Some days we just swim really easy. Today was not one of those days.
I know some people think swimming is boring or whatever but I promise you, if you're paying really close attention to splits and changing up your effort to try to hit different paces, swimming can be every bit as fun as a track workout. :)
Given that we're training for a 7K swim, our key days are at least 4K right now. Here's what we did today. Can modify/shorten it if you're looking to do a good quality swim workout but are training for something shorter... (And if you're one of my athletes maybe you saw a version of this on your calendar this week!)
1500 straight swim with paddles/bands/buoy. First 500 easy then descend the 500's from there. Take ~15" off each 500 (~3"/100) so you're finishing at a solid effort last 500. (And yes, I was checking my watch during flip turns so I knew my pace each 100.)
5 x 300's where the first 200 is steady effort (t-pace +3-4") and the final 100 is @t-pace (which feels hard at the end of a 300). Pick a send-off interval that gives you ~20" rest and repeat! If there's not 3-4" difference in pace between your first 100's and you last 100, you're going too fast on the 200. Slow it down so there's a difference in PACE, not just effort. Check your split at the 200 to make sure you're hitting the right paces.
2 x (100 fast, 2 x 150's moderate effort, 100 fast!) rest 1' between sets. Think of these as broken 500's. Interval for the first 100 is t-pace, so you have to swim faster than t-pace to even make the send-off (it's really touch-n-go), then the 150's settle into moderate effort but again, keep the interval tight so not much rest at the wall- like 10". We went on t-pace +10" for those. The 'rest' is more like active recovery during the 150's. Then you don't get much rest going into that final 100 so it's time to dig and get under t-pace again.
100 c/d easy. Finally. You get to go easy. And you get to stop thinking. :)