Archives for posts with tag: easy speed

It’s time for the Easter Swim this week.  So we will be splitting the session into two equal 65 minute sessions – starting at 7am and 8:05am.

This will be a chance to put all of the hard work over the last few weeks to the test by seeing how all all our hard work on fast 50s and 100s translates into easy speed over a long endurance set.  The set will be a challenge and consist of a long set of 100s off a fairly short turnaround time.  Pace yourselves, relax and enjoy the challenge by focusing on good technique to achieve a good easy-speed.

See you Saturday!



Back by popular demand it is USRPTs this week!  OK, it’s not really popular demand but because I get to choose sessions that I think will help us build towards the race season, but who’s checking?

As a reminder, USRPT stands for Ultra Short Race Pace Training and it is has some very simple rules to make it a very effective form of training for building your speed.  They are:

  1. Swim every 50 fast.
  2. Leave exactly 5s intervals between swimmers and take your time for each 50.
  3. Repeat until your time drops by 1s or more.  When this happens miss out the next 50m.
  4. If the person in front of you misses a 50m for this reason DO NOT close the gap on the next swimmer – keep to the same turnaround for yourself for the whole set.
  5. You do not get to choose when you miss a 50m.  The clock decides when you miss a 50m by telling you your time dropped by 1s or more.
  6. If you do not miss out any 50s then you have not worked hard enough on the set.  Hang your head in shame!

See you Saturday!


PS Some of you already know that the secret to this session is all about easy-speed.  You also have to put in a good amount of effort but pushing too hard often makes you go a bit slower.  So do try and use this set to practice easy-speed at a higher stroke rate than what we have done in previous weeks.

Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts last week in the Will Clarke set of fast and steady 50s.  One of the things I really like about that set is how comfortable it feels on the steady-paced 50s even though you are still swimming pretty quickly.  This feeling is what I call easy-speed.  This week we are going to return to main set of “Prime 100s” to help practise more easy-speed.

The Prime 100s set is one of the longest main sets we do and mixes slightly faster 100s on the prime numbered 100s (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc) with steady steadier paced 100s on the others.  If you did the time trials this year you will know your Critical Swim Speed (CSS) and the faster ones should be about 2s faster than your CSS and the slower ones 2s slower.  For those that don’t know your CSS, it is roughly the pace that you can sustain for about 30 minutes of continuous swimming.  The variation in pace on the set this week should give you more chance to search for easy-speed. So relax and enjoy the search!

See you Saturday!


Well done for your efforts last week on the faster paced 100s.  It was good to see you putting in some great efforts consistently over the whole set and many of you hitting consistently fast times.


I will be swimming and coaching the session as usual this week (4th August) and then away for the next 3 weeks returning on 31st August.  Chrissie and Simon are also away then so you will be doing the sessions yourselves.  I will leave them in the club box tomorrow for you to get out for each of the sessions over the next few weeks so please help set up the pool and get the sessions out if you are there first for the 7am session.  The plan for August is as follows:

  • This week we will be building on the fast 100s last week with some even faster 50s this week with the return of the USRPT (Ultra Short Race Pace Training) set with every swim at your 200m race pace.
  • Next week is more 50s with the Will Clarke Set of faster and steadier paced 50s off different turnaround times.  The aim of this is to keep the top-end swim speed you have been building over the previous two weeks and combine it with some more speed endurance.
  • The week after that sees the return of the ratchet set which is all about speed endurance.  With the faster paced swimming we have been doing leading up to that you should be able to really feel comfortable at the start of the set with some easy speed to help you make the increasingly tight turnaround times and stay relaxed.
  • The final week before I am back will be the main set of positive-split 200s.  It is a very long main set and including plenty of 200s where you will be practising starting fast before dropping back into a sustainable race-pace cruise.

Enjoy your August and your holidays if you are going away.  Have fun and enjoy the swimming wherever you can!


Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash

What did you notice about the pace of the 100s and 50s you did last week?  I know some of you noticed that you ended up swimming the 100s quite a bit faster than your target 1500m race pace, and they felt relatively relaxed as you focused on the saving something for the hard efforts on the 50s.  If you didn’t notice this then don’t worry – we will do some similar efforts in the future to give you another chance to try and find that easy-speed!

This week is a much steadier session and a chance to think again about your high-elbow catch as well as some aerobic swims.  It will also be a 1 hour session again for the 8am session to give the Juniors time for the final set of time trials this Spring.  We will be doing some of the Chloe Sutton drills by counting 1-2-3 to really give yourselves time to think about the high-elbow catch position.  Look at the two drills starting at 6 minutes into the Chloe Sutton video if you want a reminder!

See you Saturday,


Photo by Ali Abdul Rahman on Unsplash


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

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!


This week we will be doing some more head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery in the warm-up to get your arms moving quickly.  Remember, short-fast strokes with a quick catch on the head-up front crawl and high-swinging arms with a fast entry on the straight-arm recovery.

The main set is 100s swum in blocks of 3, 4 or 5 off a tight turnaround but with a minute between each set.  Please try and use this set to focus on trying to find that easy-speed by getting the stroke rate high, spinning fast and relaxed.

Then, after a short recovery set, there will be a set of 150s swum just above and just below your 1500m pace.  The quick way to calculate your 150 time at your 1,500m pace is to divide your 1,500m time by 10, e.g. 25 mins for 1,500m means your time for 150 should be 2.5 mins (2 mins 30s).  If you don’t know your 1,500m time then I suggest roughly estimating it by multiplying your 400m time trial time by 4.  If you don’t know your 400m time then come along to the next time trial to find out!

See you Saturday,


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