Rafal waiting for the person in front to finish three strokes. Photo: Rob Holden Photography

It’s a matter of seconds, but they’re crucial.

As we start to build into our St Moritz camps it’s obvious that one of the biggest mistakes many athletes make, from age-group to pro, is in their rush to complete their next interval rep.

5 seconds on the swim clock reduced to a 2-second break. 15 seconds cut to 5. Or out on the run, 1 minute of fartlek recovery trimmed into 40 seconds.

Given the manic personality types in our sport it’s an inevitable and endemic trait.

But coaches set the recovery time during interval training for a specific purpose.

If you’ve been given a 10 second rest between reps, this means coach wants you to complete the work with a break of 10 seconds duration. Not 3 seconds because you’ve hit the time and feel good.

Is reducing recovery time making you a faster and more performance driven athlete? Certainly not.

While the athlete may be thinking they are being tough, or that because the overall set has now been completed faster that they’ve given themselves a better workout. In fact, they have compromised the training by pushing themselves into the dreaded ‘grey’ area –  failing to perform the individual reps with sufficient intensity, and without gaining the advantage of an unbroken training set.

The actual rest periods dictate the speed of the coach’s given work. To tamper with it changes the whole reasoning behind the set.

While on the topic, let me state another pet hate:

Athletes who are told to leave 5 seconds after the swimmer ahead of them, but instead jump on their feet after 2. Why? Because there’s a draft and it’s easier.

That’s not always the reason; when told to give the guys in front 15 seconds the same athletes leave on 12. It’s a mindset and not a positive one.

The itch, or the urge to go a little early is massive.

And if it was just affecting you then it’s not such big a problem. But when you’re in a lane of 5 or 8, you can end up disrupting everyone else’s workout too.

At Trisutto.com we leave three strokes after the person in front. Within our group it’s a sign of respect having the discipline to stick to the leaving time.

So in conclusion, I hope those who are about to attend a boot camp read this note and understand that when you come through the door to attend a training session that making this small adjustment will make you both a better and more respected athlete.

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