The Kona Edge recently hosted an online swim seminar featuring Richard Murray (Currently Ranked 4th in the ITU WTS rankings). This is a snippet of the hour long seminar featuring some of the sets that Richard believes will help you swim faster and improve your swimming endurance.


BRAD BROWN:  Lots of questions coming through. We’re going to be asking and answering questions throughout the night, so get those question in the chat bar. Richard, a question in, I think it’s from Deelie, Deelie was saying, what’s the top efficient swim workout to improve swim speed. If you’re trying to get faster, what would you suggest someone does as a swim workout to get faster in the water?

RICHARD MURRAY:  I think on the front of swim workouts, a lot of the time people do sets of 100’s, they’ll do sets of 50’s, they’ll even do sets of, they’ll do 25 fast, 25 easy and I think it also depends on your fitness levels. If you’re lacking on the endurance side of it and you’re more endurance speed, so you’ve got more slow fibre character or if you’re more a fast fibre character, when you do the 25’s and 50’s fast and that’s easy, you need to work on the other side. So it’s always working on your weaker part of your swimming. I find shorter rest as well, some of the times if you take shorter rests instead of swimming harder, you just take less rest, that helps with the duration speed, so you get used to swimming at a certain pace. Also what you can do, if you do a set of 10 x 50’s or 100 x 50’s or something like that, and you actually, you descend as you’re going, so literally you’re actually getting quicker towards the end and then from there you can actually do a type of pyramid set, where you actually build up towards the end of the set of the 50’s and then you actually build slightly back down, helping your technique along with, you’re actually getting that feel for the water and you can actually time it more correctly. It’s the same with running and the pacing, I think from that, Is also quite important.

Swim Set to Test Your Speed

BRAD BROWN:  I feel like such an under-achiever! A question from Marcus, you were talking about how you see gains and that in your training, particularly when you’re racing and in the middle of a season. Have you got a particular workout that you love, like as a marker, you said your favourite marker swim workout to test your fitness, if there’s something you do on a regular basis to see how you’re progressing and what is that workout, can you talk us through it?

RICHARD MURRAY:  Yeah, in previous years it used to be the, I wouldn’t say standard session, but I would say lead type session of 30 by 100 where I would descend each set. So it’s sets of 10, so I’d got 10-10-10 and then they would be at a certain speed. I would leave on 1:30, obviously if you’re not as fit or you’re struggling a tiny bit, you can leave at 1:35, say even on 1:40 range and then you could actually see, I would literally descend each set, that’s how I do most of the swims, most of the runs, even some of my bikes as well. I tend to start off a bit easier the first ones, then next set build into them a tiny bit more, holding that stroke and holding the controlled swimming and then the last set you can give it the horns and you can see what you’ve got.

I think that’s a good representation to actually see where you’re improving and over the weeks, something like that, or you could even do sets of 5 where you would do 5 x 100, 5 x 100, 5 x 100 and you can do something simple and similar like that and it’s also depending on what type of distance, whether you’re doing Olympic distance or if you’re doing sprint or you’re doing Ironman over the longer distance, you’re wanting to do longer, further reps to try and see the improvements because obviously Ironman it’s 70.3, the swim being much longer than [inaudible 0.43.10], something you want to try and get that duration and speed in for that duration.

BRAD BROWN:  Richard, you say you start at 1:30 and you drop down for those three sets, how much would you drop down from a pace perspective? 1:30 would be the first set, what would you do the second one at, what would you do the third one at?

RICHARD MURRAY:  So I probably try and drop it down by say 5 seconds, so I’ll start say 1:20 then I’d go 1:15 and then I’d try and hit 1:10, but ideally at the start of the season I need to try and be realistic, so I’ll make, you need to go on the feel. I think a lot of the people, we were once again talking about it at the Virgin Convention today that a lot of people have lost the feel, what does this feel like to you, is this say a 3 out of 10 or a 4 out of 10 and most people rely on devices to tell them actually how hard they’re going, the heart rate, minute to K, all that sort of stuff.

This one is easy moderate, this one is now moderate, this one is moderate hard and this one is hard and this one is, I will not live to see tomorrow! You need to weigh that up and start to teach your body where you are at what point


The Hardest Swim Set Richard Murray Swims

BRAD BROWN:  Awesome, Richard, Abel wants to know, what’s the hardest swim set you’ve ever done?

RICHARD MURRAY:  This is going to sound pretty sad compared to most people where people are doing a hundred by a hundred or something, they do a 10km swim set. I haven’t done anything as crazy as that. I try to regulate the training a little bit but I think the hardest one is when we do the send-off of 1:15 or send-off, even come towards 1:10, so we do sets of one hundreds and I think we did, the one session was 6 or 6.5km that we did. I just remember the block of training that we did where I did my biggest block this year and I did over three weeks and managed to just get 100km, which was record for myself. I did between 30-35km of swimming a week and I think it was, the main session was about 4.5km and it was a set of, I think the main set was 3 x 1 500 and it was broken up 500-500-500 and then the next was broken up, I think, into 300’s and the second one was broken up in to 200’s and 100’s.

Then we obviously descended when we went through, but we started off, let’s say the first 3 x 500, it was moderate, hard, hard, and then race pace and the we did the similar with the whole workout towards the end and obviously after about 3.5km you’re pretty knackered of swimming just under race pace and I think that was pretty hard and I think I still feel the hurt in my shoulders when I think about it.


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