Well done for all your efforts at the time trials last week, it was great to see so many PBs.  I’ve added the results to the time trials page in case you didn’t get the email.

This week and next week we will be finishing the 8am session at 9am to allow the Juniors to do their time trials.  The week after, on 5th May, we will have the pool for 3 hours so we will be splitting the session into two hour and a half sessions, from 7am to 8:30am and from 8:30am to 10am.

The main set this week is a set of 100s at your 1500m race pace followed by a 50m flat-out sprint.  This is a good opportunity to get used to a fast and relaxed 1500m race pace with enough saved for the 50m sprint effort at the end.  If you don’t know your 1500m race pace then a good approximation is your Critical Swim Speed (CSS) time per 100m, which you can see estimated in the time trial results.  If you didn’t do the time trial you can look at the CSS for others of a similar speed, which is about 1m25s/100m for lane 1, 1m38s/100m for lane 2, 1m50s/100m for lane 3 and 2m/100m for lane 4.

See you Saturday,


Photo by Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash


It is time for the final set of time trials of our Winter training and I would like you to focus on swimming them with a good mindset.  Most of you are in very good shape physically, and have improved your technique over the Winter, so the other key aspect to putting in a good performance is having a good mindset.

Helen is much more on an expter on this than me and her advice for you all is that a good mindset to adopt is a Challenge mindset.  

She has written an excellent article for Outdoor Swimmer Magazine on this very topic which you can read here.

So what can you do to get yourself into a Challenge mindset rather than a Threat mindset?  I think Helen’s article has some great suggestions in three areas – self-confidence, control and achievement goals – so here are some ideas specific ideas that you may want to think about:

  • Self-confidence – many of you are great at encouraging others during time trials but speak less encouragingly to yourselves.  How about trying to speak to yourself in the same positive way as you would to encourage others by focusing on all the good sessions you have done in preparation?
  • Control – you can’t control how anyone else swims in the lane next to you, so how about focusing on what you can control with your effort and technique, especially if you know that good technique helps you swim quicker.  For the last time trial I know some of you tried this (thinking on just one aspect of technique each length) and found it very successful.
  • Achievement goals – focusing on a good achievement goal, like relaxing on the first 100m or saving enough energy to start pushing the 3rd 100m, are much better than worrying about what others might be thinking or what your time will be.  Focusing on how you want to swim the time trial will allow the result to look after itself.

So what are the 3 things you will do for self-confidence, control & acheivement goals to try and give yourself a good challenge mindset this week?

See you Saturday,




I will be away this week so will leave the sessions at the pool for you to put out at the start of the session.  You will be doing the Will Clarke main set of fast & steady 50s as it is the final Saturday session before we do the last set of time trials for this Winter on 14th April.

One of the reasons I really like this set is how it helps to improve your easy-speed (i.e. swimming fast and relaxed.)

It does this in a few different ways:

  • Firstly, the tight turnaround times at the start of the set encourages you to swim fast enough to make the turnaround times but in as relaxed a way as possible as you know you will not be getting enough rest for the good recovery;
  • Secondly, adding in faster efforts increases your stroke rate, which has a nice carry-over effect into the steady-paced 50s and many people find themselves doing the steadier 50s at a faster time and lower effort than they usually do; and
  • Thirdly, the continuous fast 50s at the end of the set, when you are tired, helps build your speed endurance for the tough final quarter of a time-trial or race when you need to try and maintain your speed and form.


See you next week!



Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts last week in the fast-paced 100s.  I saw some more tired Triathletes last week than I have seen for a long time.  We will calm it down this week a bit with an aerobic main set of 150s.  We will also do a golf-stroke set to work on stroke rate and pursuit swims to keep your speed and work on your drafting and race tactics.

Golf stroke is also all about getting a good balance between stroke length and stroke rate.  It is a simple mathematical fact that your swim speed is just the product of your stroke length (distance per stroke) and stroke rate (in strokes per minute).  So you can swim faster by increasing either stroke length or stroke rate so long as you increase one by more than you decrease the other (if at all).  So measuring your golf stroke is a great way to see what works best for you to achieve this.

Most of us do pretty well with stroke length (distance per stroke) so this week we will work on stroke rate.  I find most people are better at increasing stroke rate, without significantly reducing stroke length, by focusing on either a faster push (i.e. back-end of the stroke) or faster leg-kick.  The alternative – rushing the catch – is usually a sure-fire way of reducing your distance per stroke.  So when we do golf stroke this week please try either the faster legs or faster push at the end of your pull and see what works best for you to get your arms spinning faster.

See you Saturday!


A few of you have asked me about the next time trials that are due at the end of the month as it clashes with Easter.  It seems the numbers will probably be low if we do the time trials over Easter weekend so I will delay them a couple of weeks until mid April so most of you that want to do them can.

This also gives us a bit more time for preparation so this week we will work on pace judgement in the main set.  The two drills in the warm-up are reverse catch-up and straight-arm recovery.  Reverse catch-up gives you time to keep thinking about being patient with the catch, as we have for the past two weeks, and straight-arm recovery a chance to start increasing your stroke rate ahead of the main set.

The main set consists of blocks of 4 or 5 x 100s with short recovery at your 400m race pace.  This is a great opportunity to take your time and judge your effort across each block and keep a consistent pace.  As I have said many times before, and many of you do know, most people will start to slow down in the 3rd quarter of the set (i.e. the 3rd 100 in a block of 4) so try and pace yourself so this doesn’t happen.  If you get it wrong don’t worry – that is why we practice and it’s a great way to learn – so do your best and play with your pace judgement this week!

See you Saturday,


Photo by Veri Ivanova on Unsplash

Please accept my apologies for two mistakes I made last week – for mucking up my blog post and for giving lane 4 too short a session.  Well done, however, for coping with my mistakes (as all good triathletes cope with mishaps) and all of your excellent efforts during the very high intensity USRPT set we did.  I saw some of the most tired triathletes after that session that I have seen so far this year.  What was even more pleasing, though, was that most people did the set as intended – swimming at 5s intervals and missing out 2 or 3 50s when their time dropped off – rather than doing the “I’m a tough triathlete thing” of ploughing all the way through the set without missing any out.  Given I hadn’t got my blog post published to remind you that was great to see!

My post last week was all about patience, which you can see here, and I want to continue the theme this week with the drills we will be doing before the main set.  We will be doing hip-connector drill again as well as reverse catch-up to give you the chance to practise being patient with the catch.  When doing hip connector drill aim to only practise the timing of the catch and not to get any propulsion whatsoever (that will all come from your legs).  Do the same with reverse catch-up and focus on getting all of your propulsion from the push at the end of your stroke.  Then transfer that into the full stroke as well.

The main set is the revised version of the Brownlee main set we tried in the late Summer last year with progressively-paced 100s of progressively shorter turnaround times.  As you do this main set please try to keep your patience with the catch and focus on getting the extra speed all from the back-end push part of your stroke and faster stroke rate.


See you Saturday!



Photo by Chris Coe on Unsplash

It was really interesting to see people doing hip-connector drill last week.  The most common issue it highlighted was many of you rushing the catch of the stroke and trying to apply some power too soon in your stroke so being inefficient by pressing the water downwards rather than backwards.  Although the hip-connector drill is really designed to think about timing rotation with your catch it did show up a rushed catch for many of you, which I was pleased to see you corrected when I asked you to be a bit more patient.

This week we will be doing some Unco and reverse catch-up drills before the main set and I’d like you to think about being patient with the catch by counting 1-2-3 with each stroke.  1 is when your hand enters the water, 2 is taking your hand to the catch or early-vertical-forearm position and 3 is for the push.  Take a slight pause after 1, 2 and 3 to focus on the next phase.  Having a bit more patience, especially after 2, is a good way to make sure your forearm is completely vertical before starting the real power phase of the stroke with a push.

For the main set we will be doing our first set of USRPT 50s for 2018.  This is a great set of high-intensity interval training and I have written several times before about how to tackle this set (in this post for example.)  Every time we do this set I am amazed by the number of people who do this set without missing out any 50s.  You do get a good workout by doing this but it is not the way to get the most benefit from the set.  This set is all about swimming faster than is sustainable so your times will inevitably drop off and when they do you should miss out the next 50 to give you the additional recovery to swim faster again.  So if you are tempted to try and go all the way through without missing any out then please try and swim a bit faster!

See you Saturday,



Good work last week on our tough set of the prime 100s.  That was the longest main set we have done so far in 2018 and with some of the shortest turnaround times.  If you didn’t manage the vary the pace of CSS +/- 2 s through all of the set don’t worry – it takes a few attempts to be able to pace that sort of set correctly all the way throughout the set.  Something to work on next time we do it!

I want to continue the theme this week of searching for “easy speed” by working on your core rotation.  Your core provides great power to your stroke, for little effort, when you get the timing right.  So we will be doing some of the “hip-connector” and “power rotation” drills we have done before (see here for a reminder).  Then we will go into the ratchet set as the main set, with shortening turnaround times, to give you a chance to practise your core rotation in search of the “easy speed” to help make all of the turnaround times.

See you Saturday!


Well done for all of your efforts over the last couple of weeks while I was away.  Chrissie tells me you have all been working hard and enjoying the faster-paced efforts.

Whilst the short faster-paced swims are fun to do, and a good workout, most of our aims for racing this season require us to swim quickly over much longer distances and for that we need efficiency as well as speed.  That is what I call “easy speed“, which will be the focus of the session this week.  The turnaround times will be short though, and I’d like you to vary the pace around your Critical Swim Speed (CSS), so really try and relax and focus on whichever aspect of your stroke helps you do this best.  I know some of you find focusing on the back-end of your stroke – the push past the EVF position – is a great way to keep your speed while staying relaxed.

For those who need a reminder about CSS, your CSS is your lactate threshold swim speed, which is usually the pace you can sustain for a 1,500m swim.  We estimated your current CSS using your 400m and 100m time trial results.  If you didn’t do the time trials then you may know your CSS already but if not the average CSS for lane 1 is about 1m 26s/100m, for lane 2 is about 1m 37s, for lane 3 about 1m 44s and for lane 4 about 1m 55s.

The main set this week is return of the prime numbers set of 100s where prime numbered 100s (i.e. 2, 3, 5, 7, …) are swum on a slightly shorter turnaround than non-prime numbered 100s (i.e. 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, …)  I would like you to swim the shorter turnaround 100s slightly faster than the others.  Aim for a 4s difference between the faster and slower 100s with faster 100s at 2s faster than your CSS and slower 100s at 2s slower than your CSS. This is a good long set and should help work on improving your CSS.

See you Saturday,


I will be away on holiday for the next two weeks so will be leaving the sessions in the Tri Club box at the pool.  Chrissie had kindly offered to coach the 7am session but then has to leave to coach the Juniors.  So please do take advantage of Chrissie’s excellent coaching and I hope you enjoy the sessions.

We will be continuing the theme of picking up the pace with some speed-endurance 100s this week followed by the Will Clarke set of fast/steady 50s next week.  The drills will all be around working on your stroke rate as we started to do last week.

Please work on your stroke rate and search for some “easy speed”.  Often I find “easy speed” can come when trying to swim fast off a short turnaround – so knowing you need to keep some energy back for the next swim as the rest between swims won’t provide enough.  A higher stroke rate, without dropping too much length in your stroke, is often the result of this focus so enjoy practising over the next two weeks.

See you soon!


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