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View Full Version : Adjusting sets for older swimmers



Kevin in MD
February 24th, 2010, 10:13 AM
Hiya, I would like to know how you handle adjusting sets for swimmers over 55 or so. Seems pretty obvious that these men and women will recover more slowly in terms of from one workut to the next and possibly even within a given workout.

How do you guys handle this within the framework of the En1 En2, Sp1 type system that usa swimming established?

Thanks

Betsy
February 24th, 2010, 12:08 PM
As a 68 year old swimmer, I don't expect or want any adjustments in recovery. In fact, because I swim more often than many in my lane, I hold up better than most.
That said, there is a time when age changes the way workouts are done. I coach and have the same questions that you have for my 80+ swimmers. I have 3 that are excellent swimmers, but do not recover as fast as I sometimes plan. It seems I have to adjust the interval on a regular basis. I'm never sure how much to push them. The recovery needed seems to change between 75-80 for someone who has a good swimming background. I, too, welcome any suggestions.

LindsayNB
February 24th, 2010, 12:47 PM
I can't lay my hands on any references at the moment but I have heard and I think read about using pulse rate as a way to judge recovery time. You can either wait for your pulse to drop to a certain level directly or experiment with what interval usually allows your rate to drop into the desired range.

Someone suggested to me that time to recover in terms of pulse rate was one of the few ways to test fitness that factors out technique. Usually it is hard to objectively differentiate, say on time only, between a swimmer with low fitness and great technique and one with high fitness and lesser technique.

It's a great question, I will be interested to hear whether others treat age differently than just a variation in fitness.

Kevin in MD
February 24th, 2010, 02:05 PM
As a 68 year old swimmer, I don't expect or want any adjustments in recovery. In fact, because I swim more often than many in my lane, I hold up better than most.


My situation is that the 30 somethings seem to be progressing well in my classes but the 50 somethings not exactly so much.

I am perhaps making it harder than necessary, the 30 somethings swim 4 times per week and the 50 somethings only 3. It could also be the older guys are just taking longer to adjust to the new style of program I started with them in October.

Occam's Razor would say that the easier exaplanation is more likely. But I still am interested to hear other ideas.

LindsayNB
February 24th, 2010, 03:54 PM
My personal experience is that I progress a lot faster with 4 workouts per week than with 3. I find that with 3 I really only maintain where I'm at. My coach said that that was his experience with swimmers generally although there are always exceptions.

Flurpo
April 27th, 2010, 05:52 PM
:cane: I'm finding I need at least 5 workouts a week to make any progress. I've also learned not to put those two rest days together :applaud:

Lump
April 27th, 2010, 06:32 PM
My personal experience is that I progress a lot faster with 4 workouts per week than with 3. I find that with 3 I really only maintain where I'm at. My coach said that that was his experience with swimmers generally although there are always exceptions.

I'd agree completely. I've made big drops in time since going to 4 and more swimming workouts a week from 3. Focusing more on swimming sessions than running, weights, etc obviously helps and you feel "fresher" in the water.

Betsy
April 28th, 2010, 11:04 AM
The slower progress for 50+ may be a function of how long it has been since they did this level of exercise. I started back in swimming at 32 or 33 and had a hard time adjusting. I can't imagine how hard it would be if I had started back at 50.
In the workouts I coach, the 50+ group does about 2300 meters in an hour. I encourage them to skip a repeat if they need more rest. It takes a few months, but there is noticeable progress.
I read somewhere many years ago, that it takes X number of yards (I don't remember the #)to get the feel for the water. If you swam as a kid, you start out ahead, but at X number of yards it all evens out (except for natural talent of course). If you swim 5 times a week, you get there more quickly than if you swim twice a week. I don't think the exact number of yards is important, but the principle is. A 30 year old took me seriously and sometimes comes to 2 practices a day. His improvement is outstanding.

Glenn
April 29th, 2010, 10:59 PM
I have been swimming Masters for 30 years. For 20 of those years I swam 3 times a week and at meets ended up in the middle of the pack. When I turned 50 I started to swim 5 times a week. I am now 60 and swim 6 times a week. My times in freestyle 500 and above are faster than when I was in college. I am approaching my best time (lifetime) in the 200 free and am within 2.5 seconds of all time best in 100.

My times changed dramatically when I went from 3 days a week to 5 days a week. Besides the number of workouts, it's technique that has made the most difference.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
April 30th, 2010, 12:02 PM
.My times changed dramatically when I went from 3 days a week to 5 days a week. Besides the number of workouts, it's technique that has made the most difference.

I appreciate your comments here Glenn...
Especially because so often masters swimmers over the age of 50 think they cannot improve. And they can be reluctant to work diligently with their coach on technique changes.

Congratulations to you for both your open & willingness to change spirit - and the FASTER SWIM TIMES!!

poolraat
April 30th, 2010, 07:45 PM
....Especially because so often masters swimmers over the age of 50 think they cannot improve. And they can be reluctant to work diligently with their coach on technique changes.

I am 58 and started swimming 10 years ago. Even though I continue to improve as a result of improved fitness, I realize technique improvements will be a big factor in continuing to improve into my 60's and beyond. I wish I had daily access to a coach to work with me on my technique. I am able to get an occasional one on one session with a coach, but for the most part since I swim alone I have to be very aware of my form. I have found it is very easy to slip into bad habits without even realizing it.

Cokie
May 8th, 2010, 07:24 PM
Like Ahelee, I feel strongly that swimmers can improve times in many of their races by focusing on technique first and foremost. Sure, age is a factor at some point. But with swimming just 10 years, even at 58, I'm guessing you still have the drive, passion and physical ability. because you swim on your own, you do face a challenge of knowing how you really look, compared to how you feel. Have a friend or family member videotape you. If you can arrange for some underwater filming, all the better. Compare what you see to quality swim videos on DVDs or places like GoSwim.tv. Focusing on striving for excellent technique in all your strokes, starts and turns, actually makes those laps and sets much more fun. Good luck!:cheerleader: