How Do I Find My Comfortable Tempo?

Forums Library Training FAQ How Do I Find My Comfortable Tempo?

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    Mat Hudson

    Every swimmer – trained or not – has a range of tempo he/she can swim with right now. That might be a range on the fast side or a range on the slow side, but nonetheless each person can move their arms through the stroke cycle at some tempo. Whether that range is suitable for your goal is another question. But don’t worry, your tempo range can be expanded fairly easily.


    Finding Your Current Comfortable Tempo

    You should play with your Tempo Trainer to find out what tempo range you currently find comfortable.

    You will use your current comfortable SPL and you will swim several lengths maintaining that SPL. Start with your TT set to about 1.45 and swim one length. If that feels too fast, slow down the TT by +0.04 and swim another length. If that starting tempo of 1.45 feels too slow, then speed up the TT by -0.04 and swim another length.

    Repeat that process of adjusting tempo and swimming another length, until the tempo feels more comfortable, which means you can maintain your normal SPL at that tempo indefinitely. As you get closer to that comfortable center tempo (TC) make smaller changes, like +0.02 or +0.01.

    When you feel that you have found a tempo close enough to your comfortable center, then that can be your first TC. As you train more with tempo your TC will certainly move.

    A swimmer might work through a series of repeats trying to zero in on her comfortable tempo, like this…

    • Start at 1.45 and it feels too fast
    • 1.45 + 0.04 = 1.49 still feels a bit too fast
    • 1.49 + 0.02 = 1.51 not sure
    • 1.51 + 0.02 = 1.53 feels a little too slow
    • 1.53 – 0.02 = 1.51 feels better
    • 1.51 – 0.01 = 1.50 feels just right
    • Swim another length at 1.50 again to confirm that this feels like a normal tempo


    ~ ~ ~

    ~ Coach Mat

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