Training to pace, power and heart rate has huge benefits and is now the norm for the bike and run. Swim pacing is not so easy with no heart rate monitoring or pace feedback available during a set or in an open water swim. Even more frustrating is that a GPS does not work underwater so that any loop course swum is generally out significantly as the 1 second reading on arm recovery leads to a estimation rather than a accurate reading. In general a loop swim in a lake will show …a incorrect faster pace as the GPS over estimates the distance.
Tip 1: Disclaimer, there is a risk of loosing your Garmin if you don’t take care! Use a good quality swim cap and place your Garmin inside at the back of your head so it remains above the surface. This will give you an accurate distance reading and an accurate actual pace for the open water swim.
Tip 2: To monitor open water swim pace in training and in a race, set the Garmin lap time to a distance (e.g. 400m) and set it to vibrate at end of each lap. Use a Finis tempo timer on mode 2 set to your 400m pace time (e.g. 6min 20sec). Place inside swim cap near your ear. At each 400m the GPS will vibrate, if the tempo timer beeps first you are swimming to fast, if after, too slow.. For most swimmers we go out too hard so this is a really good way of practicing proper pacing.