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humanpunchingbag
March 3rd, 2010, 05:53 PM
Lately, between work,stressing out over trying to get financing on a business deal and training I have just been exhausted. My work-out pace-times have dropped off and my "race-pace" sets are either agonizing or just disappointing. This is from a peak about a month ago when I was swimming seconds faster than my projected race pace on all my 50s,75s, and 100s

So what's the solution? Bumble on through the rough spot and hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel? Stop training for a week or more and recover? Switch training to something else altogether? Or maybe pick the pace up and punish my old bones into obeying the master plan?

stillwater
March 3rd, 2010, 06:02 PM
Bumble through. Stick to your master plan.

What reallys sucks is when you have a bad meet.

It will pass. You will win another gold medal.

orca1946
March 3rd, 2010, 07:32 PM
LIfe always gets in the way of feeling great every day. Use swimming as a way to get away from the other stuff & have fun with !

funkyfish
March 3rd, 2010, 08:15 PM
For days when my practice times are off, I force myself to switch gears and do drill and stroke work. I still have yet to achieve my optimal stroke, and find that when I'm not able to push through things from a physical perspective, I'll switch gears and work on the fine tuning. After a few sessions I'm able to up the intensity/distance and hopefully a little bit of the fine tuning stays with me. It'll pass. My :2cents:

Lump
March 3rd, 2010, 09:44 PM
I NEVER worry too much about my practice times until I get into a taper (then you find out if you trained hard enough). Life is a roller coaster....I always have a mix of how I swim and feel in practice. Enjoy the highs, push through the lows!

The Fortress
March 3rd, 2010, 09:55 PM
For days when my practice times are off, I force myself to switch gears and do drill and stroke work. I still have yet to achieve my optimal stroke, and find that when I'm not able to push through things from a physical perspective, I'll switch gears and work on the fine tuning. After a few sessions I'm able to up the intensity/distance and hopefully a little bit of the fine tuning stays with me. It'll pass. My :2cents:

Good advice! I've been feeling somewhat tired and perhaps overtrained lately as well. And very exhausted. I've therefore done three recovery workouts in a row (2 easy swims focusing on drills and hypoxic work and 1 yoga). I'm hoping to ramp it back up tomorrow. Do you take a day off every week? I think I veered off course a bit when I failed to do this for a few weeks. But don't try to "punish" and "bludgeon" the already old bones! The older we get, the more recovery and smart training we need. Switch gears or cross train for a bit. Or even take a couple days completely off.

pwb
March 3rd, 2010, 10:25 PM
So what's the solution? Bumble on through the rough spot and hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel? Stop training for a week or more and recover? Switch training to something else altogether? Or maybe pick the pace up and punish my old bones into obeying the master plan?I'm right with you right now. My 'grand plan' had me doing quality work now (and over the last 2 weeks) and then tapering for a meet on March 13th. I'm just wiped this week; I'm not over-trained, just wiped from work/life. I toned down today, will take tomorrow off and am going to try, try, try to get more sleep. I imagine I'll cruise a workout on Friday and Saturday and rest again Sunday. Hopefully, by next week, after some nights of good sleep, I'll be able to swim better/faster and can do a mini-taper, but who knows. One thing I do try to do, though, is still get in the water on most days -- today I did only ~1400 yards just to keep the feel.

craig mayo
March 4th, 2010, 05:08 PM
Bingo Orca. You nailed it! Swimming is the release to all the other "stresses", keep it enjoyable. Dont let it set on the scales of work. It has to be on the release side, or it will be just one more task to have to accomplish, one more brick on the pile.

ljodpundari
March 4th, 2010, 06:08 PM
Have you ever tried meditation? One of the standard introductions is to count your breaths. I just slow down a bit and count my strokes, and let that settle me down from whatever's been stressing me. Focus on the little things like s/l or rotation, and let go of your goals for a couple of weeks.

RJCurwen
March 5th, 2010, 01:25 PM
LIfe always gets in the way of feeling great every day. Use swimming as a way to get away from the other stuff & have fun with !


I agree with this too. Whenever i'm overly tired (which i have been a lot recently with 55-60 hour work weeks) I try to swim accordingly. I don't think there's any reason that you have to swim hard every session. I'll take a workout and just swim conservatively. Aiming to be long and strong, hold my form and not worry about times being slower. 8 hours of sleep and a day off training at least once a week helps me too.

stevenwjoe
March 31st, 2010, 02:25 AM
I usually swim five days, actually late at night, and take the weekend off, mainly because the pool hours are short and it is overcrowded with weekend warriors strutting their stuff. But, I always come back on Monday feeling rested and stronger. By Wednesday, I am getting a little blah and I just tell myself go down to the pool, jump in, get wet, do some drills, work on form, have some fun without hammering, but after I get warmed up I usually hammer a couple of sets anyway. Then on Thursday, I am really tired and just tell myself go down to the pool, jump in, get wet, do some drills, work on my form, have some fun and that is what I usually do on Thursday, because I feel like I earned an easy day and I am too tired to do any real quality speed sets anyway. Then on Friday I am a little recovered and maybe do a few fast sets, maybe reduce the distance a little and then I am ready to do something totally different all weekend. By Monday, I am ready to swim again. What I am saying is that you can burn yourself out going at it hard everyday and it is not fun anymore. You need to find a routine that is right for you, so you don't dread it, that is the worse thing to do, dreading the workout every day all week long. You have to find a routine that is good and balanced, maybe it is two or three hard days in a row followed by a day off or you do a five day work week and have fun on the weekend, or maybe you just go do the masters workout three to five times a week and that's it, you don't think about it anymore, you just do it. And when you feel the blah, just tell yourself, today, I am just going down to the pool, jump in, get wet, work on form and have some fun. And even if you spend a week or a month or even a year just working on form it can be incredibly productive in the long run, because swimming is maybe 50% form anyway. You can always do lighter more paced form sets instead of speed sets as well, personally I love doing all kinds of sets.

So just remember to tell yourself, "Ok, today, I am just going down to the pool, jump in, get wet, do some drills, work on form and have fun," and then see what happens.

hawk43
March 31st, 2010, 09:09 AM
Are you lifting weights or doing any other dry land workouts? If find that when I "hit the wall" as you have, I back off on the dryland and weight work for a week, add a bit more technique work in the pool, focus on extra sleep and take one day extra rest that particular week (I rest Wed and Sundays0, so typically my extra rest day is Saturday, if needed. Then I hit it hard again starting Monday.)

Two weeks ago I swam in a 3-day USA meet without tapering and the week following I was wiped out. I tried to hit it hard but the body needed extra rest. Last week I was feeling a little better and started ramping up again in the weight room and pool. And this week I feel great (sore but good). I pushed a hard set of broken 100s yesterday after lifting legs hard the day before. Today I feel surprisingly good.

So the key for me is "listening" to my body and if it is telling me I need to back off I do. Pushing through it simply does not work for me because then I reach a point where I am not improving and it then becomes a chore. And I am in it to feel good, have fun and swim fast. When I am over tired all three of those goals are not met... So I rest.

Be careful though, you have to be honest with yourself, because it is a fine line. If you back off and rest too much you will not be training hard enough to be in optimal shape come race time. That is why having the Master Plan is a good idea. Have a rest week built into your season training schedule.

Last but not least -- when the stress of work and family is high, dont forget to watch what you eat and take extra vitamin B, plus extra fruit and water throughout the day. Sometimes, when I get really busy with life I forget to drink water and my diet gets out of sync with my training.

chowmi
March 31st, 2010, 12:34 PM
Here are my suggestions:

1. Work on your 10 Ten Greatest Hits Album items (previously covered)analogy
2. Michelle's Meatloaf Strategy: 2 out of 3 ain't bad!
3. Give yourself a hand (mentally)!

How easy it would be to give up on everything else in pursuit of masters glory. Often, it takes everything you have just to GET to the pool on time, running on EMPTY by the time you get there, for your daily 1 hour alloted workout time. So how do you "train" under these circumstances? Meatloaf it!!!

Training, rest, and nutrition are the big three. When you are feeling tired, focus on the other 2: eat well, and rest well. Just eat in moderation and try to get as much sleep as possible. Work with aspects that are more in your control. Don't go overboard, go ahead and have a piece of cake, ice cream, too! Just don't eat the whole cake and a bag of chips every night! Can't fall asleep? Don't add to your worries, listen to some music or do your mental imagery until you fall asleep!

Like analyzing a financial deal, you go line item by line item, and true-up what you can - you want to be able to say something like this to yourself: "I've paid attention to my rest and recovery, and i've eaten in moderation. I've been swimming for years, and swimming well in the recent past. I'm currently swimming quite well, considering. And I have a postive can-do attitude. I have attended to everything within my control. I am looking foward to swimming today!"

One of the most difficult things is to stick to is your OWN plan. And like your financing deal, be very specific with the terms of your swimming (aka your master plan). What is the "return" you are looking for? Are you targeting fast race swims? A target of distance to get in per workout? Or is your main goal to hit certain target practice times and repeats? There is no right answer here - it's up to you. Sometimes, it can be all three. Other times, you leave something on the table in pursuit of one goal in particular. With about 1 hour on average per day, how do you maximize that hour to achieve YOUR goal?

Recognize that NO ONE else is doing EXACTLY what you are doing in ALL aspects of your life - and also recognize that not ONE person can tell you exactly what you NEED to do, not your coach, not your co-workers, and perhaps not even your spouse or family --- because no one EXCEPT you knows all the things you do to make the whole. The hardest part is finding the right combination of things to put on your greatest hits album. You can do it! You've already identified dissatisfication with the current state - so now figure out what you really WANT TO DO, and make the adjustments!

Your mental attitude and stick to YOUR master plan: It is very seldom that the stars align and you will be perfectly ready for your swim (whether it's practice goals or meet goals). The hardest part is to not fall off the deep end and completely lose it just because you weren't "ready". It's the same as the glass half full/empy: You can decide (mentally) to say, "Ready? I'm always ready! I hit 2 out of 3!" or whether you say, "I"m not ready! I didn't do xyz!"

You can do it!

Karen Duggan
March 31st, 2010, 02:20 PM
Have you ever tried meditation? One of the standard introductions is to count your breaths. I just slow down a bit and count my strokes, and let that settle me down from whatever's been stressing me. Focus on the little things like s/l or rotation, and let go of your goals for a couple of weeks.

Mr. Moose is that you?

spell_me
April 3rd, 2010, 09:39 AM
Here are my suggestions:

1. Work on your 10 Ten Greatest Hits Album items (previously covered)analogy
2. Michelle's Meatloaf Strategy: 2 out of 3 ain't bad!
3. Give yourself a hand (mentally)!

How easy it would be to give up on everything else in pursuit of masters glory. Often, it takes everything you have just to GET to the pool on time, running on EMPTY by the time you get there, for your daily 1 hour alloted workout time. So how do you "train" under these circumstances? Meatloaf it!!!

Training, rest, and nutrition are the big three. When you are feeling tired, focus on the other 2: eat well, and rest well. Just eat in moderation and try to get as much sleep as possible. Work with aspects that are more in your control. Don't go overboard, go ahead and have a piece of cake, ice cream, too! Just don't eat the whole cake and a bag of chips every night! Can't fall asleep? Don't add to your worries, listen to some music or do your mental imagery until you fall asleep!

Like analyzing a financial deal, you go line item by line item, and true-up what you can - you want to be able to say something like this to yourself: "I've paid attention to my rest and recovery, and i've eaten in moderation. I've been swimming for years, and swimming well in the recent past. I'm currently swimming quite well, considering. And I have a postive can-do attitude. I have attended to everything within my control. I am looking foward to swimming today!"

One of the most difficult things is to stick to is your OWN plan. And like your financing deal, be very specific with the terms of your swimming (aka your master plan). What is the "return" you are looking for? Are you targeting fast race swims? A target of distance to get in per workout? Or is your main goal to hit certain target practice times and repeats? There is no right answer here - it's up to you. Sometimes, it can be all three. Other times, you leave something on the table in pursuit of one goal in particular. With about 1 hour on average per day, how do you maximize that hour to achieve YOUR goal?

Recognize that NO ONE else is doing EXACTLY what you are doing in ALL aspects of your life - and also recognize that not ONE person can tell you exactly what you NEED to do, not your coach, not your co-workers, and perhaps not even your spouse or family --- because no one EXCEPT you knows all the things you do to make the whole. The hardest part is finding the right combination of things to put on your greatest hits album. You can do it! You've already identified dissatisfication with the current state - so now figure out what you really WANT TO DO, and make the adjustments!

Your mental attitude and stick to YOUR master plan: It is very seldom that the stars align and you will be perfectly ready for your swim (whether it's practice goals or meet goals). The hardest part is to not fall off the deep end and completely lose it just because you weren't "ready". It's the same as the glass half full/empy: You can decide (mentally) to say, "Ready? I'm always ready! I hit 2 out of 3!" or whether you say, "I"m not ready! I didn't do xyz!"

You can do it!

This is one if the best posts ever!!!

jim thornton
April 3rd, 2010, 10:18 PM
In an earlier thread started by JayHawk, she posted news of a study that concludes part of what may be ailing you. Here's the abstract for the study:

J Appl Physiol 106: 857-864, 2009. First published January 8, 2009; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.91324.2008 Mental fatigue impairs physical performance in humans

Samuele M. Marcora, Walter Staiano, and Victoria Manning School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, United Kingdom
Submitted 4 October 2008 ; accepted in final form 5 January 2009

Mental fatigue is a psychobiological state caused by prolonged periods of demanding cognitive activity. Although the impact of mental fatigue on cognitive and skilled performance is well known, its effect on physical performance has not been thoroughly investigated. In this randomized crossover study, 16 subjects cycled to exhaustion at 80% of their peak power output after 90 min of a demanding cognitive task (mental fatigue) or 90 min of watching emotionally neutral documentaries (control). After experimental treatment, a mood questionnaire revealed a state of mental fatigue (P = 0.005) that significantly reduced time to exhaustion (640 316 s) compared with the control condition (754 339 s) (P = 0.003). This negative effect was not mediated by cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic factors as physiological responses to intense exercise remained largely unaffected. Self-reported success and intrinsic motivation related to the physical task were also unaffected by prior cognitive activity. However, mentally fatigued subjects rated perception of effort during exercise to be significantly higher compared with the control condition (P = 0.007). As ratings of perceived exertion increased similarly over time in both conditions (P < 0.001), mentally fatigued subjects reached their maximal level of perceived exertion and disengaged from the physical task earlier than in the control condition. In conclusion, our study provides experimental evidence that mental fatigue limits exercise tolerance in humans through higher perception of effort rather than cardiorespiratory and musculoenergetic mechanisms. Future research in this area should investigate the common neurocognitive resources shared by physical and mental activity.
exercise performance; endurance; perceived exertion; motivation


One positive note here: you might find that actual meet experience is less effected that your practice performance because the excitement of the competition might override your perceived exertion.


All this aside, I go through periodic periods of extreme grogginess that often translates into lackluster (at best) swimming practices. Sometimes these seem related to work; sometimes they seem related to outside stress; sometimes they seem related to the onset of a cold or viral infection.

Most often, I can't really figure out what, if anything other than weakness of my character, is causing it.

Then it sort of goes away for a while.

Then it comes back.

I think all the advice here is excellent, but the best and hardest to apply is just accepting this is how it is to be human.