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THRESHOLD PACE

What is it?

Anaerobic Threshold, in swimming, is the fastest pace a swimmer can hold over a minimum of thirty minutes (no breaks) while still being able to process/tolerate the build up of lactic acid. Threshold pace is faster than the pace needed to build their aerobic base and slower than their race pace. A swimmer’s threshold is not stagnant and can be affected by age, sex, weight, overall health and fitness, etc. The best part about an athlete’s threshold is that it can be improved. Determining threshold pace will improve any swimmer’s training regimen because:

  1. Focus. They will be able to accurately target their individual threshold which will help them determine their workout pace and intervals and lead to more significant improvements.

  2. Stamina. Swimming at threshold pace will improve both the athlete’s endurance and ability to process lactic acid.

  3. Translation. Improving a swimmer’s threshold in the pool will also improve their threshold in other endurance events, like triathlons!





HEART RATE COLOR ZONE CHART

WHITE

EN-1

RECOVERY

130 – 150 BPM

5% SLOWER THAN NORMAL

Low Intensity

200m pace + :30-40

Short rest 10 – 20 sec rest

Example Set:

1 x 900 Alt. Pull/Kick/Swim by 100, :20 rest

1 x 400 Alt. 50 Drill / 50 easy swim

Focusing on form, consistent pace (no drop off).  Effort is a little above what you might do for an active recovery.

PINK

EN-1

AEROBIC DEVELOPMENT     


130 – 150 BPM
NORMAL SPEED
Aerobic Development
Short rest 10 – 20 sec rest

Example Set:

1 x 900 Alt. Pull/Kick/Swim by 100, :20 rest

1 x 400 Alt. 50 Drill / 50 easy swim

Focusing on form, consistent pace (no drop off). Effort is a little above what you might do for an active recovery.

RED

EN-2

BUILDING ENDURANCE

150 – 170 BPM

FASTER SPEED!

Anaerobic Threshold. This is ideal level to train at to build endurance as it includes a high heart rate and the most continuous yardage.  

10 to 20 sec rest

Example Set:

4 x 200 Hold Red

4 x 100 Descend 1-4 (White to Blue), :20 rest

6 x 150 Hold Red (:15 rest)

6 x 75 Descend 1-3 (White to Blue)

 

This is just below the anaerobic threshold, known as a "Maximum Lactate Steady State" MLSS. It’s called a "Rainbow Set" since it has all zones, but most is spent at Red.

BLUE

EN-3

OVERLOAD!

160 – 180 BPM

FASTEST!

Threshold Pace

Critical Speed  

15 to 30 sec rest

Example Set:

6 - 10 x 250 on :20 rest, hold pace

 

This would be high intensity threshold training, the fastest speed that you could sustain for 30-45 minutes.

PURPLE

EN-3

RACE PACE TRAINING

180 – 200 BPM

ALL OUT SPRINT

MVO2  

200m pace + :5-10

:30-1:30 REST

Example Set:

4 x 100 on :10/:15 rest, as fast as you can hold

Really uncomfortable,you should not be able to complete more than 8-10 minutes worth of repeats at this intensity without an equal amount of rest. If you can, you need to re-test and regenerate your color zones!!!