Archives for posts with tag: fast stroke rate

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!



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,


This week it is the return of the Will Clarke set of 50s swum as a mix of fast and easy 50s with increasing amounts of rest.  The reason I really like this set is that it is a great mix of tight turnarounds near the start with a high frequency of high intensity efforts near the end when you are getting tired.  It also fits really well with our intensity build towards time trials next week.

One of the things most people find most challenging about this set is varying their pace between the fast and slower 50s at the start of the set when the turnarounds are short.  You cannot say you have really mastered this set until you are able to vary the pace when the turnarounds are short so please do try your best to do this.  Try and use a fast and  relaxed stroke rate, which we will be doing drills for before the main set, to make sure you can make the short turnarounds and still be fresh enough to push the faster efforts.  Other things to think about are:

  • Take 5s intervals between every swimmer and make sure you know your times for all the fast effort 50s
  • Try and make every fast 50 the same time – ideally 2-3 seconds faster than your 400m race pace (divide your 400m time by 8 to calculate your 400m pace for 50m, e.g. 6 mins 400m time / 8 = 45 secs per 50m so each one should be swum 42-43 secs)
  • Keep the stroke rate high and the effort low for the most relaxed but fast swimming you can

See you Saturday!


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