Recovery Week Swim, and Fighting with TSS scores!

Recovery Week Swim, and Fighting with TSS scores!

It isn’t often that I post twice in a day, but I had a great swim and I’m really happy about it. Besides, I always have lots to say, so why not?!

I find recovery weeks a tough thing. Getting the volume/intensity mix just right is difficult. Especially with swimming. Lately I’ve been hitting the pool three times a week. I’d like to up that to four at some point down the road, but for now I’m in there three times. Balancing workouts in a recovery week is made lots easier by focusing more on TSS. But planning TSS and doing TSS are different things. I find that often – particularly with swimming – the TSS I plan for is not the TSS I actually do.

Take tonight for example. I planned for 85 TSS, which is a pretty typical swim for me. The way TrainingPeaks calculates drill though is that it doesn’t. That is, if I log drill on my Garmin Fenix, I don’t get TSS credit for it. From a math perspective if you dive into the calculation I understand why that is. But the practical application is that TSS is very difficult to estimate.

I do have TSS calculators. In Excel, I can set up a workout and it will provide an estimate of the TSS. This can be a great help – particularly when run planning. But for swimming, because I take my workouts mostly from a book, I don’t usually bother spending time pre-planning a pre-planned workout. So I plunk in 85 TSS in my plan and off I go.

Tonight is an odd case. I swam 3000m. The set was as follows:

WU: 200m SW, 100m K, 200m SW
Main Set:
4 x 150m on 20s rest
4 x 50m K on 15s rest
4 x 100m on 15s rest
4 x 75m K on 15s rest
4 x 200m 2-2 DESC on 30s rest
CD: 200m

I log kick as drill, so of this 3000m I logged 600m as drill. TrainingPeaks does not include this 600m in the TSS score but does include it in the average pace time. Garmin does not produce a TSS score, but does not include drill in the average pace time. So Garmin thinks my avg pace time was 1:34/100m. TrainingPeaks….. 1:45/100m.

This is the same workout with very different conclusions depending on the software you choose.

Looking at Garmin, at 1:34/100m, I’m thrilled. I broke the 3 min barrier on the last 200m of the main set! I’ve only done that once before, so that’s a big achievement for me.

Looking at TrainingPeaks, 1:45/100m, I’m angry. That’s a slow swim with a TSS of only 66.8. Not enough!

I have to keep reminding myself that TSS is just a number. It is important, but its not going to make or break my season. Besides… its recovery week. So, maybe I should forget about it and just go to sleep.

Yep. Sleep sounds great.

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