Swim swim swim... Preparation for my first triathlon!

I may be an experienced duathlete (well, mmm, hmm, I can still learn a lot) but I am a complete triathlon novice!  One of my goals in 2015 is to participate to my first triathlon but I am not going to set the bar too high initially; my plan is to start with a pool-based, sprint triathlon.


I am now attending the Monday swimming sessions run by my club WaldenTRI.  My club have been working with Philip Hatzis, a level-3 coach from “Tri Training Harder”, on a swim training framework for the first quarter of the year.  All the training will be based on a magic number called “Critical Swim Speed” (CSS), which is the estimated pace you are capable of doing for 1500+ meters.  More information on CSS can be found in Philip’s blog here http://tritrainingharderllpblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/swim-testing-critical-swim-speed.html


So my last swimming session on Monday was a bit of a surprise as I was not aware that it would be time-trial night.  The purpose of this session was to measure our CSS. For that, we have been asked to complete the following test: a 400m best effort, 200m best effort and a 50m best effort.  Argh, I am discovering that swimming is hard work.  It is the first time ever I swam a 400m and I found it hard physically and mentally.  At some point, I’ve had to take a couple of seconds rest after each length.  Having said that, having done the 400m first, I found the 200m and 50m relatively easier.


My swim times were slow but I now have at least a baseline to work from.  I completed the 400m in 9:20, 200m in 4:16 and 50m in 47 seconds.  I was quite happy about my 50m swim time.  As per the magic formula, my CSS is 2:32 per 100m and 38s per 25m.

The good average swimmers completed the 400m between 6mins and 7+mins; the very best swimmers from WaldenTRI are capable to do the same distance in less than 6mins.  So I think my first target for the next few months is to drop my 400m swim time from 9:20 down to 8mins.  I will keep you posted on my progress towards this first target... And then set the next one...

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