pacing swimming correctly
Do you struggle to swim all your reps at a nice consistent pace? The Tempo Trainer can help with this! A popular set I might give people is 4 x 400m. If you had a target of swimming 8 minutes per 400m, we can set the Tempo Trainer to 'bleep' every 30 seconds (for a 25m pool). All you then have to do is swim in time with the bleeps (A bit like the dreaded Bleep Test at school!) and BINGO! You'll not only swim every rep in 8 minutes exactly, you'll also pace every single length at the correct speed. A really good way to nail your set perfectly. I also use this mode for longer swims to keep a nice even pace throughout - and also to help with counting (you know exactly how long your swim should take if you stay in time with the bleeps!)
Setting off on specific times
No pool clock? Or just rubbish at maths? The Tempo Trainer can help! If your main set was 15 x 100m setting off every 2:00, we can set the Tempo Trainer to bleep every 2 minutes - no need to look at the clock any more. We can take this a step further...! Using the pool clock you might be setting off every 2:00, if you wanted to try going a little faster you'd have to swap to 1:55 - this is quite a big jump to make! Using the Tempo Trainer we can do 15 x100m off 1:59 or 1:58 etc! So we can be super specific about what times we work too! Really useful for fine tuning your sessions.
Increasing stroke rate
Some swimmers have a nice long relaxed stroke but struggle with getting their 'stroke rate' (turnover or cadence) up. The Tempo Trainer can be used to increase this. First step, find out your current stroke rate, then programme this into the Tempo Trainer. Maybe try a few lengths swimming at your regular tempo, aim to enter each hand in time with the bleep. Next step, increase the bleep by between 3-5 beats per minute. You can then do some reps getting used to swimming with a higher stroke rate, I'd recommend something like 8 x 50m . (Don't try doing a whole session of this, its a gradual process, and I'd recommend using this method like a 'drill')
Slowing down Stroke rate
We can do exactly the opposite of the above to help slow down someone's stroke rate.This is particularly useful with beginner swimmers who thrash around too much and need to slow down and relax. To do this, follow the above steps, but decrease the stroke rate by between 5-20 strokes per minute. You can do this for a whole session if you really need to work on slowing things down.
(We can also use the same setting to help pace our open water training. Many people set off too fast with the absence of a pool clock - swimming at a set tempo ensures we go at the correct speed!)
Creating an even stroke rate
Another thing I've found the Tempo Trainer useful for is developing rhythm and timing. Lets use an example of someone that breathes every 3 strokes, but they pause quite a bit on the breath. It might look/sound a little like this...
'1,2, Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe, 1,2 Breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe'
When ideally we want an even stroke rate like this...
Using the Tempo Trainer on your regular stroke rate speed but aiming to keep hand entry in time with the bleeps will correct this issue and bring good timing into your stroke!
Hopefully that gives you some ideas of what you can use a Tempo Trainer for!
As a swimming and triathlon coach I am finding myself giving more and more swimmers reasons to use one in their training!
So if you are looking for the next gadget to add to your swim bag... this is probably it!
Drop any questions on the comments below and I'll try respond ASAP :)
You can buy a Tempo Trainer here: