This week, on the GoSwim discussion forum, someone asked the question: Do you actually get faster using the Tempo Trainer? There’s no guarantee that ANY pool tool will make you faster. You have to put in the time and the work. But with that said, here’s a Tempo Trainer set that will help you push the pace in your next middle-distance freestyle race or sprint triathlon.
Here’s the set (and this should be done AFTER your warmup and after an initial set that gets your heart rate going):
1. First, do some simple math. Think about what your average time would be for a set of, say, 6 X 100 free on a 25-second rest interval. Let’s say your average swim time would be 1:20. Turn that number into seconds (80 seconds) and divide by 4 (20 seconds).
2. Now get your Tempo Trainer into Mode 2. To do this, scroll up till the TT reads 9.99 seconds. Then hit the right-hand button once again and you will enter Mode 2, in which the TT scrolls in seconds from 10 seconds to 9.59 minutes. If your average 100 time was 1:20, set the TT to beep every 20 seconds. If your average 100 time was 1:32, set the TT to beep every 23 seconds. You get the idea. When you are in Mode 2, you will hear a triple beep, rather than a single beep.
3. Now get ready to start the set. Ignore the clock on this set. Pay attention only to the BEEP BEEP BEEP.
4. Swim 3 X 100. Push off on the BEEP BEEP BEEP, and at each turn try to have your feet hit the wall on the BEEP BEEP BEEP. Ditto for the finish. Your rest interval is 20 seconds… or 21 seconds… or 22 seconds, etc. Whatever the interval is on your TT, THAT’S your rest interval. If you are wildly off on hitting each turn on the BEEP BEEP BEEP, take some extra time to readjust the TT up or down. By the end of 3 X 100, you should have things calibrated pretty well and it’s time to continue the set.
5. Without changing the TT setting, swim the following, giving yourself one or two TT "intervals" as rest between each swim. Again, pay no attention to the pace clock. Do your swimming and resting according to the TT.
1 X 200
1 X 100
1 X 300
1 X 100
1 X 400
At this point (a 1400-yard set) you can stop. You can also keep going up the ladder or you can work your way down again.
The idea of the set is that you establish a moderately fast pace on the 100s. This is a pace that would be slightly faster than your pace on a set of 200s. Then you try to maintain that pace as you swim longer and longer distances. By coming back to a 100 after every "long" swim, you re-establish the base pace.
After you finish the set, try to swim a 100, 200, 300, or 400 without the TT, to see how close you can come to your pace — without the aid of the TT.