Swim to Bike Booster

A swim-to-bike workout that will sharpen your performance in time for the race season? Here’s Emma-Kate Lidbury…


10min steady swim, building the pace.

Main session

4 x 5min swim [as 1min @ 70%/75%/80%/85% effort into 1min easy]. Exit water, remove wetsuit, begin cycling:
4 x 6min turbo [4mins as 1min @ 70%/75%/80%/85% effort into 2mins
easy spin].


5min easy spin on turbo.

Equipment needed

Wetsuit, tri-suit, hat, goggles, towel, bike, bike/tri shoes, glasses, energy drink/water, bike computer/power meter, turbo trainer.

Performance benefits

After doing this session you’ll have a much clearer idea of how it feels to transition from swim to bike. Learn to increase your leg kick as you end the swim and it will make the run to your bike – and subsequent cycling – feel significantly easier. As you build the effort through the turbo set, your legs should begin to feel stronger, preparing you for what you’ll experience on race day.

Mental benefits

For many newcomers to triathlon it’s the fear of the unknown that causes the most anxiety. There are few novices with experience of how it feels to switch from one sport to the next, so this session is ideal for easing those nerves. With preparation comes confidence, and with confidence comes success and enjoyment.

Physiological benefits

Too often, brick sessions are focused on bike to run workouts, but being able to smoothly move from swimming to cycling is just as important and should be integrated into training. This session gets you working up to your swim threshold, which is ideal race-day practice. You will then have to transition into a bike workout, which also takes you towards threshold pace. This session is ideal for novices with limited experience of going from swimming to cycling, and will allow your body to become accustomed to the different demands of the two sports.

How to fit it in

This is a fun session to do with others, so might be best suited to a Saturday or Sunday morning at your local lake/open-water swim venue, when several club mates can join in. It isn’t too intense so shouldn’t leave you in need of a recovery day afterwards.

Adapt for Ironman

Increase the length and/or frequency of the swim and bike intervals, doing them at Ironman race pace instead of building from 70-85% effort. Add a short run off the turbo set (15-20mins), building the pace every 5mins.