Choosing A Suitable Tempo for Your Event

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Before choosing a suitable tempo you first need to have established an suitable stroke per length (SPL) for your purposes. Then you can consider what tempo is appropriate with that SPL, and how much expansion you will need in your tempo range to be able maintain that SPL x Tempo combination.

You may view these charts to get some idea of what pace is produced by various SPL x Tempo combinations:

As you increase tempo you will be challenged to maintain SPL consistently. Tempo control adds another level of complexity for the brain. When you are new to tempo control, while focused on holding your stroke to the beep, if your SPL count goes (too high) out of your optimal stroke count, or Green Zone, likely something fell apart in your technique. If you are using an SPL lower than your Green Zone, you may likely find it more difficult to achieve higher Tempos – there is a critical relationship between your ideal SPL and your ideal Tempo. It gets harder, if not impossible to work at either extreme.

Your goal is to keep your SPL in the Green Zone, while working to gradually increase the Tempo you can maintain inside that Green Zone, and work on this in short repeats. You will first work on being successful in short lengths before expecting to be successful on several uninterrupted lengths.

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