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By: Great Swim23 March 2017
If improving your swimming technique is high on your list, take a look at these tips from our partner CLIF Bar.
Testing will help you to know if the training you are doing is making you faster. It doesn’t really matter what distance you pick as long as it’s the same each time, but shorter tests are easier to undertake in busy public lanes. A 400m maximal time trial (TT) followed by 10min recovery then a 200m TT has been shown to be a good way to work out your threshold or ‘Critical Swim Speed’ (CSS) pace. CSS is the best pace you can maintain for 1500m and once you have this data you can build your training around accurate paces. Aim to test at the beginning, middle and towards the end of your training (as a minimum).
Swimming well doesn’t mean it should be easy all the time. Too many swimmers plod up and down the lanes at a slow pace when in reality it is far more effective to break your swim session into harder reps. Instead of swimming 800m, swim 8 x 100m at the fastest pace you can manage for all 8 reps and with minimal rest (10-25secs). Aim to get faster, take less rest, or add more distance as the weeks go on, each is a good example of how to progress your training so you don’t get stuck in a rut.
‘If you can swim fast, you can swim slow’! True, but if you swim fast for too long your technique will break down and you’ll train all the wrong muscles, so make time for sessions where you swim fast reps, but stop before your technique changes due to fatigue. In these sessions, you should take lots of rest so that your technique is maintained. A good example would be 20 x 25m fast with 60-90sec recovery. If your form breaks down, stop.
Joel Enoch is CLIF Bar's nutritional ambassador in the UK. A recognised authority on sports nutrition, he is a 9x GB ag-group triathlete and coaches one of the leading Triathlon Squads in the UK – the CLIF Bar Sponsored ‘Hartree JETS’.