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Your 12 Week Slateman Triathlon Swim Training Plan!

The Pedalcover Slateman Triathlon is very early in the season and the water will be cold, never above 12 degrees in May and often colder. This requires specific cold-water training and preparation before the event. 

Kit should comprise of a well fitted wetsuit, a thermal rash vest, neoprene swim cap or 2 silicone caps. Neoprene gloves and socks are a must. Perhaps consider ear plugs. 

You must be a confident pool swimmer and have learned well the components of cold water swimming. Most certainly the ability to acclimatise well on entering the water and for the first few minutes of an event. On entering the water be prepared for cold water shock, ‘the feeling of ‘ice-cream’ head. You might experience tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. The best way to do this is to swim from the autumn through the winter at least once a week. Enter slowly and calmly but keep moving! 

Ideally you will have built up to swimming a distance greater than the event itself (1500m) and have worked on technique during the winter period. As much of this as possible also completed in an open water lake similar to the event swim 

12 Week Pool Plan

Build up sets slowly and repeat this at least twice weekly in the pool: 

Week 1   -   100m x 15 + 30s rest interval

Week 2   -   150m x 10 + 30s rest interval 

Week 3   -   200m x 5  + 30s rest interval and 5 x 100m + 20s rest interval

Week 4   -   200m x 7 + 30s rest interval and 100 easy to finish

Week 5   -   300m x 5 + 30s rest interval 

Week 6   -   400m x 3 + 30s rest interval and 300m x 1 to finish 

Week 7   -   500m x 3 + 30s rest interval Build in some open water practice skill sets

Week 8   -   750m x 2 + 45s rest interval Build in some open water practice skill sets

Week 9   -   1000m x and 500m x 1 continuous. Build in some open water practice skill sets

Week 10 -   1200m x 1 continuous swim. 2 x 300m, one with handle paddles, one with pull buoy 

Week 11 -   1500m x 1 continuous swim with relaxed breathing. 

From February, practise open water skills in the pool. It’s is a must. Deep water starts, hypoxic breathing, drafting and swimming in groups and turning on buoys. At the earliest opportunity you should get in to the water and practise these skills outside for real. If this is as early as April the water temps will be extremely cold, usually well below 10 degrees. Find an accredited centre where group sessions are held early season and venues are supervised to do this safely.


This Pedalcover Slateman Triathlon swim plan was brought to you by Aqua Sphere ambassador Nikki Fletcher. Nikki is a Level 3 BTF Coach, Level 2 ASA Swim Teacher RLSS NRASTC and is fouder of the Sleaford Triathlon Club. For more information, visit tri3.co.uk.