For those of you brave enough to sign up for our Sunday swim sessions last week, the morning after our Xmas party, you would have been put through a couple of time trials (TT’s) to determine your current Critical Swim Speed (CSS).
Your CSS is an estimate of your lactate threshold. Your lactate threshold is what determines your sustainable swim speed. CSS is not precisely the same as lactate threshold but it will be within a couple of seconds per 100m, which is accurate enough to guide your training.
One way to improve your sustainable swim speed therefore is to improve your lactate threshold. To do this you should dedicate one of your swim sessions per week to training at your current CSS or just below it. If you would like to know more about CSS and how you can use it in training take a look at this link.
What was interesting when we looked more closely at the the TT results was people’s pacing strategies. We took splits every 100m for both the 400m and 200m TT’s. Perhaps unsurprisingly the fastest times were achieved by those who swam an even paced TT. When we looked at the splits quite a number of people were up to 20sec slower over their second 100m. The significant drop in pace a consequence of having gone out much to fast.
Swim Smooth recently did the same thing with their swim squad and having analysed the results have published an interesting blog. It is worth a read and especially if you are one of those people whose pace dropped significantly or you just like a bit of triathlon geekiness!
Generally, athletes hate TT’s of any kind. They are tough and require a 100% effort every time if you are going to compare your current results to previous TT results. They do however provide a very honest assessment of your fitness at that point in time. Of course other factors come into play. I blame fatigue for having my butt unceremoniously kicked by a young tattooed lady called Sarah who could swim like a fish!
I’ll see you in the New Year. Have a great Xmas everyone! Tim (LFTC Coach)