Updated: Oct 23, 2019
If you've ever completed a swimming or triathlon race, you'll likely to have experienced what I call the 'hundred hump'. This is when you're ready and pumped at the start line, hear the bang and then go out really hard, thinking 'wow I'm swimming super fast' only to feel your lungs burning and need to 'stop for air' after 50-100m. There's no shame! We've all done it!
If you've trained to start your race with a sprint then knock yourself out! However, most of us haven't and would be more satisfied with a race that we could complete in a good time without stopping and good pacing awareness is the key!
Remember in endurance swimming (400m+), the fastest swimmers are the ones with the highest AVERAGE pace. Knowing your race distance and ideal finish time are key:
For example, if you want to finish your Sprint Triathlon in 15 minutes then you'll need to average 2:00 / 100m.
Ask yourself these questions...
- Can you swim continuously for your race distance? (Technique work will only really help with this up to a point, after which you just need to bite the bullet)
- Have you ever tested how far you can swim at one continuous speed? (Why not?!)
- Do you do any swimming specific fitness training? (More on this next week!)
Answer yes to these questions and well done, you're already well on your way to significantly improved race speed and performance.
Here's a table that might help you start to understand a bit more about pacing:
Generally, a Sprint or Olympic Distance Triathlon should be swam at an RPE of 7-8 or starting to/breathing hard. As the distance increases, the ability of the body to sustain a high energy output goes down, so you'll need to swim slower the longer you go and crucially START the swim swimming slower to avoid the 'hundred hump'.
Come along to my 'Improve your Pacing' Session to try out your different speeds and ability to sustain them on Tuesday 22nd October and the 'Increase your Stroke Rate' Session on Tuesday 15th October. BOOK NOW.
Contact me for a Video Analysis Session.
Until next time!