How Do I Find My Tempo Range?

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

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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 Tempo Range

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

    First, you should have determined what your Comfortable Tempo TC is. Please read and follow the instructions in How Do I Find My Comfortable Tempo?

    You will use your current comfortable SPL N and your current comfortable tempo TC. Starting in the faster direction, you will swim several lengths maintaining that SPL N. Start with your TT set to your TC and swim 2x 25. If you can easily maintain your SPL with precise strokes, speed up tempo by -0.04. When it feels a little challenging to hold SPL and precision at a certain tempo then speed up the tempo in smaller increments, like -0.02 or -0.01. When it gets more challenging, then you may (just once) add 1 stroke to your SPL (N+1) and keep going. When you can just barely hold your SPL N+1 at that tempo, you may consider that your current Fast Tempo Threshold. 

    You can do that same process in the opposite, slower direction. Start with your TT set to your TC and swim 2x 25. In this direction, you will likely lower your SPL N for a few tempo steps, then it will no longer increase. When either you cannot maintain balance or you cannot lower your SPL further (without more effort or strain), you may consider this to be your current Slow Tempo Threshold.

    A swimmer might work through a series of repeats working toward her Fast Tempo Threshold, like this…

    • Start at 1.45 and SPL is at 21
    • 1.41 and SPL is at 21 easily
    • 1.37 and SPL is at 21 is OK
    • 1.33 and SPL is not stable, 21-22
    • 1.29 and SPL is at 22 OK
    • 1.27 and SPL is at 22, but very shaky
    • 1.25 and SPL goes up to 23
    • 1.26 and SPL is at 22, but shaky
    • She swims 2x 25 at 1.26 with barely SPL 22 and confirms this is her Fast Tempo Threshold


    ~ ~ ~

    ~ Coach Mat

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