How to swim faster with a Tempo Trainer
Without feedback, it’s tough to know what you’re doing right and where you could improve – especially in swimming. Cue the Tempo Trainer. Andrew Sheaff explains…
Learning and improving in any endeavor is really hard. It’s even harder if you don’t have expert guidance. Because of the difficulty associated with learning to move well through water, this is especially true of swimming.
Without feedback, it’s tough to know what you’re doing right and where you could improve. While getting great coaching is really valuable, it’s not accessible to everyone. So, if you want to get better, you need to create your own feedback.
Enter the Tempo Trainer. It’s an external metronome you wear under your cap or on your goggles. It beeps at whatever frequency you want, from every 1/10th of a second to every couple minutes.
While ‘Tempo Trainer’ is the brand I am familiar with, others are available and any device that serves a similar function will get the job done.
What’s great about a Tempo Trainer is that is provides crystal clear feedback. When used in the right way, it can take your swimming to the next level, even if you don’t have a coach.
How to improve your swimming with a Tempo Trainer
Here are three strategies you can use today to improve your swimming.
Many triathletes struggle with their pacing. They don’t know how to manage their effort to achieve their best performance. If you start too fast, you’ll fatigue too soon. Go out to smooth, and you’ll fall short of your potential or get stuck in a slow pack.
The Tempo Trainer can solve this problem by helping you learn to pace. Let’s say you want to practise swimming at exactly 2:00/100m and you’re in a 25m pool. Just set the trainer to beep every 30 seconds, then make sure you get to the wall every 30 seconds.
If you start too fast or too slow, you’ll know, and you can make the adjustment. For more details about this specific topic and practical sets, check the below video out:
Taking longer strokes is a key aspect of effective swimming. However, it’s tough to know if you’re improving your stroke length. One way is to count your strokes.
While it’s really effective, some individuals struggle to count consistently, or they just don’t want to! Here’s an alternative.
Set the Tempo Trainer at a stroke rate that is comfortable for you. Then try to swim progressively faster over the same distance without changing the stroke rate. The only way to do so is to take longer strokes.
It’s a fun game that provides immediate feedback as to how well you’re doing. For more details about this specific topic and practical sets, check the below video out:
Some triathletes really struggle with maintaining a solid stroke rate, or how fast they move their arms. They’re too patient and it’s costing them speed. If you can speed up your arms and sustain that speed, you can go faster.
However, it’s tough to force yourself to do so, or even know if you’re being successful. To solve this problem, just pop in the Tempo Trainer, set it for a stroke rate that’s just out of your comfort zone and aim keep up with the beeps.
Over time, you’ll make progress and you’ll get better at achieving and maintaining a higher stroke rate, which means faster swimming.
For more details about this specific topic and practical sets, you can check out this video:
Top image credit: James Mitchell