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Celestial
July 12th, 2013, 07:28 PM
How can you tell if you're overtraining? I'd like some "expert" advice from some 50 somethings (or a coach of 50 somethings!) about how to know when what I'm doing is too much. I've added weights to my swimming - I go three times a week for weights - which I follow by a fairly easy swim to loosen up my muscles. I'm still frequently sore the next day (and the next, and the next) however - but I know this is to be expected - if I didn't feel sore, I wouldn't feel like I was actually even pushing myself. the other three days of the week, I generally put in a good 90-120 minutes workout, getting in from 4500-6000m. Sometimes, like today, I get to the point where I just can NOT muster up the energy to put any real effort into the swimming - today, for instance, I did fairly well for the first 3000m, but then once we started the "real" workout, the first main set, I was just pooped. I could swim, but at only a slow pace. (By this I mean that an interval I usually can keep on a 200 by about 10 seconds, I missed by 1 second - and I was wearing zoomers. And the thought of doing like a 50 sprint, was out of the question.) This was NOT a day that I swam following weights, BTW.

Do you think this is a nutrition problem, and that I'm just not getting enough protein in my diet? I have to say categorically, that eating BEFORE practice is out of the question - I swim at 5:30 in the morning, and would probably barf if I ate before practice, although I do sometimes eat some Shot Blox. Am I overtraining & need to cut back somewhere? Or is this a short term transition (it's been going on & off for weeks now) & I need to just hang in there?

Thanks in advance!

ElaineK
July 12th, 2013, 08:39 PM
Hey Celestial!

You may want to keep track of your resting heart rate each morning when you first wake up. My usual HR is 48-52, so if it starts climbing in the mid to high 50's, I know that is one indication that I am fatigued.

Mood is another factor. When I am training well, I wake up in the morning and can't wait to get to the pool! :banana: But, when I am fatigued from overtraining, I find myself lounging in bed with an unenthusiastic attitude. When this happens, it's time to go back to :bed: and make adjustments to my training regimen!

As for nutrition, make sure you are getting plenty of lean protein in your diet. I prefer seafood, chicken, beans and nuts over beef and pork, but that's just me...

Don't forget to eat your fruits and vegetables! :D

Good luck! :cheerleader:

Fresnoid
July 12th, 2013, 08:49 PM
I'm 50 and dealing with the same issue. If you hit the weights hard enough to be sore, you're usually going to swim like crap the next day. Just accept that and slog through it. As your body adjusts to the strength training, you will have to keep increasing the weights to get as sore. In other words, you get stronger. After a few more weeks, you may consider approaching two of the weight sessions as strength maintenance and only one for maxing out. Then you can be more productive in the pool the days after the weight sessions that aren't as vigorous.

__steve__
July 12th, 2013, 09:02 PM
Your resting heart rate (upon waking) will be higher than normal.


Also good to have blood work every few years at our ages

Swimosaur
July 12th, 2013, 09:39 PM
Sometimes, like today, I get to the point where I just can NOT muster up the energy to put any real effort into the swimming ...

When that happens to me, I get out of the pool. Bonk. There's no point going on, so why go on?

I would love to play my A-game every day. But, you know, some days, it ain't gonna happen. Maybe I didn't eat the right thing last night, or maybe my biorhythms are just out of phase. I'm not swimming for some freak-of-nature, hyper-demanding youth coach anymore, I'm swimming for me. When my body tells me I should be doing something else that day, I give myself permission to do it.

Your training schedule is already pretty rigorous. What are you training for? My guess is that when you bonk, it's a clear signal you need some extra rest.

knelson
July 12th, 2013, 11:16 PM
I would suggest you can't use a single workout as a gauge. We're all going to have off days. However, if you swim day after day and can't seem to break out of a funk then it's very possible you are overtraining.

orca1946
July 13th, 2013, 12:37 AM
If you don't have off days --- how do you know when you have a really great day ??
Sometimes your body just does not want to run/swim at full throttle. Sometimes the brain is into something else in your life.

mcnair
July 13th, 2013, 12:31 PM
It sounds like your body thinks you are stringing together 6 hard days in a week even if you think of it as 3 hard swim days and 3 days of recovery swimming + weights.

I agree with some of the things said above; when you get to a certain point with the weights, think about maintaining rather than constantly ramping up. Your body will adapt to that level and before too long you will be doing the weights without the extra soreness (which is holding you back on those hard swim days).

As far as nutrition goes, what you describe at about 3K in your planned 4.5-6K workouts does sound like a bonk rather than overtraining... especially because your body has more nutritional needs to help it recover from the added strength training and you are beginning your morning swim in a fasting mode. That may have worked well when you were just swimming, but your body is deploying the nutritional intake differently now that it's trying to repair and recharge muscles. I don't like having a lot of food in my stomach before a workout either, but liquid calories might be an option... have you experimented with sports drinks? Remember after about an hour, your muscles have burned all of their stored glycogen and you need to replace it for them to keep going... if you started out with a deficit, you're going to feel it a lot sooner.

I'm not a 50-something yet, still a 40-something, but toward the end of OW season last year had definitely overtrained myself... much higher than average RHR, trouble sleeping, constant unexplained fatigue in the legs, general malaise, ever poorer performances... even accounting for good nutrition. I took off 4-5 days and came back slowly, still feeling the blahs. It took about a month to recharge. Check your resting heart rate and look up some of the other symptoms... it sounds like in your case you might be able to avoid overtraining by just making a couple of little adjustments here and there. Small set back of a week or so would be much better than the month-long setback I had at the end of last summer.

Michael Heather
July 13th, 2013, 12:56 PM
For your age, you are probably overtraining. You are also over reacting and over thinking. If you have constant muscle soreness, you may want to consult a doctor. It could be unrelated to weights or swimming. Low potassium levels will have that effect, along with some tired/lethargic feelings.

gull
July 13th, 2013, 02:14 PM
I have learned that you have to listen to your body. In general we need more recovery as we age (I am 55).

I think it can be challenging to find the right amount of weight training. Personally I believe that three days/week is too much. I typically lift twice weekly, and as a distance swimmer I lift primarily for maintenance.

You could try a gel of some sort during swim practice. But the key is adequate nutrition after working out--carbs and protein within 30-45 minutes so that you replenish your muscle glycogen stores.

The Fortress
July 13th, 2013, 04:33 PM
I have learned that you have to listen to your body. In general we need more recovery as we age (I am 55).

I think it can be challenging to find the right amount of weight training. Personally I believe that three days/week is too much. I typically lift twice weekly, and as a distance swimmer I lift primarily for maintenance.

You could try a gel of some sort during swim practice. But the key is adequate nutrition after working out--carbs and protein within 30-45 minutes so that you replenish your muscle glycogen stores.

I agree with Gull. I've had much better pool workouts this past year cutting back to drylands 2x per week. 3x a week left me too fatigued to swim fast. And you can't always do weights on a "recovery" day. Could your weight workouts be too long? 6000 meters sounds very long and hard to me -- 3000 m before the main set?! Is this still the age group workouts?

Muscle soreness and fatigue also could be related to red blood cell magnesium levels. Mine is chronically low.

Celestial
July 13th, 2013, 08:49 PM
Thank you all! I went back and read some similar posts from 2004 & 2006, and an article Fortress posted on Whitney Meyers. Very informative, and I think after your good words of advice that I haven't overtrained - yet. But I think I will take the advice a couple of you have given and go down to doing weights only twice a week - perhaps if I feel the need to go to the gym, I will do core work on the mats only on that third day. I enjoy doing long workouts of 4-5000, but lately we've been doing more, and I've been so proud of myself getting such yardage!! But I'm getting older, and I don't want to lose my love of swimming - luckily I can tell you all, my RHR remains around 52-54, but I am going to take all your good advice and cut back a bit. I've been a lazy butt all day & plan to repeat it tomorrow, for starters!!

sickfish
July 14th, 2013, 04:25 AM
Bonk

This should be a scientific term. When your body says you can't do more, trust it. It's not worth the injury risk to push it. It's probably not a bad idea to experiment with different diets and see if it helps (it might!), but if you do bonk, just bail, and don't feel bad about it. You pushed your body to its limit, and that's as good as anyone can do :)

Bobinator
July 14th, 2013, 12:51 PM
Wow, you are a hard worker Celestial!!!! If I remember correctly you also work full time; I think you're a NP. I'd have to say that since I've reached my mid-fifties my profession makes me lots more tired than it used to. I have a very physical job and work 8-10 hours per day, 5 days per week. I usually try to sit down and do paper work a couple hours before working out to let my body re-coup a bit. I've also noticed whenever I add something new to my workout routine I usually end up with a run-down sinus condition.
I have given up on weight workouts but try to do strength exercises with my own body weight.
I think the advice to rest if you just aren't feeling it is great advice.
I was talking to a very successful usms female swimmer who just turned 70. She told me she swims 4X per week about 2,500 yds per swim. She said she hits each workout very hard and does high quality stuff, but if she does any more she's just too tired for the rest of her day. She also said she looks forward and savors each workout totally. I hope I'm still swimming with that type of an attitude when I'm that age.

Celestial
July 14th, 2013, 01:17 PM
Hey Boninator! Haven't heard from you in a while! I agree with you, work can be exhausting sometimes! But I swim at 5:30 am so I can't use that as an excuse, lol! I think if I could grab a 30 minute nap in the afternoon, everything would work itself out, but alas, my patients want me awake when I see them. I'm gonna cut back to doing just 4500 max for a while, and weights only twice a week. I was reading the symptoms of overtraining (it's an actual syndrome, BTW) and I have 4 out of the 9 symptoms, well, maybe only 3, but still, it was enough to sober me. And I'm sorry to say, that Fortress advised me to only do weights twice a week a couple of months ago, and I ignored her! Live & learn. I have also noticed many older people, athletes or not, seem to need quite a bit more sleep than the young - my 82 yo father-in-law is asleep more than he's awake, now days.

Celestial
July 14th, 2013, 01:21 PM
Thanks McNair! I'm gonna look into liquid protein - usually they taste like yuk though. Not sure an energy bar would stay down - unless I get up earlier to eat it. I've noticed some of the kids on the team get out during our bathroom/water break & will eat like half of a granola bar, so that's an idea.

Swimosaur
July 14th, 2013, 04:44 PM
Bonk. This should be a scientific term...

It sort of already is (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitting_the_wall) ...


In endurance sports such as cycling and running,hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy...

gull
July 14th, 2013, 06:20 PM
Thanks McNair! I'm gonna look into liquid protein - usually they taste like yuk though. Not sure an energy bar would stay down - unless I get up earlier to eat it. I've noticed some of the kids on the team get out during our bathroom/water break & will eat like half of a granola bar, so that's an idea.

You might try EFS shots. They contain carbs and protein and actually taste pretty good. Just be sure to drink water or Gatorade with the shot as it is fairly concentrated.

Glenn
July 14th, 2013, 08:24 PM
I agree with Fort, weights 2 x's a week is enough. It also sounds like you need a recovery day once a week where you just swim EZ. Also you may want to consider a recovery week every so often!

In terms of nutrition, when I was at the High Performance Camp two years ago, we had Jennifer Brunelli (wife of Nick Brunelli) a registered dietitian and a VERY good swimmer when she was at North Carolina, talk with the group. She said two things which I have adadopted since. One was to put a few grapes at your bedside to munch on when you awaken during the night. This keeps your blood sugar up for when you arise in the morning (I put two grapes on my night stand). The second thing was the importance of eating before workout even if you swim at 5:30AM.

I too never thought I could do this ( and I swim at 5:30AM), but what she suggested and what I do is have two Ritz crackers with peanut butter and a swig of milk to wash them down before I leave for the pool. This has NEVER bothered me. Or if you think two is too much, start with one cracker or even a half and see how it goes. Your body needs fuel to perform. Try it.

The Fortress
July 14th, 2013, 09:29 PM
I agree with Fort, weights 2 x's a week is enough. It also sounds like you need a recovery day once a week where you just swim EZ. Also you may want to consider a recovery week every so often!

Yes! I agree with the recovery week concept and should have mentioned it earlier. I can't seem to do more than 4 weeks of intense training without needing a recovery week -- consisting of fairly easy workouts and eliminating weights entirely. I typically try to plan these around meets. If I fail to do this, I start to feel run down. Recovery is important and allows your body to adapt and supercompensate. Too little recovery, there is no supercompensation and overtraining can occur.

And I completely agree with what you said about sleep, Celestial! I definitely need more than I used to to sustain my training. Without enough sleep, my capacity for performance declines and I get de-motivated.

Bill Sive
July 15th, 2013, 09:06 AM
I would be a member of this age group. I do the following:

- Before workout one or two energy bars, or one banana. Wash down with Alo Water, or Cocunut water
- average workout, depending on time in pool, minimum of 2500 meters, up to 4000 meters.
- Saturday and Sunday (during summer) are my double dip or triple dip days. (Double Dip - 4000 meters in AM, 2000 meters in PM) (Triple Dip - 4000 meters in AM, 2000 meters in early afternoon, 1000 meters in late afternoon)
- follow up each workout with another banana, and coconut water
- Monday is a no swim day

Currently a big fan of MiO Engery) over Gatorade and PowerAde.

Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Get a massage once a month. Take a multi-vitamin on workout days.

knelson
July 15th, 2013, 09:48 AM
Hey Boninator! Haven't heard from you in a while! I agree with you, work can be exhausting sometimes! But I swim at 5:30 am so I can't use that as an excuse, lol!

Hey, you've got to roll out of bed to get to that 5:30 workout. That's the hardest part!

Celestial
July 15th, 2013, 07:40 PM
You guys are all so great! So supportive and encouraging! We'll see on the eating thing, I have to also then figure out when to take my thyroid (it's supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, an hour before eating). That's a big part of why I resist eating right off, but I might be able to take it before bed, if I can stay out of the ice cream!

The Fortress
July 15th, 2013, 07:49 PM
You guys are all so great! So supportive and encouraging! We'll see on the eating thing, I have to also then figure out when to take my thyroid (it's supposed to be taken on an empty stomach, an hour before eating). That's a big part of why I resist eating right off, but I might be able to take it before bed, if I can stay out of the ice cream!

I thought you could eat as little as 30 minutes after taking it? The new research says thyroid meds are absorbed better if taken before bed. But I have the same problem as you -- finding a time when my stomach has been empty. I have to take mine 2x day, and it is a huge pain.

I agree with Kirk! I could never get out of bed at 5:30 to train; it takes some real discipline.

StewartACarroll
July 15th, 2013, 08:11 PM
I agree with Kirk! I could never get out of bed at 5:30 to train; it takes some real discipline.

When you can't sleep past 4.30am as is often my problem, a 5.30am swim is easy!

Some may find this a typical distance swimmer comment but I love swimming distance sets in the morning. It's like my wakeup coffee.