This test calculates your lactate threshold pace for swimming. We use this pace in some of the swim workouts of our training plans. Often we call this lactate threshold pace your T-pace. It is an indicator of the speed you need to swim for an effective swim workout. And to train effectively is important to gain the best results possible in the time you spend in the pool.

In some of the workouts we relate your swim speed to your calculated T-pace. It could for example be indicated to swim 200 meters in your T-pace + 4 seconds. Or to swim 100 meters while slowly building up to your T-pace. To execute these workouts, you need to know this T-pace. Luckily, you can test it yourself with this swim test.

Performing the lactate treshold pace test

The test to find out your T-pace starts with an easy warm up. After warming up, you perform the test itself, followed by an easy cool down. It is an intensive test, so it’s best to do the test when you don’t feel tired.

Warm up

Swim easy for 20 minutes, in any swim stroke you like. It is a good idea to alternate between different swim strokes. You could use strokes like freestyle, breast stroke and back stroke. But take it easy, it is just to warm up for the test itself.

The test

3 x 300 FAST – 30″RI

Swim each of the 300 meters in freestyle and swim as fast as you can. Take a 30 second break after each of the 300 meters. Measure your time for each of the 300 meters. Do not start too fast. Try to swim in a constant even pace during each of the 300 meters, but make sure you swim at the highest average speed you can manage. All three 300s should have more or less the same time. Aim for a maximum of 10 seconds time difference between each of the 300 meters and preferably less than that.

Cool down

As a cool down, swim 200 meters easy in any stroke you like. Like in the warm up, alternate between different strokes, like freestyle, breast stroke and back stroke.

Calculating your lactate threshold pace

After this test you will have written down 3 different 300 meter times. Calculate the average of these 3 different times. Divide this average time by three. The result is your T-pace for 100 meters. You can use it for your lactate treshold pace in your swim workouts. See this example for an explanation of the calculation:

Robert has recorded the following times for the 300 meters:

1st 300 meters – 5m45
2nd 300 meters – 5m51
3rd 300 meters – 5m57

The average pace for Robert is 5m51 for 300 meters. Divide this 300 meter time by 3, and you will find a T-pace for Robert of 1m57 for 100 meters. This is the lactate threshold pace Robert will use in his swim workouts for the best training results.

Repeat this test every 6 to 8 weeks

This test is a great way to see if your training sessions result in faster swimming over time. If you repeat this test every 6 to 8 weeks, you can compare the results of your different tests and use it as an indication of your progress as a swimmer.

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