Swim T-Pace

T-pace is a term used to describe the “Threshold Pace” for swim training for triathletes. Threshold is the term used for a pace that can be sustained for a minimum time or distance. It is typically used in conjunction with qualifying descriptions such as “Lactate Threshold”, “Anaerobic Threshold” or “Ventilatory threshold”.

Thankfully, the simple phrase “Threshold pace” can be easily identified without any of the expensive equipment needed for the other types of thresholds mentioned.

Why is it important to identify a triathlete’s threshold pace for swimming?

This pace serves two purposes. First of all, the test can be used to measure improvements from month to month, season to season or year to year. If you use the same testing protocol, you can directly compare the paces that result to see if you have either gotten faster or slower. Or at the beginning of the season, it’s used simply to establish your current baseline for training.

Secondly the test can be used to help establish training zones or paces for different types of swim training. You do the test, then using some simple math at about the 3rd grade level, you can set training zones for your swim practices.

3 x 100 Yards/Meters T-Pace Test

If you’re new to swimming (or perhaps a bit rusty), you can determine your T-Pace with this test. Keep the pace each set within 5 seconds of each other: 

  1. Warm up
  2. Rest for 2 minutes
  3. Swim 100 meters at a consistent pace
  4. Rest for 15 seconds
  5. Swim a second 100 meters at the same pace
  6. Rest for 15 seconds
  7. Swim a third and final 100 meters at the same pace
  8. Rest and cool down

Calculate your T-Pace by adding together the time from all 3 of the 100 meter efforts (excluding the rest periods), and divide by 3. For example, if your times were 2:24, 2:27, and 2:31, you would divide 7:22 by 3, resulting in a T-Pace of 2:27.

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