Active Blu - Open Water Venue.

Active Blu - Open Water Venue.

Friday, 4 January 2013

CSS your New Year.

It is 2013, time for a new start and to get back into the pool. 
Many of us may have already made resolutions this year, now it’s time to make one to improve your swimming?
Perth - Claremont Pool
Let’s start with working out exactly where you are with your swimming by performing a Critical Swim Speed (CSS) Time Trial. Now try not to worry, we are just testing your current maintainable swim pace over 1500m.

Basically we are going to get you to swim two timed swims, 1 x 400m and 1x 200m. The 400m swim approximately assesses your current aerobic or endurance capacity whereas the shorter 200m swim looks more closely at your anaerobic or sprint ability. Some people by way of physiology or type of training they have been doing perform better at sprint-based events, however, to be truly proficient in endurance events it is your aerobic capacity that we trying to target and develop with CSS training.

The maths used to calculate your CSS pace are actually very simple and just look at the drop-off between your 200m and 400m times. Those athletes with the ability to sustain a pace over a long period will see relatively little difference between the two times, whereas those with more of an affinity for sprinting will see a greater drop-off. By calculating your CSS you have a very simple benchmark from which to develop. These tests serve as a useful guidance and training tool and can be retested every 4 to 6 weeks to show improvements gained. (Find out more about CSS)

Case Study
After coaching in Perth for the last three months I got my chance to join the squad in the water, today focused on re testing the squads CSS. We got straight into the 4.8km set and incorporated the two timed swims 1 x 400m TT, followed shortly after by 1 x 200m TT. 
4.8km CSS Set
My times:

400m TT = 5m 46sec

200m TT = 2m 48Sec

This works out my CSS = 1m29sec / 100m

When compared to the previous test taken 12 weeks ago, the results show an improvement of 13 sec over the 12 week period. Working out to be an improvement of  1.083 sec per week.

The results also show a very small drop off between the 400m and 200m TT, indicating that as a swimmer I would go better over longer distances. This is expected as my training is currently focused towards swimming a 20km open water swim to Rottnest Island, Perth.

Now these results are not what we would expect to see, on average we would like to see an approximate improvement of 4/5% or 4/5 secs over a 10 week period.
So why such an improvement?
  • I had done little swim training in the 2 months before test 1.
  • I became more consistent with my training before test 2.
  • I had increased the number of swim sessions per week after test 1.
  • Training sessions consisted of strength, threshold, open water and technique. not think too long about this, get down the pool, record your times and work out your current CSS. All the maths can be worked out on the SwimSmooth website or using the iphone app.

To all my squad members both Active Blu and Kendal Triathlon Club, please jump in the pool for testing and email your CSS in preparation for some of the sessions I will be sending through to you. This will also help towards planning the sessions for you in March on my return. email:


1 comment:

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