This month’s session were written for the April/ May issue of H20pen magazine, you will possibly recognise some of our squad and the lovely outdoor Richmond Pools on the Park featuring in the article, alongside the training sessions. Our super popular open water/ wetsuit session in the outdoor pool on Monday evenings will be starting after Easter, so keep an eye on the news page and our weekly squad email update for the dates and details.
Thank you to Neil, Richard and Nathan for featuring in the article I wrote this month!
Developing the ability to finish strong in an event can mean the difference between a mediocre and excellent performance. This month’s session is designed to help you gain three key outcomes:
1) identify the type of ‘engine’ you predominantly have
2) understand and train your strength as a key asset in your performance repertoire
3) develop the ability to swim strongly as you complete an identified race or event distance, rather than fade to finish
Firstly, start by reviewing your CSS (Critical Swim Speed) data from recent tests. If you deduce that you are more of a ‘petrol’ engine due to the proportionately higher rate of pace decline, you should aim to incorporate some training to help improve ability to pace evenly, hold back a little at the beginning and gradually be able to sustain your natural turn of pace/ sprint for further at the end of sets or a race. If you decide that you are more ‘one paced’ and have no issue holding a strong steady pace, but have limited ability to sprint fast then you are probably more of a ‘diesel’ engine. Your CSS 400m and 200m times will practically be identical on paper in average pace terms. This type of swimmer benefits from developing their ability to gradually ramp up the pace and sustain a higher effort over a longer duration towards the end of races. Sprinty petrol engines will tend to find the relentless upping of pace difficult to match, as the diesel swimmer will just keep going!
Knowing where your strengths lie allows you to better execute your race strategy. By understanding when and how to unleash your finishing effort can mean timing your fast sprint effort and drafting tactically behind until that point, or deciding to when to begin gradually ramping up the pace as you approach the finish with the aim of dropping your competitors. Either option can be utilised effectively with specific training to know how best to employ a fast finish and increase in pace that your competitors will find difficult to respond to. Having this information is essential when you conduct your course recon, to help find sighting points to indicate when you should time your finishing effort according to whether it’s a sprint or sustained ramping up of speed.
Once you have identified the predominant type of swimmer you are (more one-paced or able to sprint short distances fast) the following sessions will help you develop your natural asset into more of a performance strength. Anything is trainable, if you have a specific goal in mind, ie: to be able to sprint fast at the end of a race, or sustain a longer ramping up type effort, and the sessions below will provide opportunities to work on both elements. The very nature of open water swimming/ triathlon competition environment means that you need to be versatile, so knowing where your strengths lie and how to deploy them most effectively, will be a big confidence booster on race day. Aim to identify exactly how far you can sustain a strong sprint for or the limit of your ramped up pace in distances as you work through the sessions and progression ideas below.