Finding Your Current Comfortable Tempo

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If you don’t already have a guess as to what tempo to start with, in Mode 1 set your TT to 1.45 seconds and swim one length. If that feels too fast, slow down the TT by +0.03 and swim another length. If that starting tempo of 1.45 feels too slow, then speed up the TT by -0.03 and swim another length.

If you are not sure where to start or what is too fast or too slow compared to others, you may read more in What is a Functional Range of Tempo?

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 for a long swim (whatever is ‘long’ for you). As you hone in on that most comfortable tempo (which we label at ‘TC’) make smaller changes in tempo, like +0.02 or +0.01 until you hit the center of what feels comfortable.

When you feel that you have found a tempo close enough to your comfortable center, then that can be your first TC reference point. Keep in mind that as you train more with tempo your TC will certainly shift; as your skills and fitness expand, what feels like a fast tempo to you right now will become quite comfortable later on.

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

  • Starts at 1.45 and it feels too rushed
  • Changes to 1.45 + 0.03 = 1.48 and it still feels too rushed
  • Changes to 1.48 + 0.03 = 1.51 and it still feels fast, not as much
  • Changes to 1.51 + 0.03 = 1.54 and it feels easy, but perhaps slightly slow
  • Changes to 1.54 – 0.02 = 1.52 and it feels better
  • Changes to 1.52 – 0.01 = 1.51 and now it feels just right
  • She swim another couple lengths at 1.51 to confirm that this feels like the comfortable tempo TC.
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