During a new series here I’ll be posing a daily swim workout featuring 3 different levels of difficulty. You can mix and match as you feel free to get your best workout. Use these workouts to get in shape or to get ready for your first or 50th triathlon.

Today is a favorite workout type of mine: threshold.

Threshold is the pace where your body can keep up getting rid of all the lactic acid you’re clearing, but just barely. In other words, it’s a 4/5 kind of difficulty. This is your meat and potatoes getting ready for a sprint or olympic distance triathlon. Or you really want to challenge yourself to get stronger in the pool.

Beginner Set for today is 1500 meters (or yards)

Intermediate Threshold Swim Set is 2900 Meters

Warm Up:

400 as 75 free/25 non-free choice 

8×25 swim strides – accelerate through each length. 30 seconds rest

Main Set:

12×150 as 4 Threshold, 1 Stroke of Choice Easy Effort, 4 Threshold, 1 Stroke of Choice Easy Effort, 2 Threshold – Last One Should Be Your Fastest

Take 25 seconds rest between each interval.

150 Kick with Board

Cool Down

150 stroke of choice


Advanced Threshold Swim Set 5000 Meters

Warm Up:

800 as 75 free/25 non-free choice.

400 as 75 strong and smooth, 25 pick up the pace (not a sprint, but quick)

8×25 swim strides, accelerate through the effort 

Main Set: 

17 x 200 as

5 Threshold w/ 30 second rest, 1 IM w/ 30 Second Rest, 4 Threshold w/ 25 Second Rest, 1 IM w/ 30 Second Rest, 3 Threshold w/ 20 Second Rest, 1 IM w/ 30 Second Rest, 2 Threshold w/ 15 Second Rest

*IM efforts should be moderate, not fast, not easy.

100 Kick of Choice (back, board, side)

Cool Down

100 Free


After all these sets, make sure to spend time stretching out your upper body to prepare you for tomorrow’s set.


These workouts are based on workouts written by Olympic Triathlete Barb Lindquist. Learn more about coaching and how Barb can help you achieve your maximum potential at BarbLindquist.com