The tempo trainer is a waterproof metronome which fits under your swim cap. Is gives off an audible beep, which you can use to set your stroke rate when swimming. It's possibly the best piece of swim training kit that you could ever buy.
Stroke COUNT Explained
The stroke count is the average number of strokes per 25m length. This is an indicator of how far your travel each stroke so if you have a long, effective pull under the water and glide between each stroke, this stroke count will be low. With regards to how low the stroke count should be, we use the following:
30+ = Way too many!!
27-30 = Much still to be improved, but you've broken the 30 barrier..
24-27 = Getting better and a good start point!
20-24 = The region most amateur triathletes fall into, so you're normal!
18-20 = Well done, you're very effective..
16-18 = Most of us don't like you..
-16 = Well done flipper, you get a sardine..
Stroke RATE Explained
Most people know how many strokes per length they take (stroke count) but very few know there stroke rate (how many strokes they take per minute). Having a low stroke count of less than 20 strokes per length is great, but if your arms move really slowly, you'll still swim slow. Gliding is nice, but going fast is much nicer.
IMPORTANT: Generally when swimmers get tired, their distance per stroke (the number of strokes they take each length) doesn't really change. The reason they get slower is that their stroke rate drops and they simply move their arms more slowly. The problem is, you DON'T KNOW if your stroke rate is slowing. Counting your STROKE COUNT (number of strokes per length) is easy, but you can't count STROKE RATE in your head, it's impossible.
That's where the Finis Tempo Trainer comes in very handy. You simply set the metronome to the desired stroke rate and then synchronise your stroke so every time your hand enters the water, the metronome 'bleeps'.
With regards to how quick the stroke rate should be, we use the following:
75-85 = Super quick
65-75 = Quick
55-65 = Ideal
45-55 = A bit on the slow side
35-45 = Wake up..
-35 = Look closer to see if they're moving..
You can use the Tempo Trainer for pace judgement. For example, if you aim to swim 2 minutes per 100m, set it to BEEP every 30 seconds and aim to turn at the end of each length in time with the BEEP. It can also be used for running if you are aiming to improve your run cadence. Set the Tempo Trainer to BEEP at 90 per minute and aim to match it with your footstrikes.