CSS and pacing your TT’s

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)

2 responses to “CSS and pacing your TT’s

  1. Following on from Tim’s blog, I’ve put below all your CSS times from last weekend.
    Apologies for the poor layout, but you should have:
    Name, CSS, 400m TT, 200m TT, and I’ve also added in the number of seconds slower EVERYONE was on their 2nd 100m of the 400m set. No-one got the pacing spot on, the ‘best’ was a drop of 4s on the 2nd 100m, there were 7 of you who were over 15s slower on the 2nd 100m compared to the first 100m – a huge drop! I think in the New Year, pacing will feature hugely in the sessions.

    Gabriel, 400m:5:58, 200m:2:54, CSS:1:32, Drop=4s
    Sarah, 400m:5:50, 200m:2:50, CSS:1:30, Drop=5s
    Judith, 400m:6:1, 200m:2:52, CSS:1:34, Drop=6s
    Tim, 400m:6:22, 200m:3:6, CSS:1:38, Drop=6s
    Lucy, 400m:8:21, 200m:4:4, CSS:2:8, Drop=7s
    Oly, 400m:6:39, 200m:3:10, CSS:1:45, Drop=8s
    Kathy, 400m:7:50, 200m:3:52, CSS:1:59, Drop=8s
    Annaig, 400m:7:2, 200m:3:30, CSS:1:46, Drop=9s
    Jack, 400m:7:46, 200m:3:49, CSS:1:58, Drop=10s
    Belinda, 400m:7:20, 200m:3:28, CSS:1:56, Drop=11s
    Bree, 400m:7:41, 200m:3:31, CSS:2:5, Drop=13s
    Teri, 400m:7:23, 200m:3:30, CSS:1:57, Drop=13s
    Chris, 400m:8:44, 200m:4:14, CSS:2:15, Drop=14s
    Abi, 400m:8:9, 200m:3:59, CSS:2:5, Drop=17s
    Sarah, 400m:8:38, 200m:4:7, CSS:2:15, Drop=17s
    Gavin, 400m:6:27, 200m:3:6, CSS:1:41, Drop=18s
    Henry, 400m:6:49, 200m:3:24, CSS:1:43, Drop=19s
    John, 400m:6:52, 200m:3:19, CSS:1:46, Drop=19s
    Joe, 400m:6:52, 200m:3:42, CSS:1:35, Drop=20s
    Sidoni, 400m:8:44, 200m:4:22, CSS:2:11, Drop=20s

  2. Following on from the swim time trials, I thought this would be an interesting place to put the run splits from the 5k time trial we did on Sunday (Actual distance 4.82km). Similar to the swim TT, I’ve put name, each 1k split, total time, and the drop in seconds from the first 1km to the 2nd 1km.

    Aims of the TT:
    1. run consistently
    2. run at your 10k speed. So in theory, for all the below, double the total time and that is the 10k time for next year.

    Matt 03:29 / 03:45 / 03:46 / 03:50 / 03:48 (Total=18:38, Drop = 16s)
    Sam 03:30 / 03:43 / 03:44 / 03:47 / 03:44 (Total=18:28, Drop = 13s)

    Nick 04:28 / 04:44 / 04:50 / 04:43 / 04:37 (Total=23:22, Drop = 16s)
    Russell 04:04 / 04:12 / 04:15 / 04:09 / 04:03 (Total=20:43, Drop = 8s)
    Henry 04:16 / 04:18 / 04:13 / 04:22 / 04:08 (Total=21:17, Drop = 2s)
    Kath B 04:48 / 04:48 / 04:43 / 04:41 / 04:39 (Total=23:39, Drop = 0s)
    Kate 05:08 / 05:07 / 05:05 (Drop = 1s)

    Russell ran inside the park, so slightly shorter laps throughout
    Matt and Sam ran their first lap inside, and subsequent laps outside, so a bigger drop in time than would have been expected

    As with the swim nearly everyone had a drop off in performance with the second lap, suggesting all went off too quickly on the first 1k. As with the swim, if you start too fast, then you’re always playing catch up with your anaerobic energy system, and ultimately have to slow down.

    Over the Christmas break, try out your swim CSS (400m TT and 200m TT) or your 5k run TT at 10k pace. Look for consistency either with each 100m swim or 1k run.
    Within each individual session or across a series of sessions, consistency in training is one of the key factors that is going to get you to your 2014 goals.

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