Archives for posts with tag: race pace

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


This week we will be working on an important skill for open water racing – the start.  The specific aspect I want to work is starting fast to help you get into a good position during a mass start and then easing off into a sustainable race pace.  We will be doing this with some positive split 200s – meaning you swim the first 100 fast and then drop back into a steadier and sustainable race pace.

A good way to practice this is to leave a 5s gap and try and get on the feet of the swimmer ahead during the fast 100 and then hang onto their slip stream, without any annoying toe-tapping.  Similarly you can try and few tactics of trying to vary the pace a bit to stay away from the swimmer behind if there is space in the lane.

Swimming at different paces is a feature of good open water racing – taking advantage of swimmers around you to slipstream and trying to stop others take advantage of you – so focus on that during the session this week.

See you Saturday,


Race season is now almost upon us and I know the Basildon Aquathlon on Sunday is the first race of 2017 incorporating a swim for some of us (myself included).  So I thought it would be worth mentioning a few things about the race season and what this means for our Saturday Swimming sessions.

Firstly, I will state the obvious fact that the race season is a long one for many of us with 6 months or more of triathlons, aquathlons and open water swims.  And most of us will be doing different races over this period so it is not possible in a shared swimming session to structure the sessions around a taper for a single big race.  Instead I would expect you to plan your own season and swim the Saturday sessions according to your own training plan.  If that means taking a session a bit easier as part of race preparation that is fine by me.  Please just be considerate to your other lane members and don’t disrupt the set by dropping out part way through to alter everyone elses rest interval or swimming at a pace that means you will get in the way of others.

We have had a good series of sessions since Christmas with an increasing amount of faster swims to get you ready for race pace swimming.  And the time trials have demonstrated a measurable improvement for many of you over the Winter so thank you for all of your efforts.  Over the Spring and Summer we will continue with a mix of fast swims and some technique maintenance to help you keep that improvement in race pace swimming going throughout the season.

Finally, if you want some more advice of planning your race season I would recommend the recent Swim Smooth Blog post about this.  I especially like the comment about getting a good balance between intensity and recovery and using races as a high intentity training session where appropriate.

This week we will be doing some faster 100s with a longer recovery than normal, meaning you should be swimming faster than your 400m race pace and trying to maintain the maximum possible speed to the end of the set.  I will be practising a little of what I am preaching by swimming at a slightly slower pace – actually on my 400m race pace – to help me prepare for the Basildon Aquathlon.  If you are not racing, though, you don’t have a good excuse!

See you Saturday!


This week we will be doing a variant of the Will Clarke 50s main set to give us chance to do some more fast-paced swimming before we do the January time trial next week.  All the 50s in the main set will be off the same turnaround time rather than a gradually increasing turnaround time that we have done before, which will make it too easy if you don’t make all the fast 50s really fast.  In fact, I would like you to aim to swim all the fast 50s at your 200m race pace.  Your 200m race pace should be around 3-4 secs faster than your 400m race pace so as a rough guide:

  • Lane 1 swimmers who swim 5:30 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 36-37 secs per 50.
  • Lane 2 swimmers who swim 6:20 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 43-44 secs per 50.
  • Lane 3 swimmers who swim 7:00 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 48-49 secs per 50.
  • Lane 4 swimmers who swim 7:50 for 400m should be doing the fast 50s around 55-56 secs per 50.

See you Saturday,


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