Tempo Swim Sets



The Swim Sets

These ‘tempo’ focused swim sets are designed to help you lift your critical swim speed (CSS). If you’re not familiar with this term, it is like your FTP in cycling or akin to your aerobic swim threshold.  The tipping point at which you start to work more and more anaerobically.  Tempo sessions can therefore be characterised as longer higher intensity intervals working at or around CSS pace.

How Tempo session work

To perform these sessions in-line with the pace targets, you will first need to do a CSS test, which is the first session in the set.  To then be able to hit the targets, you would ideally use a tempo trainer or wear a set of smart goggles that provide pace feedback.

However, don’t worry if you don’t have either of these pieces of kit.  Every interval is also described as an effort out 10, 10 being a full on sprint.  This is a very legitimate way of training and is how we set all of our Endurance and Speed sets. Perform each interval as described and if you have a triathlon/sports watch tracking your session, you can assess how well you are gauging your pacing in post-session analysis.

The best part is, every one of the 15 sessions has a specific purpose, which you can learn about from the individual coach briefing videos. So no more heading to the pool with no idea of what you are doing or why you are doing it!

We really recommend paring these conditioning sets with our Technique Developer Series and work on your technique at the same time by slotting the technique warm-up sets in place of the standard warm-up in the Tempo Swim Sets.

These Tempo Swim Sets are grouped according to distance.  So if you know roughly how far you can swim in a typical session, all you need to decide is which swim distance to go for that suits that current level and add to your basket.  All the sessions will then match that grouping i.e. 2500m; 3000m; or 3800 – 4000m.

Looking to build to build up to a specific distance? Try one of our Swim Builder plans designed to take from your current level up to race distance.

What you will need?

In order to follow this series, you will need at least a free Training Peaks account.

Some of the sessions contain pull buoy sets to enable you to focus on the front end of your stroke. We therefore recommend purchasing a pull buoy if you don’t already have one. They’re pretty cheap don’t worry!

We would also recommend purchasing a Training Peaks premium subscription to enable you to move the sessions around to suit your schedule.

Otherwise, best of luck with the sessions!

Next Steps

  • Firstly, set yourself up with a free Training Peaks account if you don’t already have one – Training Peaks
  • Once you have ordered the plan, you will receive a confirmation email, which will contain a link asking you to add us as your coach on Training Peaks
  • If you have any stipulations regarding the import of the plan (e.g. start date) let us know before the next step
  • Click the link and add us as a coach and we’ll import the plan into your Training Peaks account
  • Then off you go!

Additional information

Session Distance

Circa 2000m, Circa 2500m, Circa 3000m, 3800 – 4000m