Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Swim Time trials – hard vs easy

In the last few weeks, i started swimming with the local masters team – this has really helped me improve way faster than trying to do it all on my own.  I am getting faster at the shorter sets (50s, 100s, 200s etc) but i haven’t done any distance work for a few weeks.

last night i didn’t have a plan before jumping in to the water.  After a warm-up i was feeling ok and since I have the Nations Tri (Olympic distance) coming up in just under 3 weeks, i decided to do some longer time trials.

So my plan was at first to try 5 minutes continuous to see how we go.  I didn’t get lap splits for this, but the end result was :-



Average Pace
(per 100y/50y)

4:55 300yards 1:38.3 / 49.16

compared to recent efforts, that is really great. I don’t think i have ever averaged faster than 50s for 50yards (often around the 53 mark).  I was puffing by the end of the 5 minutes, but felt quite good. 

So the next time effort (after short break) was for 10 minutes – for this set my perceived effort was harder, but the average time was very similar.  at the end of 10 minutes, i was definitely feeling it.  I don’t think i could have held that pace for too much longer.



Average Pace
(per 100y/50y)

9:58 600yards 1:39.6 / 49.83

interesting – within 1 sec/100y of the 5min TT.  The problem is that this is not a pace i could keep up for a longer swim.  Since i am aiming for 1500m/1650y for the Nations Tri.

So my next set was a 30min TT, about the time i think i can complete course.  For this set i purposely took it easy, trying to be comfortable and efficient.  I finished strong, and could have kept going at that pace. 



Average Pace
(per 100y/50y)

30:17.6 1750yards 1:43.8 / 51.93

I think this is an interesting result.  what felt significantly easier, was actually only 4 seconds per 100 yards slower.  I think i can happily give up those 4 seconds for a comfortable swim, and have lots of energy left for the rest of the race.

splits @ 300 and 600yards (had the lap timer on for the 10 & 30 minute tt’s)


5min TT

10min TT

30min TT









my goal is to be able to keep the 10min speed for a full 30 mins, but that will take a lot of work and some better technique.  for the last 10 minutes I managed to increase speed, as i was feeling pretty good.  This is going to be the plan for my race – start at a good steady pace, and hopefully increase the pace during the 2nd half.  I'd much rather do this than start out too hard (which is easy to do in a race) and not have much left towards the end.  I also just looked at the tide charts – low tide on race day should be 6:30 – right about the start of the first wave.  so the first leg of the out&back swim will be downstream, and of course against the tide on the way back.

This session represents somewhat of a breakthrough for me – only a year ago i was averaging well over 2mins per 100yards, right around 2:20 – 2:25.

I looked at my training log, and the last 30minute time trial i did was only 8 days before.  I managed to beat my time by 18 seconds.  Working on technique with the masters team really is making a difference.  The last time i did a 30min TT was April 1st – with an average of 53.9/50y – 1:47.8/100y (1700y in 30:33.1), this is pretty good progress (50y extra distance and 16 seconds less time).

If you were thinking about joining a local masters program, my recommendation is that you definitely should.  These numbers are evidence that it does work.  I didn’t think i was good enough to join in with the Masters team, but they were really great.  I have already improved a lot in only 3 weeks. 

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