UST (ultra short training) or USRPT (ultra short race-pace training) in swimming

Try training your competition pace with less volume and a little more intensity

Less meters and more quality. Try to train your competition pace with less volume and a little more intensity

Traditionally the long distance swimming training It has been characterized by high volumes of swimming. This fact has led many triathletes and triathlon coaches to apply it in their sport, since we have swimming distances of at least 750 meters, which is considered a long distance test in swimming.

However, many times we leave aside to train the rhythm of the test, focusing our trainings on numerous series of distances that oscillate between the 100 and the 400 meters with relatively comfortable rhythms.

Short-term training at test pace (USRPT)

This type of training is a great help for triathlon.

This method was developed by Dr. Brent Rushall with the aim of perform trainings that had the highest transfer and possible similarity to the actual competition situation experienced by swimmers, both in the physiological demand and in the movement patterns.

In order to carry out this type of training, Short-term efforts at the pace of the objective test with brief breaks.

This form of training do not neglect the aerobic system,

Because repetitions and short breaks stimulate aerobic muscle fibers with slow contraction more than traditional aerobic series, it converts a substantial percentage of anaerobic fibers with rapid contraction to oxygen use and binds oxygen to hemoglobin and myoglobin.

The end result of these physiological stimuli translates into an improvement in basic aerobic capacity and of the subordinated "oxidative capacity", achieving a greater resistance to speed.

Recommendations for training

To carry out this type of training, we propose to take into account and respect the following recommendations:

  • Perform rhythm and style of the test Competition
  • Use distances from 25 to 100 meters progressively as experience in training increases
  • Perform breaks between series of 15 to 20 seconds, arriving at the 30 seconds as much.
  • Make a number of repetitions of between 4 and 6 times the competition distance
  • Perform active recovery
  • Stop when the target mark is not achieved, so that we do not reach maximum exhaustion.

An example of training

If we wanted to apply it to work the average rhythm of the 800 - 1000 meters, we could start with trainings like the one we propose below and increase the repetitions:

  • Heating: 400 meters
  • 300 meters varied kick
  • USRPT: 20 × 100 / 20 " crawl to pace of the 800 meters test
  • 200 meters recovery

It may not be an efficient or practical method to train the pace of a medium or long distance triathlon as a whole, but if get a stable swim rhythm that we can keep over the entire target distance.

We encourage you to try this type of training with some frequency to observe the progress in your swimming rhythm.

Laura García Cervantes

UST (ultra short training) or USRPT (ultra short race-pace training) in swimming, firma_laura_garcua_cervantes
Laura García Cervantes
Rushall, BS Swimming energy training in the 21st century: the justification for radical changes (Second Edition). Swimming Science Bulletin, 39. (
Thompson, Daniel O., III. Revolution in swimming: Ultra-Short Race-Pace Training (Version 2.0). Swimming Science Bulletin, 40a. (
Rushall, BS Relevant training effects in swimming pool: Ultra-Short Race-Pace Training (Revised). Swimming Science Bulletin, 40b. (

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