I am a big procrastinator. I had the Tempo Trainer for 3 months but was just to "scared" to use it. Now what are there to be scared of? That was what I start asking myself. So I just tackled it- read the instructions and start swimming with it. Now I can kick myself for not using it sooner.
The important thing is that I must increase my stroke rate gradually so that I do not loose efficiency. I do not know how a swimmer can do this without the Tempo Trainer. In the beginning the beeping sound was very irritating, but I got use to it very quickly. Now after just a few sessions I depend on it.
In competitions this aid is not allowed so I will have to be able to keep the pace myself and will need some training sessions without it though.
In his ebook- Outside the box, Terry Laughlin explained how he use the Tempo Trainer to swim faster. Terry reminded me not to chase a quicker stroke rate at the cost of efficiency. Speed or velocity is obtained by the length one travel with each stroke multiplied by the number of strokes per minute.
It is difficult for me to force myself to swim at a higher speed. It is tiring and after a while of increasing my tempo I again fall back on my leisurely pace. The tempo trainer with its regular beeps force me to swim at the preset pace.
My research on this topic makes it clear that to become a faster swimmer one do need to train correctly. Swimming the distance as I have been doing the last month will not necessarily lead to improvement in speed. Interval training where I need to swim at a faster pace for short distances with sufficient rest in between will be far more beneficial than just swimming 2-3 kilometers at a leisurely pace.
I borrowed my brother's Garmin 302 to measure the distance I swim in the farm dam. To my astonishment and delight I swam 3 km in 42 minutes. After checking my pool time on the clock it seems that the Garmin did not track my distance correctly- I am still swimming 50 m in 55 seconds and according to this it will take me at least 55 minutes to swim 3 kilometers.
I have never learned to do a tumble turn and my turning time might lead to a slower time over 50 meter, but for the Garmin to be correct I need to swim 50 meter in 42 seconds. The swimming pool at Sunningdale Virgin Active where I swim do not have a pace clock on either side of the pool so I cannot check my time for 25 meter.
I saw that FINIS has a Hydro Tracker GPS that one clip onto your goggles' strap. This is far cheaper than the Forerunner that is my other option. I plan to purchase this because it is important for me to track my distance in the dam- I need the feedback of how far and how fast did I swim . This motivates me and inspire met to try and do better in my next training session.