In my coaching career, I've made no bones about where I stand when it comes to race pace training. I believe it is the best, most efficient way to train out there. It passes the common sense test. If you want to get better at something- then train it.
In most cases, most swimmers are training to get better at racing, so they should train at race pace That part is obvious. Race Pace Training has gotten a lot more structure thanks to some of the work done out there in the swimming world.
The biggest problem with race pace training is that many of the people that love it (or hate it) don't understand it. I have written extensively this topic. First I addressed some frequent criticisms from people who don't understand race pace training. Then I addressed the controversial "no dryland" reputation of race pace training.
Of those, the most vexing misunderstanding is still that race pace is "just for sprinters" When correctly applied it can help distance swimmers even more than those training for shorter distances.
The initial impression most people get of race pace is that it is incredibly simple. The truth is that it is actually quite complex. Correct application of race pace principles requires a skilled coach.
There will be so many situations an athlete will run into training race pace that will require the coach to help judge how to proceed. This is why "systems" are bad. A swimmer on their own trying out USRPT and trying to master and follow all the complex rules will quickly get frustrated.
For example: where does one start with race pace? If you want to train for the 100 breaststroke, a typical set is 30x25 at 100 pace, with rest between :15-:20 over your pace time. You need to stop if you go over pace and rest for two repetitions, and stop after three failures.
What if your first attempt at this set you cannot swim more than two consecutive 25s at your "race pace"?. This is when you need a coach to use their judgment to adjust pace, rest time, technique, and tailor the training so you make the fastest, most efficient possible progress
If you don't do race pace right, you won't get the results you want either. Many a swimmer has returned to "traditional" training believing that race pace didn't work for them, when the only thing in their way was understanding.
If you want to get started with race pace, whether you're a swimmer or a coach, write me to schedule a free consultation.