Archives for posts with tag: race season

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!


I will be away for the next two Saturdays so I have left sessions in the Tri Club box.  Chrissie and Simon will be coaching when they can but it is unlikely to be for all four sessions so if you are the first one on pool side please put out the sessions for everyone.

We are starting to do some more faster-paced swims as we build up towards the start of the season.  More faster-paced swims also means there will be more slower paced swims, too, especially when doing progressive sets.  Even if the slower-paced swims do not include drills please do use them to focus on technique and whatever aspect you think needs the most work.  To help you think about your technique please watch the excellent video by Bill Furniss below:

Bill Furniss is currently the Head Coach of UK Swimming and was also Rebecca Adlington’s coach so he knows a thing or two about front crawl!  The video is  really for coaching the basics of front crawl to age group swimmers but I think everyone with an interest in swimming fast, distance front crawl will find it very useful.  So this is your homework for while I am away!  It is nearly 40 minutes long, and not professionally filmed, but well worth watching so please do watch as much as you can.

See you in a couple of weeks,


Back to the usual pattern of training this week with normal 7-8 session and 8-9:15 sessions.  We’re continuing with the theme of fairly fast-paced sessions to help you maintain your swimming speed, now we’re well into race season, with the Will Clarke set of hard and easy 50s.  Also, for those that didn’t see it I thought the comments in 220 Magazine on swim technique from Mario Mola and Gwen Jorgensen were interesting.  They are both pretty fair comments I think even though they sound contradictory.  I’d agree with the the main message from both – it is important to try and maintain your technique as much as possible when you get tired – but don’t obsess too much about the perfect technique as different styles can still be very fast and effective.

See you Saturday,


Most people have started the race season now so the emphasis of the Saturday Swimming sessions will now shift to maintaining your swim speed rather than the build-up in speed and intensity we have been doing over the last few months.  There won’t be much specific technique work – the race season is not a good time to start making big changes in your technique – and we will come back to that in the Autumn.  However, as always, I would like everyone to think about technique in every session to make sure you are getting the most from your swimming especially as you swim the faster sets.  Think only about little tweaks to hold into your technique, though, rather than contemplating any big changes.

With most of us aiming for our top performances in races at different times of the season it is important to make sure you are your own coach and adjust the quantity or effort of each session according to your race plan for the season.  I have written about being your own coach before and you can read some of my thoughts on this here, with points 1 and 3 being the most relevant at the moment.

One comment I would like to make is about tapering for races.  Tapering down training before a big race will usually help you get your best performance but I would suggest being wary of trying to taper for too many races in a season.  You will normally only have one or two main races in the season and it is for these races you really need to taper fully to get your best performance.  Other races, if being used as part of your build-up for the main races, should not typically require much tapering and you can pretty much train through them.  So I would suggest being beware of trap of taking it easy before too many races in the season when actually you may get more of a benefit by keeping the training level high and using a race as a high-intensity training session.  But as you are all good at being your own coach and I am sure not many of you will fall into that trap!

See you Saturday!


PS  I will be here this week but away on holiday on 31st May so will leave some sessions in the box for you to do then.  I am trying to arrange a stand-in coach but that may not be possible as the Juniors are also short of coaches next week.  So, if you are first to arrive at the pool please put the sessions out along with the lane ropes and floats.

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