Swimming Training Stress Score And Tracking Your Swim Fitness

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We've just released a new video by our Head Coach Paul Newsome explaining how to use the Swim Smooth Guru to track your swimming fitness as you train and make intelligent choices about when to train, how much to train and when you just need to put your feet up and take a good solid rest!

If you've used a fitness model with a power meter on the bike this is a very similar concept. For every swim session that you tick off from a Guru training plan or enter manually, the Guru calculates a single number representing the training value of that session - "Swimming Training Stress Score" or sTSS for short*.

The Guru then analyses all your training to model your fitness and fatigue levels over time, allowing you to see what training is making the difference, how to improve versus previous years and when you are over-training:

Watch the new video explaining how this works:

The Swim Smooth Guru

The Guru is our intelligent coaching system to improve all aspects of your swimming from stroke correction to training plans to open water and racing skills. The Fitness Tracker (you can find it here in the Guru) is just one of many powerful features within the training area of the system.

You need a PRO license to use the Fitness Tracker and sTSS calculator. Signup today without any tie-in at:


If you are a Standard version subscriber you can change to PRO here:


Swim Smooth!

* If you are a triathlete using Training Peaks user you can enter Guru sTSS figures straight into Training Peaks to assess your overall training load.


Anonymous said...

You really need to get the Polar V800 integrated into this.

Make life so much easier.

Unknown said...

Also agree, this is a great tool but it's a pain to have to manually add sessions.
I use a Suunto watch, do you have any plans for being able to import sessions from such devices?

Adam Young said...

Hi guys,

Yes we are working on integrating devices to import sessions but a few quick points on this:

- You're always going to have to be careful with watch data, for instance swimming with fins in the pool and currents in open water can give artificially high or low sTSSs. Even swimming with a pull buoy can be problematic for swimmers with sinky legs who are much quicker with the additional flotation. Drills can be problematic too.

- If you're following a training session from within the Guru you just tick it as complete and the sTSS calculation is all done for you. Super easy.

- Have you tried manually entering a session in the Guru? It's actually very easy - you just need to tell it the total session distance and the distance/intensity of the main set. For instance for a CSS session with 1800m at CSS pace you simply type in 1800 in the CSS box and you're done. Our research has shown that warmups/cooldowns/drills can all be accurately considered to be at steady pace - this is in fact more accurate than using a watch when you've added in watch measurement accuracies.

So yes a watch is the ultimate convenience but actually manual entry may be easier than you think and removes quite a few watch-generated headaches.

Hope that's useful.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laurens said...

Hi Adam,

Great with this added functionality, especially the CSS tweaking too! Regarding the sTSS calculator, I was just curious why the duration of the swim is not taken into account in the sTSS calculation?

For instance, doing an open water swim of a certain distance with a certain duration gives a certain sTSS score. But what if we did the same distance in less time? The swimmer would have been swimming at a higher intensity (assuming no currents etc), so shouldn't the sTSS score be higher?

I know it is possible to enter the time spent per zone manually (although it is not entirely clear to me which of the zones I would use for a steady openwater swim at a certain pace), but perhaps the sTSS calculator can take into account the zone automagically by assuming a constant pace based on distance and duration of the swim?

Keep up the good work!

Adam Young said...

Hi Laurens,

Yes we ask the swimmer to enter the distance swum at each intensity, rather than the time. That's simply because most pool swim sessions are written in terms of distance and you might not be aware of the exact time at each intensity. For instance you might swim 6x300m at CSS pace which you know is 1800m but working out how long it took (less the recovery period between each swim) is harder. The calculation does that bit behind the scenes for you.

Yes for open water swimming we could have taken into account the zone automatically based on distance and duration but in practise very few people swim this way (for instance they'll swim a bit then rest then swim some more) and it is susceptible to currents, waves and not swimming straight which are huge factors in practise. If you're swimming mostly at a steady pace in your open water swimming then just put the distance swum into the overall distance box and ignore the intensity boxes. The resultant sTSS will be plenty accurate enough to run a very good fitness model.

The slight exception to this is if you enter the distance of the race in the "Race" box (from 50m up to 50km) it will automatically take account of the intensity you can swim maximally at over that distance.

I hope that makes sense, our objective was to keep things really simple but plenty accurate enough to be useful.


caryle said...

I have been following swim smooth for the pass 2 years. I would like to say that the tips and tricks that have been posted here have been very helpful to me in my swimming career.I have improved lot in my swimming. Thanks swim smooth.

Adam Young said...

Great to hear Caryle - thanks for posting!


Unknown said...


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