Visualising Your Swim Fitness

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The PRO version of the Swim Smooth Guru has a brilliant feature in it called the "Fitness Tracker". It's neat way to visualise what's happening with your swimming fitness over long periods of time and why you might feel better some days than others.

Check out what happened to our Head Coach Paul Newsome's fitness during our recent coaching trip to the USA (each dot corresponds to one day):

(Click to enlarge)

Before the trip (green circle) he was swimming his regular training routine and fitness was building nicely (blue line). Fatigue was starting to build too so he won't have been feeling totally fresh.

Next the trip out to the states (pink circle) he only trained occasionally when he had the time. Notice fitness improvements have hit a plateau but fatigue levels are dropping. He feels fresh in the water but he hasn't built up his fitness sufficiently yet and swims a personal worst 10km swim!

Back home in Perth and in full training (blue circle) his fitness moves upwards again, showing him he's on track for some great racing this summer. (Note, the lines to the right of the blue circle show the future if he were to stop training completely.)

To run this analysis on your own training just enter your training sessions into the Guru's activity log and the fitness tracker is automatically updated. Super simple! Even if you're training mainly for health and fitness it's a fascinating analysis and seeing that little fitness worm edging upwards is super motivating.

Here's some things you will quickly learn (even if you're not a Guru subscriber you can learn from these points) :

- Consistency is everything! Miss sessions regularly and your fitness will quickly plateau or start to fall away.

- Backing off your training before a race gives you maximum performance on that day but for B or C races you might be best training right through them for maximum fitness improvements.

- You can't improve fitness too quickly as it requires physiological changes in your body which take time. That's why you need patience and a long term approach.

- High levels of training lifts your fitness up quickly but also cause high levels of fatigue, quickly forcing you to rest. With experience you can see if you are trying to gain fitness too quickly in the fitness tracker telling you to back things off a touch and avoid that "boom and bust" cycle.

- You can easily compare your training and fitness one year to another. Hit a higher fitness number than last year and you can be sure you are on for a solid PB.

- Don't take too long a break in the off-season as your fitness continues to gradually fall lower and lower, and you'll have to work hard to recover that lost ground.

Swim Smooth!


Unknown said...

How do you zoom in to a period in the fitness tracker like that? Mine has so much data points now that it is getting very squeezed and hard to see the individual points.

Salvo said...

Great stuff! I have an "overglider question": what's fatigue and fitness units of measure in the chart? What are 40.69 and 73.11 for instance? And should fitness and fatigue have the same value on race day for maximum performance?

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