This week we will be doing a 400m time trial after an extended warm-up and if we have time possibly some shorter time trials over 200m and 100m as well.  In preparation for this I’d like you to think about a couple of things – how to warm-up effectively and also how to get the most out of the time trial.

In the warm-up for the time trial the most important thing I’d like everyone to think about is making sure you do some race pace swimming alongside the usual steadier-paced swims.  The distances we will be doing at race pace in the warm-up will be short so you don’t need to worry about tiring yourself out and I think it is really valuable to get used to swimming at race speed before you try and race.  Your technique often changes when you try and swim fast so focus on swimming fast and efficiently in the warm-up.

The biggest benefit for time trials, in my view, is the opportunity to get some good objective feedback about your swimming pace and fitness at the moment.  I think we can learn the most from a time trial, like most other things we do, with a simple “plan, do, review” approach.  Plan your time trial in terms of how hard you want to swim each of the four quarters.  This doesn’t have to be more than a “go out hard and hang on” or “swim the second half faster” type plan if you don’t want it to be!  Then “Do” the time trial as best you can – using any nerves and your competitors efforts to get the best out your swim.  And finally “review” your performance, both with the objective feedback from the clock (especially your race splits which I will send out) as well as thinking about what you did well and what could have done better.  Did you stick to the plan?  Did you chase other competitors too much and suffer later in the swim?  Did you swim too much within yourself and not give yourself chance to swim a good time by swimming the first half too slowly?

I hope you all will do a personal best in the time trial on Saturday but I know that is very unlikely.  I, for one, am less swimming fit than I have been for previous time trials so know that a good time is unlikely.  However, I do think it is realistic to expect everyone to learn something useful from the time trial – be it confirmation that they are in good swimming form at the moment or just learning a bit more about how to pace a 400m race at an even pace to get the best possible time.

See you Saturday!