Archives for the month of: February, 2018

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!


Well done for all of your efforts last week at the time trials and for the feedback on what you learnt.  It is interesting to get your thoughts on how you did and what to improve for next time.  Generally I would say most of you are rather more self-critical than is necessarily helpful so please do be kind to yourselves even if you didn’t get the time you wanted.  The most important thing for me is that you enjoy it as that is what will make you come back for more and consistency of good training is the best way I know to improve.

We will now start the build-up to the racing season in earnest so will be doing some faster-paced swimming.  For most of us this means getting used to the faster stroke rates that generate faster speeds but while maintaining your stroke length as much as possible.  And faster stroke rates are usually better for open water swimming in a wetsuit, too, as 220 Triathlon magazine reminded us about this week in this article by Chrissie Wellington.

This week we will be doing some head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery drills to help you focus on a higher stroke rate.  Then we will be going into some golf stroke 50s to help you practice a faster stroke rate with full stroke.  As a reminder, your golf stroke is the total of your stroke count and your time in seconds for each 50m (e.g. if it takes you 40s and 44 strokes for the 50m then your golf stroke is 88).  The aim is to progressively reduce your golf stroke and to do this I’d like you to focus on keeping your stroke count the same and swimming faster to reduce your time for each 50.  You will find it easier to swim faster by breathing quicker and kicking faster as this will naturally increase your stroke rate without trying to force it with a faster pull that can often mean you end up increasing the number of strokes it takes you.

To finish we will be doing some pursuit swims to give you a bit of practice of drafting and reacting to a change of pace by swimmers ahead and behind you.

See you Saturday,


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