Threshold Series Part 1: What Is a Swimmer’s Threshold Pace?

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’s 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!

Some sports call threshold based training “Zone Training.”

In swimming, I’m familiar with threshold pace being called EN2 pace as it is the second of three endurance training zones. I’ve also seen workouts written where it is called “T-pace” (threshold pace) or “Cruise” interval.

Up Next: Who should know their swimming threshold pace?

Categories: Threshold Pace

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4 replies

  1. How do you determine your swim AT? Is it really as fast as you can for over 30 minutes? I don’t think I could do a fast pace over 30 minutes let alone swim 30 minutes straight at any pace? Are there other ways you can determine this in the pool?

  2. Um, I am lucky if I can last 250 meters with no breaks. I am working to build up this endurance, but right now I have little. Good post.

    • There are other ways that you can build your endurance without fretting over threshold for the time being. At some point, you’ll be ready to do interval training but right now you have a different focus and you’re still improving by leaps and bounds.

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