220’s Winter Training Advent Calendar (Part 15)

All triathletes have something they're guilty of neglecting. For lots, that thing is the swim. Check out day 15 of our Winter Training Advent Calendar for some drills that'll help you improve through the off-season

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101 Speed Endurance
 
What to do:
Maintain a consistent top-end speed with a short rest holding good form. 10 x 100m at 85% of max heart rate (HRmax) with 20secs rest, counting your last length stroke count throughout.
 
What’s measured?
The brief recovery allows you to keep the effort more aerobic and controlled. But its not how easy you can swim the set; rather how you can bring your average time across the set down while still maintaining a strong stroke.
 
102 Stroke Efficiency
 
What to do:
100m adding total strokes to total seconds to give a final number. For example, swim 95secs in 80 strokes = 175 for 100m. The aim is to reduce this score.
 
What’s measured?
This is a great drill to ensure you focus on stroke technique. Don’t try to fluke this with exceptional push-offs and glides or catch-up style stroke mechanics.
 
103 Endurance Capacity
 
What to do:
A big one for sprinters: continuous swim of 1 x 1000m after 10min warm-up
 
What’s measured?
This tests the muscles capacity to both reproduce a movement pattern and deliver aerobic energy. This can improve both confidence to finish a new race distance and allow an automation of the stroke mechanics by switching you off and relaxing your stroke.
 
104 Race Simulation
 
What to do:
A similar venue, distance and warm-up scenario. Race-day swim cord warm-up followed by a 400m timed pool swim with a haul-out.
 
What’s measured?
This is a great way to mimic your race-day pool swim performance; that said, clearly it’d be tricky to undertake open-water testing, except at training camps or if you live in warmer climes. It’s still a good reality check with nowhere to hide.
 
105 Speed
 
What to do:
Full-blown time-trial performance: 1 x 25, 50 or 100m at maximal effort.
 
What’s measured?
The swim test is the least relevant of the five, because it focses on all-out speed and, subsequently, the efficiency of your anaerobic system. Triathlon is an endurance event, so measurement of stamina is more important than speed, especially during the off-season where you should be training at low(ish) intensity, but high volume, to build your aerobic base. 
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