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Trust Me! There is Method in the Madness!  The Monday Swim Squads introduction to the Finis Tempo Trainer

This mornings Monday Squad was our busiest yet. With 17 swimmers looking forward to an endurance session I needed the help of some little yellow friends. No, I'm not talking swimming pool minions, I mean the Finis Tempo Trainer. 

Prior to the session I had already worked out what the swim set was (obviously) but more importantly, I knew who was coming and what their critical swim speed (CSS) per 100m was (for more about CSS click here). Knowing this I was able to plan lane-specific sessions that took into account the ability of individual swimmers within the lanes. Within each lane, a leader was nominated and they were issued with a Tempo Trainer that was pre-programmed to their particular goal pace for the intervals. The rest of the swimmers in the lane simply had to swim behind the leader safe in the knowledge that if they maintain the gap then they are on-pace.  The overall session was a pyramid in terms of distance (133, 200, 266, 333 etc (its a 33m pool)) but we adjusted the tempo trainers throughout the session so the pace quickened for each interval (the first interval was set to CSS/100m + 4 seconds, the second +3, the third +2 and so on right down to CSS/100m MINUS 2 seconds).

Swim Smooth squad sessions (our squads follow the Swim Smooth methodology) regularly use Tempo Trainers in the way described because it has a multitude of benefits, including:

  • Providing athlete-specific workouts
  • Works on pacing skills
  • Breaks up the sometimes monotonous swim sets
  • Maintains athlete focus throughout the session
  • Builds teamwork within the group/lane

During this particular session we were using the Tempo Trainer and 'swimming to the beep'. This meant that the swimmers simply had to make sure that they were hitting the wall to turn as the trainer beeped. They then had a 'full beep recovery' (this varied between about 29 and 50 seconds per length depending on the ability within the lane). Another way of using the beeper is by changing the setting so that it beeps every other length and 'beating the beep'. This means you earn your rest by swimming ahead of the beep. This method is more flexible in that it allows the swimmers to vary their pace BUT if they are not sensible they can start off far too quickly and risk running out of gas before the end of the interval/set/session. 

This session was the Monday squads introduction to the Tempo Trainer so there was some additional instruction needed which did take a few minutes extra. Within a few sessions they will be tuned-in to how it all works and will really start to enjoy they way the 'beepers' make the sessions so much more dynamic. Well done to todays lane leaders for doing a great of keeping everyone on track – there's plenty more where that came from!

If you are a Do3 Squad Member I can supply the Finis Tempo Trainers for £32 (RRP £43) or click here to buy on Amazon.

 

Interested in finding out more about the Do3 Swim Squads at Stratford upon Avon Leisure Centre or wish to sign up?  Click Here

other reports by: David Knight
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