Using A Swim Test Within Your Training
I typically see most athletes doing some sort of benchmark testing within their training, especially when it comes to swimming. However I don't always see those athletes using the result from that test within their training.
It can be much more effective and engaging for athletes to actually use their swim test results within their training.
1. Go test.
Your bench mark testing should be something that is repeatable every block of training. You can do a 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, it really doesn't matter. When you test, make sure you swim smart. A good friend of mine always described any TT effort like this:
-25% relaxed but fast, focusing on stroke rate and finding your rhythm
-50% focusing on your test effort with good body position and quick turns on the walls
-25% lifting the effort building in a bigger kick to finish
2. Using your test pace.
Use your pace per 100 as the slowest target pace you are working around within 1 specific workout each week. For the most part you will want to be slightly faster than this pace for this workout and use a total set duration that is slightly longer than your testing distance. As you get more fit, you'll gradually lengthen your intervals.
An example for a 1000 yard test would be a progression like this:
-Week 1: 4x200, 4x100
-Week 2: 6x200
-Week 3: 2x300, 3x200
-Week 4< ... Keep on building
*If you start to slip or get tired, PUT FINS ON and keep the same effort.
3. Rest interval.
When starting out, give yourself a little longer rest between the intervals (say :30-:40), as you get more fit, you can knock the rest interval down to :10-:15.
4. In summary... don't overthink it.
2. Swim a set with total duration slightly longer than your test interval.
3. Start with shorter intervals for that set and progress to longer
4. Start with longer rest between the intervals and progress to shorter
5. If you get tired, slap on the fins!
This sounds simple because it is, but not all athletes do it and it's a nice way to focus on a bit more than simply completing the workout.