Smart triathletes keep track of their training paces. If you want to get faster, you have to know how fast you’re swimming. However, smarter triathletes keep track of their paces and their effort levels.
Triathlon is a sport of sustainability. It’s not just about speed, it’s about speed at appropriate effort. You don’t have to just swim faster to improve. If you can swim at the same speed with less effort, that’s going to be a major victory as well. Let’s take a look at how to implement it into your swim training.
Subjective or objective?
How do you define your effort? You can keep it simple and low-tech and just rate your effort on a scale of 1 (effortless) to 10 (maximal). It might not seem particularly vigorous, but subjective measures have been validated by research.
If you want to be a little more objective, take your heart rate and use that as your effort gauge. Either approach works, so pick one and be consistent with it.
Track progress over time
The simplest way to use this concept is to pay attention, and write down, how hard it was to complete a certain set or swim a certain speed. Over time, rather than trying to swim faster, you want to try to reduce your effort level for the same speed. When you can, that means you’re improving your fitness.
It’s going to be really helpful for triathlon racing because you’ll be able to finish the swim at the same speed, with more energy for the rest of the race. That’s a big deal.
Descend at the same effort level
Within a single set, you can focus on trying to go faster while keeping your effort the same. You can pick an effort level of your choice, and over a series of repetitions, you can try to swim faster without any additional effort. If you can, you’re finding ways to swim faster without additional fatigue.
That means you won’t run the risk of fatiguing prematurely, and you’ll still be swimming faster. That’s a big win for triathlon racing. A set like this can be performed over any repetition distance, for any number of repetitions, and at any effort level. Just get creative!
Reduce effort level at the same speed
This set is similar to the one above, except that instead of trying to swim faster, you’re going to try to swim easier.
You can pick a speed of your choice, and over a series of repetitions, you can try to swim easier rather than faster. If you can, you’re finding ways to swim more efficiently with less fatigue, all without sacrificing performance.
As above, a set like this can be performed over any repetition distance, for any number of repetitions, and at any effort level. Anything goes!
Top image credit: Iri Greco/BrakeThrough Media