How To Pace Your Swim | Race Pace Swimming Tips and Workouts

How To Pace Your Swim | Race Pace Swimming Tips and Workouts

– Now a successful triathlon
requires more than simply trying to get from point a to point b as quickly as possible. It requires pacing. Now pacing is something that we hear about time and time again
within endurance sports and for a very good reason. Because I’m sure that many of
you watching this right now have experienced the effects
of a badly paced workout or a badly paced race. And the crashing burning
feeling that you get from this. Now to help us avoid doing
this, we try to keep track of things like our pace, our speed, our heart rate, our power
amongst other metrics. Which are all fairly easy to
do within cycling and running, but not so easy within swimming
and what’s more worrying is that the swim is the
first leg of the triathlon. Yet, there isn’t really any
way of gauging our effort or our pace within that. So if we do get our pacing
wrong within that first leg of a triathlon what could those knock on effects be for
later on in the race? Well to hopefully prevent you
from making these mistakes of it happening to you during a triathlon. I’m going to be explaining how
you can better pace your swim. And to help highlight the
benefits of a well paced swim we’ve teamed up with Form and
I’m going to be using their very fancy new Form
goggles with an augmented reality display within them. And I’m going to be using them
to dial into my ideal race pace. In a race situation it’s
very easy to get carried away with the excitement of the
race starting off way too fast. We also have the anticipation
of perhaps being swum over by other swimmers, but before you know it. You have just gone and set
yourself a PB for the first 400 meters in a triathlon. That is not going to end well. In fact, it’s likely that
you’ll end up swimming slower for that entire swim duration
than had you actually gone out a little bit more reserved and swum it more evenly
paced for the entire swim. Now this is something
that was drilled into me time and time again as a
very excitable youngster turning up to swim practice. And I’m sure many of you have
been on the receiving end of a coach lecturing
you on the same advice. So to prove that they
are talking some sense I thought we could have
a little bit of fun now. So I’m going to start off by
performing a 400 meter time trial. Pretty much in my usual
fashion, which is going off far too hard from the start. I’m well know for my horrific pacing so, I’m just going to race
this as I normally would. And then after that time
trial, I’m going to have a nice long recovery. I’m actually going to
switch my goggles over and put the Form swimming goggles on. And within one of these
lenses I have a see through augmented reality display showing me my metrics in real time. Which includes things like
my pace, my stroke rate, stroke count, distance,
my calories and so on. Now obviously today I’m going
to be focusing on my pace and my lap times and I’m
actually before I set off I’m going to workout a suitable
overall time for the 400 meters and the pace for that. So probably means that I’m
going to start out a little bit easier on the first 100 but hopefully a faster time overall. Well see. Ready. Go. (mellow music) Okay so first 400 meters on
just with my normal goggles on. I went a time of 4:30
so, fairly good time. That actually works out at a
pace of 1:07, or just over 1:07 per hundred, but I didn’t do that. No, I went out in a
1:03 for that first 100. I told you I wouldn’t disappoint you. Then I went 1:06, so still hanging on with a fairly good pace there. But then it started to
really crumble, 1:10 and then finishing off with a 1:11
and that felt horrific. I was absolutely ruined at the end. Definitely couldn’t keep going. But yeah obviously I
couldn’t check any of those splits until after the actual 400. So I had no idea what I was
actually swimming at time. Although I could tell
I was getting slower. I’m now going to do it
with the Form goggles on. Now I’m not as fit as I have been so I’d like to say ill go 4:20, but I’m not. I’m going to probably go
4:25, so five seconds quicker. That works out at a pace of
1:06, so I’m going to try to lock in to 106 with these goggles and have a little bit more
of a rest and off I go. (mellow music) Well I can confirm when I hit that water my goggles displayed
4:25, so I hit it bang on. I went out in 1:05 so
still couldn’t hold back. Couldn’t help myself, went
a little bit too hard. I then locked into the
1:06s, so 1:06, 1:06, 1:06. Came in with a point of a second
to 4:25, so bang on there. Also quite an important
thing actually is, although obviously it’s a max
effort, I gave it my all. I wasn’t falling apart on
that last 100 like I was on the previous 400. Which is really quite
important given that, if we were swimming and we’re
trying to pace ourselves well we wouldn’t want to be feeling maxed out and our arms pumped. So it definitely felt a lot better coming to the end of that 400. Okay I think that is a
fairly solid point proven. Pacing is key. Particularly given that we
still have to bike and run off the back of the
swim within a triathlon. So how do we go about pacing,
implementing it within our training and most
importantly pacing on race day? Well it is, like with most things, a case of practice makes perfect. If we’re arriving on race
day with no idea of the pace that is required or the effort
level required, how do you expect yourself to swim well? So we want to make sure that
we are practicing our required pace over and over within our training. Getting ourselves to the
point that we can eventually swim at this pace without actually having to refer to or rely upon a clock. Now normally we work out
our pace over 100 meters. So say for instance, you
might have a race pace of 1:30 per 100 meters, but obviously
you can break this down further to 25 meters or
50 meters depending on the length of the pool
that you’re using or the type of session that you’re doing. Now there are a couple of different methods to monitoring your pace. One of which is to use simply
a watch or a pace clock. You might find one on the
side of the pool and you can check your pace at the
end of each of your reps. Which works pretty well,
I’ve used that for years. One slight drawback to this
is that you can only check it at the end of each of your reps. So as your reps become
slightly longer the duration between you being able to check your pace becomes slightly longer. Opens up a slightly larger room for error. As I proved just before. Another method which is
new to the scene and rather exciting if you ask me,
is the Form swim goggles. And swimming has kind of been
stuck in the dark ages for some time no, but I do think that these are bridging the gap on that. And I also think that had I
had these a number of years ago it may well have fixed my
inability to pace back then. Maybe even saved me from
being told off by my old swimming coach countless times. But as I showed earlier these
really helped me to pace that 400 time trial a little bit better. I’ve also been using
it a little bit within my own swimming training
and using those realtime metrics that it displayed
within the lens to help me pace my reps better. Now there are countless
functions and metrics that can be displayed within
these lenses and you can change the configuration of those around. But I’ve particularly been
enjoying using the interval function and that will display your current pace, your splits times. So each time you tumble or
you turn it will start to rack up the distance for you and record that as a length completed. When you stop at the end of
the wall, it will automatically stop the timer, it will
give you your split time and it will start a recovery timer. When you then push off the
wall again, it will stop that recovery timer and start
you interval timer again. And again show you those
metrics on your pacing and give you your split time again at the end. All whilst not effecting the vision. Now both of these methods
obviously aren’t possible, can’t be used during racing or during
an open water environment. But that’s why it makes
it all that more important to use these during training. (mellow music) Now you may be wondering what is my pace and again you have a
couple of options here. If you’ve raced before you’ll
have a previous swim time that you can work out your
new predicted swim time from. Depending on your current
fitness level and how much you feel like you’ve progressed. Use that time, break that down
into a pace over 100 meters and try that out within training. If you just have a simply a target time, you haven’t raced before or you don’t have anything to
go off, use that target time, again break that down into
a pace over 100 meters. But really important here,
make sure if you try that out in training to make sure that it is okay. It is a little bit more
risky because obviously you don’t have anything to go off. Another option is to use
critical swim speed or CSS, that you may have heard
us talk about before. Now this requires you to
do a 400 meter time trial followed by a 200 meter
time trial, with around five to 10 minutes recovery
between both the time trials. Now these are both from a
push start and they should be an all out effort. And then usually your times
from those time trials you can input them into a CSS calculator
and that will give you your CSS pace. Now this isn’t necessarily your race pace. Although it tends to work
out quite nicely for around Olympic distance race pace,
but you should use this more as a guide a little bit
like you’re doing tempo or threshold efforts within
biking or running. Now in terms of sessions here
are a couple of my favorite race pace sessions that’ll
allow you to really dial into that required pace and get
you learning how it feels. So first session is four lots
of 100 at target race pace, followed by one 100 recovery. Repeat that through four
times to make 20 lots of 100. Take 20 to 30 second
recovery between each rep. Now another straight forward
but good session using slightly longer reps
is four lots of 400 all at target race pace with 30 to 40 seconds recovery between each rep. You can obviously start
off with fewer reps or a longer recovery
time and build up to four or even five reps with a shorter recovery. So try some of these sessions
out in your own training and really try to dial in
to that required race pace. So hopefully that becomes
second nature to you. The idea being, that come race day you won’t necessarily need
these pace clocks, clocks, watches or fancy goggles
because you had used them so much in the lead up to race day you’ll be so used to the pace in itself. Now I’ve really enjoyed using
these goggles from Form. If you do have any more
questions on them please do drop them in the comment section below. I’d be more than happy to
answer them and it’s also worth mentioning that Form
have actually teamed up with Polar and through that
linkup are now allowing you the ability to view heart
rate through the lens of the goggle when you’re using
the OH1 or the OH1 plus heart rate monitors that attach to the top of the goggle strap. And that function will be released just in a couple of months time. Now I personally think that this is a really exciting advancement
within the swimming market. So I’m really excited to
see where this goes and where this develops and
how it help us and further us within swimming. And if you have enjoyed
this video please do hit our thumbs up button and you’d
like to see more from GTN just click on the globe and
subscribe to the channel. If you’d like to find out
a little bit more about critical swim speed or
CSS, I’ve done a video breaking it down, explaining it, to see it by clicking just down here. If you’d like to see free
style stroke technique video you can see that by
clicking just down here.

25 thoughts on “How To Pace Your Swim | Race Pace Swimming Tips and Workouts

  • "Well, to hopefully you from making these mistakes, and happening to you during a triathlon…" …, we made them for you.

  • I remember racing an 800m freestyle against a local upcoming 'talent' once.
    I was determined to not lose to this upstart.
    And much to everyones suprise I could actually keep up with him…
    …for about 375 meters. After that it was the longes 800m of my life :p
    Pacing's important kids, hahaha

    Oh, and 4.25 is really damn quick. Makes me really curious about Mark's 50m and 100m times

  • Hey GTN

    Please do a feature on Johnny Sins of Sins TV who is turning to Triathlon.

    He's been a teacher
    A college lecturer
    A doctor
    A massage therapist
    A police officer
    A fireman
    A window cleaner
    A prison guard
    A delivery man
    He's served his country in the military.

    And now he's turning to Triathlon in hopes of one day becoming an Ironman.

    A GTN/Sins TV collab video would be awesome! Make it happen.

  • I have a similar set that's a bit more intense – 23 x 100 @ 1:40. 1 fast, 1 easy, 2 fast, 1 easy, 3 fast, 1 easy, 4 fast, 1 easy, 3 fast, 1 easy, 2 fast, 1 easy, 1 fast, 1 easy. interval should give 30-35 seconds rest. I usually average 1:05 on these. The hardest part is holding stroke on the 2nd half of the set particularly on the 2nd round of 3 fast…

  • how does this show the goggles help you pace yourself? You clearly went harder the second time around and by 7 seconds no less. It was a 4:23 not 4:25. This just shows that you warmed up with the first 400 effort. If you felt like you were slowing down in the first 400 then you should have sped up like you did in the second effort. What exactly were you trying to show?

  • Do they make these for cycling with speed pwr ect on the lens? also is it only one lens or both lens that the data is displayed on? and if it is in one lens only how does your brain perceive the image?

  • I really like the idea of these but these are a no go for open water. That is where I really think they’d be useful. Tried them out and they worked great in the pool but not at all in OWS and it was really hard to see the display in outdoor pool swimming since it’s much brighter.

  • You made a comment about not being able to use these in a race, why not? You can use watches and bike computers, is it to do with the no distractions rule as the display is always in your eye?

  • Does it pull the data off your watch? Not sure if it's for me as I can just check my watch at the end of each length very easily and no time lost as part of my open turn

  • I love my tech and have been toying with the idea of getting a pair of these goggles. but as far as pacing goes I've found using a Finis tempo trainer really helps and it costs a fraction of the price. also used in races for course PBs. Why should I go for Form over Finis?

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