The Joys of CSS

In Uncategorized by Charlotte OBeirne

Session planning was simple this week. Each session the same…a CSS test. The dilemma as coach, aside from how quick fingers could press the stop watch and record who came in, in what order and how many lengths they had actually done, was wether to tell swimmers at the start of the session or after the warm up that they would be doing a 400m and 200m time trial. The mind is such a powerful enabler or inhibitor!

There were a few things evident from the results:

  • Most people went out at a harder pace than they could sustain.
  • Those that really did listen to the brief and go 75/80% effort for the first 100 bought it home so much stronger and had brilliant pacing.
  • If you have a red colour next to your name you need to work on your pacing if you want to swim around the Jetty, to Rottnest, or do any longer swim.

Looking at the results

css-nov-2016 – These are the results.

The columns tell the time of your first 100m, your final 400m time, then the average pace per 100m, for the whole swim and then the last 300m.

Based on how much slower the average of the last 300m was gives a distance you would have been behind your original pace. Think the magic world record line at the Olympics.

From that figure you have then been allocated a colour. If it’s red you really need to slow down that first 100m. It always feels easier at the start of a swim. Your legs and arms move effortlessly and you move quickly though the water. Even though it feels easier it is faster and is stealing valuable energy you will wish you had for the end of the swim, when arms and legs feel heavy.

The next column shows your 200m time. For some of you, this was slower than half of your 400m time. You may have been tired, or paused more turning at the end of each length.

The next column shows your CSS results. This is the exact pace you should swim at to get the most benefit from your swimming and to build your endurance / diesel engine.

When you first swim at this pace it will seem really easy, almost too easy, especially if you go a short distance. That is because you are using your petrol engine and that super charged machine helps you sprint. If you want to get around the Jetty however you need to build your diesel engine and learn to swim slower. Over time this diesel pace will get faster. Trust me! This concept was alien to me and I had to test and test it. I finally trusted it and it helped me get to Rottnest Island 30 minutes quicker, training at a pace 10 seconds slower per 100m than before.

My goal is to help you all get out of the red, to reduce your fall off pacing and help you become stronger diesel engines. We will be having swim sessions where you aim to swim at your CSS pace or a variation on it. To help you with this we shall be using Tempo Trainers. If you have one bring it to training. There are only a few for each group to share so if you want your own, you can buy one here. (They are a great investment for running and riding too!)

Feel free to ask any questions and if you couldn’t make this week do those swims yourself and send me the times. I will plot you on the pacing wall.