Training Plans

Download our training plan to get you 1 mile ready in 12 weeks. It’s suitable for any stroke and any speed.

The training plan is based on three blocks of four weeks, where the swim distance & time required for the main session increases for each block. Each week there are 2 core swim sessions and an optional third session. Sessions 1 & 2 are based on building endurance and developing speed, and session 3 is a steady recovery swim where you can concentrate on swim technique or swimming continuously.

The 1 mile distance (1,609 metres) is equivalent to 64 lengths of a standard 25m pool. As a guide you should be able to swim 400m (16 lengths of 25m pool) continuously before starting the plan.

  Download the training plan


Before you start

  • Have a goal. Do you just want to be able to complete 1 mile? Do you want to improve your time? Do you want to swim front crawl for the whole mile? Write it down - this will help to provide a focus and keep you motivated
  • Make a commitment to swim regularly – 3 times a week is ideal but don’t worry if other commitments prevent you from missing occasional sessions
  • Try to avoid swimming on consecutive days if possible to allow time to recover particularly as you build your swim fitness
  • Try to swim for 30 minutes + per session to build stamina. Shorter swims (particularly if you haven’t swum for a long time or if you have limited time) can still be effective if they are focussed
  • If you fall ill or are injured, take the time to recover properly. When ready to return to the pool, don’t try to pick up immediately from where you left off – use the first 2 or 3 sessions to swim steadily, increase time / distance and get back the “feel” for the water
  • Try to avoid always swimming the same stroke. Incorporating other strokes can help reduce boredom, improve your general swimming skills and help build confidence. The warm up, swim down and recovery swims are good opportunities to introduce other strokes
  • Training with a partner or group, even if only occasionally, can help keep you motivated



  • Warm-up and cool down – add 3 to 5 minutes before and after your main session to get properly warmed up or cooled down. This time should be used to slowly increase / decrease your heart rate and should not be focussed on speed
  • Take a water bottle with you to the side of the pool and make sure you stay hydrated throughout your session
  • If you’d like to track your progress there are plenty of smart watches suitable for pool and open water swimming
  • Remember to fuel up before and after your swim. However, ensure you leave a reasonable amount of time after eating before getting into the water


Open water training

If you are able to, it would be beneficial to plan at least one open water training swim prior to your Great Swim event, so that you are acclimatised to swimming outdoors. You will notice that your swim speed may be significantly faster when wearing a wetsuit!

During an open water training swim you should practise the following:

  • Sighting
    • Practice lifting your head out of the water to gauge the direction you are swimming
    • Use a marker buoy or similar to practice this
  • Swimming next to other swimmers
    • If possible, practice swimming closeby to other swimmers whilst maintaining your direction & normal breathing
  • Swimming around buoys
    • Practise doing left, right & U turns around marker buoys