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View Full Version : (In)ability to warm up at meets - what do you do?



smontanaro
May 9th, 2012, 02:33 PM
From the thread on tapering:


For the last few weeks, I experiment with a meet warm-up.

I've never raced that much, and haven't been to a meet in a couple years except to watch, however, the thing that always bothered me most about meets was actually trying to warm up. I found it virtually impossible to do anything useful in a lane with 13 people, five of whom are chatting at the walls, and the other seven of whom were (trying to) do something much different than I was or doing it at a much different pace. I frequently would give up after a few minutes and just get out.

Skip

knelson
May 9th, 2012, 02:43 PM
Be ready to get in right when the pool opens for warmups. Usually you can get in a few hundred before it gets really crowded.

FR.LLC
May 9th, 2012, 02:57 PM
Be ready to get in right when the pool opens for warmups. Usually you can get in a few hundred before it gets really crowded.
Good idea.

Couroboros
May 9th, 2012, 03:13 PM
For me, considering the amount of importance I place on warming-up, I have made it a priority since the fall of last year to always, always be the first one to show up to the pool for a meet and the first one to hop in the pool when the official announces that it's open. This always lets me get in at least several hundred yards/meters before my lane gets crowded. Usually by that time, I'm almost ready or am ready to start doing fast 50s or 25s. That makes it easier because you can use the time you're on the wall waiting for a good "window" to start your fast lap(s) as the rest between, you know?

jaadams1
May 9th, 2012, 03:18 PM
Be ready to get in right when the pool opens for warmups. Usually you can get in a few hundred before it gets really crowded.

I did win the coveted "first one in award" at the PNA Champs this year. Too bad That Guy wasn't there to duel me for it. :(

gdanner
May 9th, 2012, 03:19 PM
From the thread on tapering:

I've never raced that much, and haven't been to a meet in a couple years except to watch, however, the thing that always bothered me most about meets was actually trying to warm up. I found it virtually impossible to do anything useful in a lane with 13 people, five of whom are chatting at the walls, and the other seven of whom were (trying to) do something much different than I was or doing it at a much different pace. I frequently would give up after a few minutes and just get out.

Skip

Definitely aggravating. Sometimes you can't do anything about it.

1. The pool is usually less crowded very early or very late.
2. If they have pace lanes (not sure how common this is at USMS meets), just do your warmup entirely in groups of 50's.
3. If in the normal lanes, I might go extra slow at times to try and create an open pocket in front of me where I can then build/sprint if only for a short distance.

That Guy
May 9th, 2012, 03:31 PM
I did win the coveted "first one in award" at the PNA Champs this year. Too bad That Guy wasn't there to duel me for it. :(
I was first in on the second day of the meet :agree:

orca1946
May 9th, 2012, 05:04 PM
Be 65+ and you get your own lane:)

Some times you just need to get used to others around you not doing what you are doing. Yes in early will give you more room.

swimsuit addict
May 9th, 2012, 05:39 PM
For big meets meets that I have tapered for, I will sometimes research other nearby pools and use them for my main warmup and warmdown, and just do a little pre-event warmup at the main pool. This works especially well at a big multi-day meet like nationals, where the importance of swimming in the competition pool to notice markings and such is less after the first day, and where the time-line often means that a later warmup will work better for those not swimming the first event. You can often find pools with lapswim hours where you get your own lane within 10-20 minutes of the competition site. It's worth investigating, although not something I would go to the trouble of doing for smaller in-season competitions.

guppy
May 9th, 2012, 09:21 PM
Swim on distance day. Problem solved.

swoomer
May 9th, 2012, 09:48 PM
Don't go into the warm-up pool with a preconceived idea of what your warm-up should be. Hold your ground when you need to, and be sensitive to those slower and faster than you are. Sometimes, as an older, slower swimmer, my warm-up consists of a long series of 25's. Not ideal, but it works for me.

No one swimmer's warm-up is more important than anothers's. If everyone remembered that, no one would be intimidated, bruised, or battered in the warm-up pool.

rxleakem
May 9th, 2012, 10:19 PM
I find that it gets a bit less congested after sprint lanes open up, or in the warmup pool if there is one. Using gdanner's tip number three helps, too. :D

pwb
May 9th, 2012, 10:51 PM
If you're a real stickler for lane space in warmup, the trick is to NOT use Nationals or big regional meets as taper meets. Come to any of our Arizona state championships: we always have GOBS of warmup lanes for any of SCY, SCM or LCM championships.

However, if you do want to go to a big meet, here's what's worked for me (YMMV):


Figure out what your optimal pre-race warmup time is. For me, I like to warm-up for about 20-40 minutes (depending upon the race distance, time of the year, space) and then have 20-25 minutes before my race is scheduled to go off.

What this meant at Nationals is that I never was in the competition pools for the general warmups, but did all my warmups in the warmup pools.


In the week or so leading up to the meet (longer if you can), practice a warmup routine that consists of hard efforts between 12.5, 25, 37.5 and 50 yards.

Rid yourself of the notion that you'll get to do faster/pace 100s
Accept that you'll likely not even get to do faster/pace 50s
Simulate the likely warmup session you're going to be able to do at the meet during workouts and learn what works best to get you revved and ready to swim.


Unless there's something really funky about the blocks, the walls or the backstroke flags, I don't think there's much value/need to go off the blocks during warmups. Exceptions:

New blocks like the ones with the track start wedge that you might not be used to,
Funky placement of backstroke start grips that you might not be used to

aquajock
May 9th, 2012, 10:59 PM
I more or less make the best of it and allow extra warm-up time since with all the congestion it takes me longer to get what I need. I've had lots of really good swims at our state meets because of abundant warm up space and - my big requirement for fast swimming - HEAT!

Betsy
May 10th, 2012, 11:01 AM
At nationals, I find it helpful to warm-up as soon as the pool opens. You can get in 400-500 in peace. If my event is late in the day, I leave and have breakfast. When it is time to race, I'll do a short warm-up in the crowd.
As someone else mentioned, I have done a complete warm-up as a series of 25's. It can be done if you don't let yourself get irritated by others.

Chris Stevenson
May 10th, 2012, 11:54 AM
1. Use the warmup pool during the regular warmup, when most people are using the competition pool. I can even get some pace work in sometimes.

2. Unless you are really not a morning person, come early and warm up during the slow heats of the 400 IMs or 400/500 freestyle events. I was in the warmup pool for the first few heats of the men's 500 and even managed to get in some 100s pace. (Of course this was on the last day of the meet, which is often less crowded.) If you are a Gold Medal sponsor, come early and warm up and then have breakfast.

3. I often need to warm up my legs more before leg-intensive events, in which the legs seem to attract lactic acid like ******* does flies. If space is limited, try vertical kicking bursts (tip from Rich Abrahams) to get the lactic acid removal machinery started before the race.

4. About the need to use the blocks, I never need to do so for diving but usually like to get in some backstroke starts. Partly this is psychological, but I have slipped on too many starts to trust touchpads, and if I don't trust the touchpad I get tentative. If the lines for the sprint lanes are very long, sometimes I'll just SET UP for a backstroke start in the non-sprint lanes (obviously you cannot actually DO a start), just enough to convince myself that I won't slip in my preferred positions for placing hands and feet. With good pads you can pull yourself clean out of the water and almost stand up without your feet losing their grip.

5. In the name of all that is good, avoid the wamup pools during the 50s unless you absolutely have to use them. During those events you have a large number of people racing in a relatively short amount of time, and they all seem to think that a 30-sec race requires 30 min of warm down. The pool is always VERY crowded during the 50s.

6. As it does with so many things, coffee helps this too. Also keep your muscles warm.

chowmi
May 10th, 2012, 12:33 PM
All great ideas!

Since you already know a meet warm up is not ideal due to the inability to recreate your workout routine, then work backwards from that, and not wonder what to do the eve of your warmup. MUST you get in certain yardage? MUST you do a certain pace set? MUST you hold certain intervals or test your speed on 25's? MUST you get in at a certain time? Are you completely inflexible with which pool to start/finish/warm up in? How about your diet? Can you drink coffee to assist with staying warm?

Where are you not willing to adjust, and what elements can you actively work on DURING THE SEASON so that you can be entirely flexible about it come race day warm up?

The last thing i'll post here is probably NOT what most masters do, but it works for me, and as Ande (sorry if it's someone else i'm not giving credit to) says, "What's good for me is only good for me" (You, him, her, but you get the idea), so with that, here's just one more idea: Train yourself to be ready with less warm up. 600 is fine for me.

__steve__
May 10th, 2012, 03:29 PM
As odd as this might appear to others, I wonder if wetsuits are allowed to be worn during warm up.

pwb
May 10th, 2012, 04:30 PM
As odd as this might appear to others, I wonder if wetsuits are allowed to be worn during warm up.Just make sure chaos isn't around ... and stop during the National Anthem ...:bolt:

Three Rivers
May 10th, 2012, 05:29 PM
I just ask the people leaning on the wall, if this is the slow lane. They often move away.

Fins25
May 10th, 2012, 06:06 PM
Warming up can be an absolute nightmare. Like other people have said, get there early so that you can get a good 400-500 in before it gets crowded.

After you have done that it isn't too hard to do a set of 50's where you build your pace. If there are slower swimmers in front just go past them.

By then the sprint lanes should be ready to go to to some simple sprint efforts and then you should be good to go.

It can be really annoying sometimes but it is really just a matter of loosening up and getting a good feel for the water.

__steve__
May 10th, 2012, 06:17 PM
Just make sure chaos isn't around ... and stop during the National Anthem ...:bolt:He already called me a noodler once before.

orca1946
May 11th, 2012, 06:07 PM
Some on deck moves:banana::bow::applaud::bolt: after a limited pool time may be the answer!

Rnovitske
May 12th, 2012, 09:32 PM
I just ask the people leaning on the wall, if this is the slow lane. They often move away.
:rofl:
Has anyone ever answered, "Yes it is!"

Fresnoid
May 12th, 2012, 11:03 PM
I'm not very fast and a lethargic distance swimmer who needs lots of warm up. My solution: only go to regional meets and only go to Nationals when it is at Clovis North :cool:

vimier
May 13th, 2012, 09:18 PM
The key is to get into a lane with people who are going to be doing the same thing as you. This is pretty easy to do if you are on a team. Just organize a warmup, and then all get in the same lane and continue to do the warmup until the lane clears out. Do not do this to be rude, but you deserve to warm up just as much as the next person.

aquajock
May 15th, 2012, 01:06 PM
I wish they would have a paced 50s lane with someone there to send people off on say 1:30 intervals.

Jimbosback
May 15th, 2012, 11:25 PM
The key is to get into a lane with people who are going to be doing the same thing as you. This is pretty easy to do if you are on a team. Just organize a warmup, and then all get in the same lane and continue to do the warmup until the lane clears out. Do not do this to be rude, but you deserve to warm up just as much as the next person.

I have a hard time warming up, but one of the things that works for me is to watch for a while and see if groups like this are forming -- they usually stop pretty much together, and you can sneak in at the tail end of it. It usually gives me a couple hundred before the lane fills up again.

Also, just take what you can get. If you have to get your yards in broken 25s, just do it.