Smart training sessions in preparation for competition are always essential if you are planning on doing well. You can improve on technique, power and overall fitness in these sessions alongside getting a good idea about your potential race times. Jon Urbanchek who coached former 400IM (Individual Medley) record holder Tom Dolan shows us a good way of predicting your 400IM time.

The set itself is very simple to complete. It consists of 6 separate swims of 200m involving fly, back, breast and freestyle strokes. (the strokes that are used in an individual medley). These times are then calculated to give you a prediction of your potential 400IM time.

Here’s the set:

1 x 200 fly off block (record time) @ 8:00

1 x 200 back off block (record time) @ 8:00   

1 x 200 breast off block (record time) @ 8:00

3 x 200 free off block (record time) @ 8:00

Average out all 200 times, take that average time and double it.

Completing this set allows you to improve your overall fitness and endurance alongside getting a strong prediction for what your 400IM time could be. However this training is all useless for predicting your potential 400IM time if you are not putting in 100% effort into each test set. By maximizing your effort during the set it allows for increased performance, higher endurance and a overall more accurate prediction of your time.

Where it says "@ 8:00" - this means you have 8 minutes to complete that particular section. Swim 100% effort and take whatever time is left over out of the 8 minutes to rest before the next part of the set begins. If you finish within 3 minutes, then you would rest for the remaining 5 minutes before going straight into your next 200m swim. The full set should take you 48 minutes in total.

To help with understanding the set here is an example of one being completed.

Recorded 200 times:

200 fly time – 2:18

200 back time – 2:21

200 breast time – 2:34

200 free time – 2:04

200 free time – 2:03

200 free time – 2:05

Now that you have the 200 times, find the average by adding them all together, then dividing by six. The average using these times equates to 2:21.25. Finally, you double the average time to get 4:42.25, and voila You now have your projected 400 IM time.

Obviously this training is longer and harder than completing a 400IM time but due to the endurance factor it will account for your fatigue levels when completing the event, giving a more accurate time.

Extra information regarding this training exercise can be found here: http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/tritonwear-set-of-the-week-400-im-predictor-set/

If you are still looking for other ways to predict your 400IM time you could just swim three or four 400IM's at practice then average out the time. Nothing is more accurate then completing the event itself!