Friday, September 21, 2012

A Rule Of Thumb For Your Swim Fitness

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What rate of improvement can you expect from your swimming fitness training per week? And if you miss a week, how much do you slip back?

Here's a rule of thumb we use at Swim Smooth:

- With consistent training, you improve by 0.5 second per 100m per week

- When you miss a week's training, you lose 1 second per 100m per week

So, if you've just had a 5 week break from training it will take you about 10 weeks to get back to where you were before the break - really highlighting the importance of consistency in your training!

Anticipating The Change

These gains and losses show up most clearly at your CSS or threshold pace. If you use a Tempo Trainer Pro or Wetronome to pace yourself through these sets (see below), adjust your pace before your training session using the rule above. Based on your previous training (or lack of it) speed up or slow down the beeper in anticipation of your change in fitness.

We've trained a lot of athletes over many years and this rule of thumb normally works very well. However, if you are new to fitness training in swimming, you may initially improve more quickly than 0.5 second per 100m.

Tempo Trainers And CSS Training

We know that many of you have been using CSS training sets to improve your swim specific fitness and have seen some huge improvements in your swimming performances as a result. For example, Alen Pezzin in our squad improved his speed by 13% in 10 weeks, dropping from 1:47 to 1:32 / 100m at threshold!

The Tempo Trainer is worn under
your swim cap and beeps once every
lap to set you a target pace.
Using a Tempo Trainer Pro in mode 2 is a great way to pace yourself accurately through these sets but did you know you can also use mode 1 to become even more accurate with your lap time? You can then adjust your lap time in 0.01 second intervals allowing you to be really precise with your pacing. The original mode 2 only allows whole seconds at a time, equating to a change of 4 seconds per 100 in a 25m or 25yd pool. That's OK but if you want to adjust things by 0.5 second per 100m you need to be more precise by using mode 1.

You can find out more about CSS training here and the Tempo Trainer Pro here.

Swim Smooth!

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