Thoughts on Pacing:
Learning proper pacing during the swim is one of the most important areas of triathlon, and easily overlooked. The saying, "You won't win a race in the water, but you can definitely lose it," holds true for many reasons. The most important being pacing.
Properly pacing the swim leg can result in a much more efficient race; appropriate energy exertion in the water translates to a fresher mind and body on the bike. The last thing you want is to feel bagged while starting a 20km, 40km, 90km, or 180km bike ride because you went too hard, or even too easy during the swim.
In our last few sessions we have worked on proper pacing based on our 500m TT tests. The reason Coach Charles and I had you do these tests is to establish a baseline for each individual. Swimming in lanes with your fellow club mates is great and can encourage competitive spirit. However, if you are not focusing on training at the optimum levels, then we are wasting our time in the water.
As discussed on the pool deck, the 500m TT pace is just that, a Time Trial; meaning your maximum output for 500m in the water. Just like we do 20min power tests on the bike, or 3k and 5k runs, this value establishes a starting point to base other speeds off of. This means that if you are racing a 750m swim, then you should be very close to that pace, but not at it; 1-2 seconds per 100m slower would be a good goal. 1500m, 2-4 seconds per 100m. 1900m, 3-5s. 3800m, 4-7s. (This is an estimated range and would vary for each athlete)
How will we know what 1-2 seconds, etc, feels like? By making sure when we are doing easy, steady, hard , fast intervals, and focusing on what that feels like every time. Use your watch, or the giant pace clock on the wall. Make a mental note each time we change speeds, what that felt like. Were your strokes per length the same, did you breath every second or third stroke, did you feel winded too early on, did it feel too easy? Being able to discern these feelings on your own is key to properly pacing oneself in the water, the bike, and the run.
As we progress through the winter/spring training season, we will continue to work on pacing each session. We will be bringing out some more workouts that force you to properly pace at risk of burning out too early, or alternatively, feeling like you didn't work hard at all.
I look forward to seeing each of you on Friday. Nothing beats a great workout before relaxing on a Friday night.
If anyone has any questions regarding pacing tips, or anything with their training, don't hesitate to ask!