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dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 12:10 PM
Does anyone know of a blog link to a successful Masters swimmer's personal training progression?

What I am looking for is a swimmer who, like many Masters swimmers, was out of the sport for a while, then came back to it having to start over.

My curiosities are:
- How long from getting started did it take to become competitive again. Competitive meaning you aren't necessarily breaking records, but are winning your age group a reasonable amount of time and when not winning, still finishing with the pack.
- During the progression, what was the workout schedule? Was it every day evenings + morning workouts? Only evenings? Saturday practices?
- Did your diet change, are you now eating more or less, different composition?
- Were you slim already or did you have to lose weight as part of your training?

I am trying to figure out how hard to train. I have been back in the water off and on for about 9 months, mostly casually 1-3 coached evening workouts a week (about 3500m each workout). I know I need to ramp it up if I want to compete. I am less concerned about winning, more concerned about just making swim meets worth the time to register and drive, etc. If this means morning and evenings and diet changes, I will do them, but dont want to burn out either, so would be nice to see what successful Masters swimmers have done.

If you are such a swimmer, and want to either share here or have a email conversation, just send me a message.

Me:
- Swam school and club teams from age 6 through a year in college. (Best time was something like 20.63 in 50 free yards in high school.)
- After college, didnt really do any kind of workout program until now.
- Age 32 (33 in a few months)
- My focus is on sprint events 50's and 100's.
- Height: 6'1", Weight: 218 (have lost about 20 lbs since I have started swimming again, hoping to lose another 20, but not shedding them as quickly with the same workout/diet as the first 20)

Midas
July 21st, 2009, 01:57 PM
My bet is that you'd be competitive right now. For a sprinter, you don't need a ton of yardage to be fast. Training fast probably will help the most (do a fair bit of race pace swimming in your workouts). The 50 free is one of the most competitive races in Masters Swimming (for obvious reasons) but I think you will do quite well. Give it a shot!

Most masters swimmers can't train like they did in their youth (especially people in their 30s holding down full-time jobs), so you will be competing against people who also get in to train 3-4 times a week (for the most part).

For what it's worth (I'm 36--out of swimming since my junior year of college), it took me about 9 months of swimming, the last six of which were coached workouts with a team, to get myself to a place where I was happy with my swims (faster or almost as fast as I was in HS in 100s, slower in 200s but "competitive"). I train on average 3-4 times a week for about 3200 yards each time.

Good luck, and given that 50 free time I'm glad you're (for the most part) not in my age group!

Midas
July 21st, 2009, 02:03 PM
Do
My curiosities are:
- How long from getting started did it take to become competitive again. Competitive meaning you aren't necessarily breaking records, but are winning your age group a reasonable amount of time and when not winning, still finishing with the pack.


By the way, that's an extremely aggressive definition of "competitive". I wouldn't necessarily be expecting to break records or win your age group. There are many extremely talented swimmers out there. I think the record for the 50 free in your age group is about 20.15 (soon to be 20.08) so if that's what it takes to be competitive, you've set a high bar for yourself. The goal I would set, if I were you (and the goal I set for myself), is to try to get as close as possible to my personal best times from my youth. Don't worry so much what other people are doing!

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 02:17 PM
By the way, that's an extremely aggressive definition of "competitive". I wouldn't necessarily be expecting to break records or win your age group. There are many extremely talented swimmers out there. I think the record for the 50 free in your age group is about 20.15 (soon to be 20.08) so if that's what it takes to be competitive, you've set a high bar for yourself. The goal I would set, if I were you (and the goal I set for myself), is to try to get as close as possible to my personal best times from my youth. Don't worry so much what other people are doing!

I appreciate the perspective. I guess my point is I don't want to pay for meet registration and take up a weekend to finish dead last every time. I want to train to the point where at least I am keeping up with the pack and placing in the top half. I think I would be de-motivated if every meet I was last by a huge margin, so I am hoping to motivate myself in training first and go into the first meet with a reasonable feeling of accomplishment.

The bizarre thing is that I really dont care about "winning". The medals at this age really are not what motivates me, it's more about me feeling like I have paid my dues during training. I don't want to swim for a few years only to get the sense that I was wasting time "slacking off" or "doing just enough". Going to meets and placing is just confirmation and motivation that I am putting in a good effort.

Masters coaches dont yell and scream when you aren't going as fast as you should. Ahh the good old days. :P

Also, I did do a 50 YARDS (not meters, edited, sorry for the typo!) free in a meet about 9 months ago (after training for 1 month), my time was 25:42. I don't know if I have really improved much because up till now I have been off and on and my effort level has been more maintenance mode.

ande
July 21st, 2009, 02:30 PM
you might look through my old blog
it has workouts from Mar 2005 - Sep 2008

you might want to follow Dec 2007 (http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4298&page=90) - June 2008 (http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4298&page=114)
I made made great improvements that season

Sep 08 - Dec 08 (http://andesswimmingblog.blogspot.com/) in this blog shows all the training I did for my 2008 SCM Season

Zurn
July 21st, 2009, 03:17 PM
Long Post, sorry!:

David,

I don’t know if I qualify, but I’m in the same place as you at this point. I'm 32 now, started swimming at the age of 6 on a team and quit when I was 19. I was never a Jr. or Sr. national qualifier, but I was close. I would usually place fairly high at the Zones meets. I was a distance swimmer and did a lot of over distance training. Unfortunately I never learned proper stoke technique until I was 17 years old. By that time I was pretty burned out already and only swam for two more years half heartedly. I still wonder to this day how fast I could have been.

Anyways, I started to gain a lot of weight (down 20 lbs now!) and my cholesterol is high so I decided to get back into swimming for health reasons. I’ve been swimming since February and am having fun working out on my own. I swim 3 times a week, 1 hour a night, usually about 3,000 yards per workout. Now I probably am not as serious as some, but I decided to sign up for a meet just to see where I’m at. There wasn't any masters meets in the Pacific North West this summer that I could attend. In fact I only found two, both in Oregon, but I was camping with the family both of those weekends. One of our local PNS teams was having a meet this past weekend and the registration form said I didn’t have to be registered with PNS as long as I completed the waiver from. I e-mailed the meet director and he said he would be glad to have me swim in the meet. Just this past weekend I did a 50M free, 100M free, 100M fly, and 400M free just for fun. I was the oldest one there by a few years (I’m 32, the oldest male was 17 I think…) and I got beet in my 400M free heat by a 15 year old girl! My splits in the 100 fly were horrible, I was out way too fast, but I still got 2nd place over all! I saw a few guys I used to swim with, they are now coaching for local clubs. It was fun to swim a meet again, but I don’t know if I will have time to train like I used to as a kid, but to be able to get some times for fun was great. I’m going to continue my three times a week for a while and might add some running and weights as time permits. I’m going to try and swim one or two short courses meets this year and maybe even PNS Champs.

If you are serious about working out and training hard again, I’d look for a local master’s team or US Swimming team that would let you work out with them. Most teams would be glad to have a person with your talent and would welcome you to a team. I’ve had one of the local master’s teams ask me to swim with them, but I just don’t have as much time as I would like to spend swimming with a wife and two kids. It would be easier to train with a team because you would have others around you and a coach to motivate you. You may never be as fast as you were as a kid, but it is fun to get out there and compete. You never know, look at Dara Torres, maybe at 33 you will put up some of the fastest times of your life. But you should know: workouts seems to hurt a lot more now than is used to and from one night to the next, I’m a lot more tired then I used to be. I’d guess it would take a few years for me to get back to where I was as a kid, if I trained for it, but I don’t plan on being that fast. Maybe in the sprint events, since I was always a distance swimmer in the past, but there is no way I’ll ever get back to my mile times, at least not until my kids move out and I have more time to train (which won’t be for 16 years!).

I hope this helps. Don’t jump in and expect to be as fast as you once were, it will take a lot of work and dedication, but if you work at it, I’m sure you can get there!

-Gabe

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 03:31 PM
you might look through my old blog
it has workouts from Mar 2005 - Sep 2008 (http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4298)

you might want to follow Dec 2007 (http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4298&page=90) - June 2008 (http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4298&page=114)
I made made great improvements that season

Sep 08 - Dec 08 (http://andesswimmingblog.blogspot.com/) in this blog shows all the training I did for my 2008 SCM Season

Cool, I had seen a lot of posts by you, but didnt know about your blog. I will look through it!

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 03:34 PM
Long Post, sorry!:

<snip>

You never know, look at Dara Torres, maybe at 33 you will put up some of the fastest times of your life. But you should know: workouts seems to hurt a lot more now than is used to and from one night to the next, Iím a lot more tired then I used to be.

<snip>

I hope this helps. Donít jump in and expect to be as fast as you once were, it will take a lot of work and dedication, but if you work at it, Iím sure you can get there!

-Gabe

Thanks for the encouragement. I actually do swim with a coached Master's team here in the Atlanta area. I don't think I would ever do 3000m+ workouts without a coach. And I agree that workouts hurt more, I am just trying to grin and bear it right. Would be great to be a male version of Dara Torres at 41, but I bet her training schedule is INSANE!

JimRude
July 21st, 2009, 03:39 PM
David -

Just my :2cents::

In order to be competitive in the 50s and 100s, you should focus on:

OUT OF THE WATER
- Getting stronger and leaner, via weight-lifting, stretching, plyometrics, etc ... and diet

IN THE WATER
A healthy dose of fast swimming (always with good technique), alternating days with aerobic recovery and drill work in between. Swim faster than fast on the fast days, but easier than easy on the recovery days.

The former would include:
- 25s and 50s with lots of rest, swimming at 100%
- 50s, 75s and 100s with moderate rest, swimming at 90-100%, focusing on lactate tolerance
- broken 100s, swimming at 100%, focusing on race pace
- fast kick sets (50s, etc)

The latter would include:
- timed swims
- pulling
- snorkel work
- hypoxic work

This is basically the program that I have been following for the 2+ years that I have been back in the pool (after a 20+ year layoff). It has helped my 50 and 100, but I am hopeless for a 200... Having said that, I always was more "fast twitch" in the pool, with my 100 being better than my 200.

YMMV.

I hope that ehoch and paul smith will reply, as their insights will be more valuable than mine.

want2beafish
July 21st, 2009, 04:20 PM
I appreciate the perspective. I guess my point is I don't want to pay for meet registration and take up a weekend to finish dead last every time. I want to train to the point where at least I am keeping up with the pack and placing in the top half. I think I would be de-motivated if every meet I was last by a huge margin, so I am hoping to motivate myself in training first and go into the first meet with a reasonable feeling of accomplishment.

Hi David,
First of all, with the times you indicate I doubt you'd have to worry much about finishing last or even in the bottom half of your age group, especially at local meets. The Atlanta area meets have a pretty good smattering of people all over the board. I can understand not wanting to commit an entire weekend to a meet at first; have you checked out the developmental meets in the area? There are several during SCY season -- at Marist, Collins Hill, and there was even one at the new West Gwinnett pool in Duluth this past spring. I'm not sure of the dates or the locations, but that might be a good option for you as they generally last about three hours.

Which Masters group do you swim with?

Midas
July 21st, 2009, 04:32 PM
I appreciate the perspective. I guess my point is I don't want to pay for meet registration and take up a weekend to finish dead last every time. I want to train to the point where at least I am keeping up with the pack and placing in the top half. I think I would be de-motivated if every meet I was last by a huge margin, so I am hoping to motivate myself in training first and go into the first meet with a reasonable feeling of accomplishment.

The bizarre thing is that I really dont care about "winning". The medals at this age really are not what motivates me, it's more about me feeling like I have paid my dues during training. I don't want to swim for a few years only to get the sense that I was wasting time "slacking off" or "doing just enough". Going to meets and placing is just confirmation and motivation that I am putting in a good effort.

Masters coaches dont yell and scream when you aren't going as fast as you should. Ahh the good old days. :P

Also, I did do a 50 meters free in a meet about 9 months ago (after training for 1 month), my time was 25:42. I don't know if I have really improved much because up till now I have been off and on and my effort level has been more maintenance mode.

Only you can tell if you think you've been slacking off too much in practice, but a 25:42 (SCM), as I'm sure you know, is already more than competitive. If you're finishing "dead last" dropping that kind of time, then there are a number of extremely talented swimmers in your aread.

I'm no longer really sure I understand your question... If you're asking "how long will it take for me to feel, in my own mind, that I'm well-trained for a meet" then I don't think anybody (but you) can answer that question. Just bear in mind that most people don't train more than a few days a week, and I'm sure most slack off to some extent.

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 05:22 PM
Only you can tell if you think you've been slacking off too much in practice, but a 25:42 (SCM), as I'm sure you know, is already more than competitive. If you're finishing "dead last" dropping that kind of time, then there are a number of extremely talented swimmers in your aread.

I'm no longer really sure I understand your question... If you're asking "how long will it take for me to feel, in my own mind, that I'm well-trained for a meet" then I don't think anybody (but you) can answer that question. Just bear in mind that most people don't train more than a few days a week, and I'm sure most slack off to some extent.

Well the particular meet only had 2 other swimmers in it for Masters for all of my events and both finished ahead of me. I wasn't far behind (within a second or so), so it was okay. I was sort of assuming that bigger meets would have more swimmers and more faster swimmers.

I agree I have to answer the part about "feeling" when I was well trained myself. My goal in this thread was to see examples of successful master's swimmers and how they progressed torwards their goals. If I read about many swimmers doing X, then I would try to emulate X, if I saw a wide variation of what worked, then I would just try to adapt the various styles. Mostly I just didn't want my mantra to be something as simple as "workout any spare moment you have."

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 05:30 PM
David -

Just my :2cents::

In order to be competitive in the 50s and 100s, you should focus on:

OUT OF THE WATER
- Getting stronger and leaner, via weight-lifting, stretching, plyometrics, etc ... and diet

IN THE WATER
A healthy dose of fast swimming (always with good technique), alternating days with aerobic recovery and drill work in between. Swim faster than fast on the fast days, but easier than easy on the recovery days.

The former would include:
- 25s and 50s with lots of rest, swimming at 100%
- 50s, 75s and 100s with moderate rest, swimming at 90-100%, focusing on lactate tolerance
- broken 100s, swimming at 100%, focusing on race pace
- fast kick sets (50s, etc)

The latter would include:
- timed swims
- pulling
- snorkel work
- hypoxic work

This is basically the program that I have been following for the 2+ years that I have been back in the pool (after a 20+ year layoff). It has helped my 50 and 100, but I am hopeless for a 200... Having said that, I always was more "fast twitch" in the pool, with my 100 being better than my 200.

YMMV.

I hope that ehoch and paul smith will reply, as their insights will be more valuable than mine.

Do you think doing the weights in the morning is a good way to go? I think in high school we did 2 days a week weights in the morning, but I always hated it then because I love sleep.

As far as the swim routine, I would love to have a sprint coach for this. The master's group I swim with tends to mix up things a lot, but more often than not, its a middle to long distance workout with the rare sprint training. I am concerned about "doing my own thing" in the master's workout because I am kinda there to get their workout, not my own. I also dont want to ask the coach for a special workout because there aren't always a lot of lanes and it would probably be annoying to the other swimmers. The other option is just to swim on my own for the sprint workouts and do the master's workout for the off days. Is that pretty common?

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 05:40 PM
Hi David,
First of all, with the times you indicate I doubt you'd have to worry much about finishing last or even in the bottom half of your age group, especially at local meets. The Atlanta area meets have a pretty good smattering of people all over the board. I can understand not wanting to commit an entire weekend to a meet at first; have you checked out the developmental meets in the area? There are several during SCY season -- at Marist, Collins Hill, and there was even one at the new West Gwinnett pool in Duluth this past spring. I'm not sure of the dates or the locations, but that might be a good option for you as they generally last about three hours.

Which Masters group do you swim with?

Dynamo Masters in Chamblee. Great team, workouts are challenging and have enough variety that I am rarely bored. Tends to be more middle to long distance focused, which isn't perfect for me, but it is helping me lose weight and I am making progress.

JimRude
July 21st, 2009, 05:50 PM
Do you think doing the weights in the morning is a good way to go? I think in high school we did 2 days a week weights in the morning, but I always hated it then because I love sleep.

As far as the swim routine, I would love to have a sprint coach for this. The master's group I swim with tends to mix up things a lot, but more often than not, its a middle to long distance workout with the rare sprint training. I am concerned about "doing my own thing" in the master's workout because I am kinda there to get their workout, not my own. I also dont want to ask the coach for a special workout because there aren't always a lot of lanes and it would probably be annoying to the other swimmers. The other option is just to swim on my own for the sprint workouts and do the master's workout for the off days. Is that pretty common?

I prefer to lift in the evening, after my noon or pm swim, as I am useless in the water directly after lifting. I also do a series of yoga-esque stretches

Amazon.com: The Genius of Flexibility: The Smart Way to Stretch and Strengthen Your Body: Bob Cooley: Books

and some ab work (though you couldn't tell by looking at me)... I lift every other day, unless I begin to develop shoulder pain or biceps tendinitis, in which case I back off or skip a session or two.

I typically swim 5-6x per week, usually between 2,500-3,500 meters per session. Typical is 600-800 warm-up, 400-800 (speed) or 800-1,500 (aerobic) main set, and then 500-1,000 drill/technique/warm-down.

Since I started swimming again, I have trained on my own 100% of the time. This has its pro's and con's:

PRO'S
- no need to do sets/workouts that are not directly related to my goals and objectives
- swim on my own schedule
- do "my own thing"

CON'S
- stuck training during lap swim, amidst noodlers, blue-hairs and other space-wasters
- requires tremendous self-motivation (which I fortunately have)
- no feedback from someone on deck (I am reliant on watching video of my races from Nationals, or post-race commentary from other swimmers)
- no camaraderie from a team environment

Doing the sprint workouts on your own and the recovery/aerobic swims with a team might be a nice solution.

Midas
July 21st, 2009, 06:04 PM
Well the particular meet only had 2 other swimmers in it for Masters for all of my events and both finished ahead of me. I wasn't far behind (within a second or so), so it was okay. I was sort of assuming that bigger meets would have more swimmers and more faster swimmers.

I agree I have to answer the part about "feeling" when I was well trained myself. My goal in this thread was to see examples of successful master's swimmers and how they progressed torwards their goals. If I read about many swimmers doing X, then I would try to emulate X, if I saw a wide variation of what worked, then I would just try to adapt the various styles. Mostly I just didn't want my mantra to be something as simple as "workout any spare moment you have."

Got it! Good luck. You swam against some fast people, but your age group does seem to have a bunch of those. But still, you're no question about it fast too.

Definitely take a look at the blogs of people like Ande. He's super-dedicated and thinks very hard about his training. He also trains primarily for sprinting, so you can see what he does. He does modify the coached workouts fairly frequently, if I recall. If you don't want to do that, maybe you can ask the coach if s/he can time you on some 50 and 25 sprints at the end.

bamueller
July 21st, 2009, 06:29 PM
The bizarre thing is that I really dont care about "winning". The medals at this age really are not what motivates me, it's more about me feeling like I have paid my dues during training. I don't want to swim for a few years only to get the sense that I was wasting time "slacking off" or "doing just enough". Going to meets and placing is just confirmation and motivation that I am putting in a good effort.

This woman I swim with, she's in her mid 50s, she doesn't come in first her swimming events, but she keeps on swimming. She's done the 1 hour postal, 5K, and 10K this year. She's put in her time, but she's found a different reward from it all, and I think that's cool.

I am more like you. I want to win. I ask myself, what difference does it make? I can't be 15 years old again, and winning now won't change the fact that I traded in my goggles for football cleats many years ago.

If I want to have a long, happy, swimming career, then I think I need to find similar rewards in swimming that my 50 year old friend has found. I need to keep reminding myself of this. I might never break a 23.00 in the 50 free, but if by training for it, it helps keep cholesterol and blood pressure down, and inspires my children to want to swim, then maybe that's a good deal.

tjrpatt
July 21st, 2009, 06:39 PM
I went from being really fat and "starting from scratch out of shape" in late 2007 to recently making, although preliminary, getting my first SCY Top Ten in my age group. I do more distance stuff since I have no sprinting ability.

When I got back into training, I started only doing 1500 yds, 4x week. Then, got to 3X, Then, moved to 4K 5 or 6 times a week. Now, I do about 5K 6x a week with an occasional age group practice thrown in there. Some weeks, I do 7 days but I will do a recovery day.

Here are some examples of my progression.
200 SCY fly
2008-2:40
2009-2:10(20 minutes after a 400 IM)

400 SCY IM
2008-5:28
2009-4:44.95

200 Breast
2008-2:51
2009-2:31.99

tdrop
July 21st, 2009, 07:10 PM
I swim three times per week about 3000-4000 yards and I do strength and conditioning 2 times per week. I'm 33 and close to my college times.

If you want to sprint I suggest getting a good strength and conditioning program going.

I made a big jump after about one year.

dwlovell
July 21st, 2009, 09:22 PM
<snip>

Also, I did do a 50 meters free in a meet about 9 months ago (after training for 1 month), my time was 25:42. I don't know if I have really improved much because up till now I have been off and on and my effort level has been more maintenance mode.

Quoting myself because I needed to post a correction to this. OOOPS! I typo'd on this. This time was 25.42 in 50 YARDS free (short course), not meters. No wonder some of you were thinking I was doing better than I thought I was. I am going to update the original post as well if I can.

Glider
July 22nd, 2009, 02:40 PM
Say hello to Metz. You only need to be doing one workout a day, 5 days a week, say 3-4000 yards, and you'll be plenty competitive around here.

I lived your story, only I'm 50 now and was out for 20 years. Weight, cholesterol...been there done that...lost 50 lbs. And I'm a sprinter, too (breaststroke.)

My first three months back in 06, I averaged 15-18K a week and didn't compete until 5 months into it. My second year I got up to 37K at the high end. Never again...I settled into 15-25K this past year depending on the time of the season.

Mark


Thanks for the encouragement. I actually do swim with a coached Master's team here in the Atlanta area. I don't think I would ever do 3000m+ workouts without a coach. And I agree that workouts hurt more, I am just trying to grin and bear it right. Would be great to be a male version of Dara Torres at 41, but I bet her training schedule is INSANE!