChrisgreene Mercersburg PA/Atlanta, GAMember

    My favorite is my "own water pool" swim. I start out in the lane closest the leisure part of the pool, dive under the rope separating lap and leisure take the long loop around the leisure section and return to my lane for a flip turn and repeat. Makes for about a 175 meter loop (based on stroke count) Far fewer turns and more fun than 2 to 3 hours of lap swimming. Has to be done early morning before any leisure swimmers are out there.

  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber

    I love this idea! I have the luxury of being able to swim in a n 18 lane 25 scy pool that is very infrequently full. I have often thought of a "tour de pool" as a warm up... one length in each lane..

  • CharlieDoSurfCharlieDoSurf Member
    edited December 2015

    Pool tested this one the other day, slept hard after.

    Total: 4k

    Warm Up:
    500 -- swim
    400 -- pull
    300 -- Kick
    200 -- Medley
    100 -- Skull


    300 -- Kick/ Drill/ Swim (4x 25 kick 25 drill 25 swim --OR-- 2x 50 kick 50 drill 50 swim)

    Main Set

    5 x 400 -- 100 hard 300 easy (+ rate each 100)

    Cool Down:


  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber

    I just did this yesterday and loved it!
    Warm up 200S100K 200P
    4x25 pull-hypoxic ( for me that's breathing on the right side and a 50 swim- the swim is on the 1 min.
    200 IM Kick
    8x100 on X
    100K 100P
    4x 100 on X-5
    50K 50 P
    2x100 on X-10
    4x25 drill
    100 K backstroke

  • gtswimgtswim PennsylvaniaMember

    This ended up being a good workout. I felt strong and fast during the workout and in that "good" exhaustion phase afterwards. Total distance is 5100 yds.

    500 Warm up
    4 rounds of
    Get drink of water, reset clock
    4 rounds of:
    Get drink of water, reset clock
    4 rounds of:
    Get drink of water, reset clock
    Last set (worked into the cool down as noted below):

    All long swims were on a base interval
    All short swims were on a base +5 interval
    The last round of each was all base interval

    The last set I did the 1st 100 and 1st 75 on base intervals, the other 100s and 75s on base +5 intervals, 2x50 on base +5 intervals, 2x50 on base +10 intervals and the 25s on base +10 intervals.

  • MLambyMLamby Senior Member
    edited December 2021

    My average set.....Put fat ass in the water...swim 2 to 4 miles....6 on rare occasion at 1.8 to 2 miles per hour. Drink a shaker of Ovaltine as a reward....Pull fat ass out of the water. :)

  • One day( week) 1 or 2km easy!
    Next 2 or 3km easy!
    If i can swim 6 or 7 days on week!
    After one month start swim 5km easy and sometimes 7 or 8km one time in week!
    Feels so good! Swim and dream!
    Slow free swim is my top set!
    If i have luck to swim ow marathon including for 1-1.5 months some speed and more km! But only for max 1.5 km and only if swim is more 10km!
    My favorite is something 30km.but wanna diferents water!
    Then start swim more crazy( if have time)
    Like: 100×100free
    5( 1000easy-5×200fast)
    Or this like so much( i try this summer 22× 1000m-one slow and one fast)
    My favorite distans for speed is 200 and top 400m!
    But how sey so many times in my post feel best and strong when swim slow and like 5 or 7kn in pool for 1months!
    I swim only in 25m pool with 28tempC! Spa!)))
    All the best to all
    Happy and health new 2022!

  • big_colbig_col Australia New Member

    Thanks for all the sets! Great inspiration. Here is are a couple of average sets - one for the LC pool and one for the SC pool that I break out from time to time. I am lucky that my aquatic centre has two pools to pick from so depending what my focus is in a way dictates my pool choice.

    My "just get it done" set
    LC pool
    2 x through the following (first time is freestyle stroke and second time is paddles pull)
    400 on a 6:30 rpt
    8 x 50 on :60 rpt
    1:00 rest
    400 on 6:15 rpt
    8 x 50 on alternating :60/:50 rpt
    1 rest
    400 on 6:00 rpt
    8 x 50 on :50
    Total: 4800m

    My "short & sharp pace change" set
    SC pool
    200 SKIPS Warm Up
    (200 Swim, 200 Kick, 200 IM, 200 Pull, 200 Swim)

    Main Set
    4 x 50 Fr descend 1 to 4 on :60 rpt starting at 5/10 effort
    200 holding the pace from the 1st 50 from the descend (I could do this all day pace)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 Fr descend 1 to 4 on :60 rpt starting at 5/10 effort
    200 holding the pace from the 2nd 50 from the descend (This is called comfortably quick pace)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 Fr descend 1 to 4 on :60 rpt starting at 5/10 effort
    200 holding the pace from the 3rd 50 from the descend (This is called uncomfortably quick pace)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 Fr descend 1 to 4 on :60 starting at 5/10 effort
    200 holding the pace from the 4th 50 from the descend (This one really hurts pace)
    1:00 rest
    400 Free paddles pull on 6:00 holding CSS

    Warm Down
    200 scull/swim alt by 25

    Total: 3200m

  • A nice 5km-ish set I like to do, in either a 25m or 33 1/3 m pool:

    1000 as swim (75 fr/25bk or 66 fr/33 bk)
    800 as 8x100 kick (fins) @ 1.35
    600 as 3 x 200 pull (paddles optional) @3.10
    400 as 4x (50 kick, 50 swim) @1.45 or 3x (66 kick, 66 swim) @ 2.10 w/fins
    200 pull with paddles
    100 easy swimming

    2 x (50 - 100 - 150 - 200 - 200 - 150 - 100 - 50) on .50, 1.40, 2.30, 3.20
    Round 1 is a strong cruise
    Round 2 is stronger

    In the 33 1/3 metre pool I'd do this as
    2x(66-133-133-200-200-133-133-66) on 1.05, 2.10, 3.20 ...

    200 cool down

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