We’ve all heard about sustainable agriculture, but what about sustainable swimming? For most triathletes, especially Ironman triathletes, hitting a sustainable pace in the swim leg is the key to a great race. Here’s a set that will help you lock into that pace.
Prior to starting this set, you should know your average pace per 100 for a long swim — either a T-15, T-30, or a mile for time. Calculate this pace BEFORE you head to the pool. For example, if you can swim 1000 yards in 15 minutes, your average pace per 100 is 90 seconds (1:30). Whatever this pace turns out to be for YOU, this is a good aerobic pace for you — it’s the pace you can sustain for 15 to 30 minutes (the swim time in most triathlons). If you are swimming an Ironman, you will be swimming for an hour or more, and your pace will probably be a bit slower. Take this into account if you are training for an Ironman and you are doing this set.
OK. Now take your aerobic pace for a long swim (as calculated above) and do a long main set where you will be swimming at your aerobic pace (no faster and no slower) for the entire set. Here’s the set:
30 X 100 on the tightest sendoff you can manage that ALSO allows you to swim EVERY 100 at your aerobic pace, with no falloff during the set. For some, this might be a sendoff that gives about 30 seconds rest. Others might need 20 seconds rest or 15. It depends on your fitness. You should feel in control for the entire set. If you are struggling on the first 5 X 100 or 10 X 100, you should change to an easier sendoff.
1st 10 X 100 are swim
Take an extra 60 seconds rest after the first 10 X 100.
2nd 10 X 100 are pull (at your aerobic pace). Use any breathing pattern, but breathe an equal amount to the right and to the left. If your pull time is slower than your swim time, adjust your sendoff upward. Stay in your aerobic zone.
Take an extra 60 seconds rest after the second 10 X 100.
3rd 10 X 100 are swim.
Don’t try to swim fast on these. Try to hit your aerobic pace on each one. Be consistent. Lock into how many strokes you are taking per length. Keep your breathing relaxed and consistent. Try taking your pulse after every five or ten 100s to see if you are at an aerobic HR or if your HR is creeping up. This would also be a good set for a Tempo Trainer, set in either Mode 1 or Mode 2.