Workout I Did: Alternating 100s

Welcome to a new fun feature on the FBG blogs! Over the last year, we’ve heard from more and more readers that you’d like to know more about what workouts we do. A bit of it is just for curiosity’s sake, but a lot of it is so that when we do a good workout, we can share it and you can try it, too! Now, remember, we’re not giving individualized advice (see your doctor for that!) and—obviously—use your common sense, but here’s a workout we recently did and loved! Read them all and feel the workout love here!


I know, I know. It’s -40° where you are and every pool within 100 miles is frozen solid. I’m sorry. That super sucks. But here in Florida, although it’s getting down into the 30s here and there, many of our heated outdoor pools are still keeping up with the chilly temps, so as long as we can get from the locker room to the water without freezing solid, we’re still swimming.

(And if that weren’t the case, I’d hit the pool at my gym. But oh, it’s nice to get that extra time outdoors in the winter, you know?)

Anyway, you all know I love swimming, and I’m best at the shorter distances, so this swim workout focusing on pace recognition for 100s is right up my alley. And, to give proper credit, I have to thank my super swell coach, Patrick Billingsley.

Workout I Did: Alternating 100s in the Pool

Warm-up: This was my standard swim warm-up of 300 swim, 200 pull (with a pull buoy and paddles) and 100 kick. I followed that up with 2×50 build (starting out really slow and building speed so I’d finish each 50 at a hard effort), resting :10 in between.

Main Set: The point of this workout was to start with an interval that’s reasonably easy to hold and alternate with something that’s challenging. This really helps with both pace recognition and determining how much you have left in the tank when it counts. Last time I did this workout, my intervals were a little slower than I needed, so the times below reflect my plan for next time. This full workout was freestyle, but don’t worry—I’ll come back with one that has a little IM work in there one of these days. Promise.

  • 3 x 100’s on 1:55
  • 50 Easy
  • 3 x 100’s on 1:45
  • 50 Easy
  • 3 x 100’s on 1:55
  • 50 Easy
  • 3 x 100’s on 1:45

For those not familiar with reading swim workouts, here’s the skinny—when an interval is given (like 1:45), that means you swim whatever pace you want within that interval. If you go fast, then you get more rest. If you go slower, you might be turning back around as soon as you reach the wall. The idea is that there’s not a set amount of rest—it’s all dependent on you knowing what pace you need to go to get the rest you need. Make sense?

Cool down: 100 or so easy, mixing in some non-freestyle strokes.

This workout took me right around 50 minutes.

Next on my “Workout I Did” list? I’d put my money on a day at the track. In the meantime, though, do you have any favorite swimming workouts you’d like to share? —Kristen

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  1. So…. when you say 3x100s, is that 100 meters? So if your pool is 25 meters long, does that mean you swam 12 laps? But who can go 12 laps in under 1:55? Ok, I give up. What does that mean exactly? I swim for fitness but I’ve never been on a swim team.

  2. Emily says:

    25 meter pool, 100 meters is 4 laps. Time to accomplish each 100 meters – 1 min 55 seconds
    (Hope this helps)

  3. Beth B says:

    I’m fortunate to belong to a lap group that is directed by an instructor. We swim various strokes – freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, stream, kick board, pull buoy, medleys. It a great one hour workout. We meet twice a week and I also swim an additional hour a week on my own. I vary my strokes and swim for an hour. I usually get in about a mile and a quarter or 36 laps plus additional laps making up the hour.
    The group has three levels and quite a good age span. It’s my favorite exercise group and I make it a top priority.