102 Days – Ramp test

crystal palace pool

Today I did a ‘ramp test’ as part of my regular training. Coach Simon just got back from completing the Marathon Des Sables, and set me this to do today. These are his instructions, and my results. Note that I didn’t ask a friend to time me (I kind of thought that would be super annoying to most friends, who are all at work anyway), but I used my Garmin – which is able to count strokes for me, and time if I hit the ‘interval’ button at the end and beginning of every ramp test length. So there will be a couple where I fumbled a bit, but this is probably roughly right. The Garmin 910xt counts 1 stroke for both your arms, so I doubled them to the normal stroke count which is one per arm.

Below are the instructions I was given, and the results. FYI a tempo trainer is a little yellow thing you put under your hat you can set to beep on different settings – strokes per minute, time per lap etc., allowing you to set pace. One of the features of the device is ‘now comes with changeable battery’. That made me laugh.

50m Stroke Rate Ramp Test

“The Stroke Rate Ramp Test is a series of 50m swims with a short break in between. The stroke rate during each 50m is controlled by the Tempo Trainer and gradually increases. Take whatever rest is necessary between the 50m swims to change the stroke rate on the Tempo Trainer.”

“If you have been using your Tempo Trainer regularly you will be aware of your strokes per minute for steady paced swimming. Start the ramp test about ten strokes per minute below this natural rate and increase it by three strokes per minute for each 50m swim. You can keep going as high as you like but normally 15-25 beats above your natural rate is enough to experience your full stroke spectrum.

“Ask a friend or colleague to time each 50m with a stopwatch, count your strokes taken (counting both arms) and record how that stroke rate felt to you in terms of effort. It’s a good idea to use a scale of 1 to 10 to record your effort level where 1 is no effort at all and 10 is eyeballs out!”

Stroke Rate

Set by Tempo Trainer

Strokes per length 50m Time RPE (1-10) Comments
50 42 53.4 3/10 Had to concentrate to go this steady
53 44 53.8 4/10
56 46 54.8 5/10
59 46 51.8 6/10
62 48 51.0 7/10 This felt like hard work but ok
65 50 50.4 7/10
68 48 47.6 8/10 This felt surprisingly fast
71 48 46.5 8/10
74 50 46.6 8/10 Began to lose the rhythm
77 52 46.7 9/10 I could do it for 25m but not the full 50
80 50 44.8 9/10 I could do it for 25m but not the full 50

“To keep the test as unbiased as possible don’t try and assess the results or analyse things as you go along. Simply perform the set of 50m swims at the given stroke rate and record how each felt.”