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Using Energy, Distance and Rest to Unlock Intensity

Intensity provides a detailed breakdown of athlete effort . Dive in to learn how energy system usage, distance, and rest impact training intensity.

Swim training intensity

What’s the interplay between Energy, Distance, and Rest?

When planning workouts, coaches often set the main sets’ pace times and rest to target a speed they want their swimmers to hit. They do this to engage different energy systems in the body (i.e. the aerobic system, the lactic anaerobic system, and the alactic anaerobic system). 

Generally, the faster they want their swimmers to go, the more rest swimmers will need to hit that speed on the next reps. This means there is usually a trade-off between Speed, Distance and Rest. 

In Intensity, the Distance score TritonWear shows is related to how much distance the swimmer went this practice compared to the usual distances they have hit in past workouts.  Since most practices are a set length, generally speaking, swimmers will hit a similar distance to past practices.

Below-average scores occur when swimmers are late for practice or leave early (unless this is a habit for that swimmer, in this case attending on time will likely result in a high distance score). Distance will also decrease when practice is spent resting more than normal.

Low Work To Rest Low Distance

Above-average scores occur for practices that run longer than other practices. For instance, a 2-hour Saturday practice would incur a higher distance score than the regular 1.5-hour weekday practice. However, distance can also accumulate when rest is low (High Work To Rest -> high distance), especially if the swimmer is going fast (high speed -> higher distance), like the timed 30-minute swim.

Unleash your speed.


The Energy score is high when swimmers spend a good portion of the session swimming fast.

High Speed  High Energy

To keep that speed up, the highest Energy scores require low Work to Rest Ratios, which impacts total distance. 

To recap,

  1. The more mileage a swimmer did in a workout (relative to their typical workout distances), the higher the Intensity score.
  2. The more time is spent in higher energy zones, the higher the Intensity score.
  3. The higher the average speed, the higher the Intensity score.
  4. Resting less in a workout makes the score climb. The higher the activity percentage, the higher the Intensity score.

What action can a coach take from Intensity over time?

Group 608

While pushing swimmers to achieve a high Intensity on every workout is tempting,  you should vary the intensity of workouts. Studies have shown that better fitness gains are achieved from the combination of high- and low-exertion workouts than from high-exertion workouts alone. For coaches who still want to push on every workout, you'll need to at least vary one or some of the component scores (Energy, Distance, Work to Rest).


Alexandra Petala

Alexandra Petala is the Content Marketing Manager at TritonWear. Before joining TritonWear, Alexandra had created her own company delivering freelance services for lead generation. She also served as the Growth Manager at Just' Geter Done. A former swimming coach and Greek National Champion herself with over 20 years of experience in competitive swimming. Alexandra graduated from the Empire State University with a degree in Business Economics and Marketing.

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