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Craziness
February 12th, 2014, 05:04 PM
Hi guys!

I need help, if you can please assist me. I used to swim competitively when i was younger up until i was 17, and back then i was improving a lot, very fast. I am extremely frustrated, as all i want to do is to become a faster Masters swimmer, and be the best that i can be. I'm still young so I want to take advantage of that, i came back to the pool about two years ago after being off for about 8. I'm doing cross training with Running intervals 2x/week for 45 mins, doing a weight routine designed for swimming 2X/week, and swimming with my team 5-6X/week. I've been doing this for about a year now, and my times have not changed at all, or have changed very little. I am investing a lot, I even have a nutritionist to help me with a good diet to support my workouts, and nothing. I was told that What's worse, I see people who seldom go to practice, or don't train all that much and they are quite fast. I feel like all the work that I am putting in is not paying off at all as it should be.

Any help, advise or anything would be hugely appreciated.

mmlr38
February 12th, 2014, 09:06 PM
I'm a life-long athlete, but fairly new to competitive swimming, having started swimming competitively for the first time in my life only a couple of years ago, but one thing I've noticed is that fitness and conditioning, while important, are secondary to good technique. To get faster sometimes one has to take a step back from training hard and focus on training smart. How often during the 5-6 swim workouts per week are you focusing on improving your technique? Do you mostly get in and swim hard or do you take the time to improve your stroke? Are you cognizant of the inefficiencies in your stroke while you're working out and mentally focus on removing or fixing them? Good technique will pay much higher dividends than will being in good shape.

Michael Heather
February 12th, 2014, 11:22 PM
To answer your question, one only needs to look at your routine. 5-6 workouts, 2 weight sessions and 2 crosstraining sessions per week. Your body is not getting enough rest. take a day or two off each week. All of that exercise, while invigorating, tears down muscle mass and creates fatigue, of which both can be relieved by rest. More exercise may seem like that answer, but there are two sides to every coin. The more you practice and train, the more your body needs rest and time to absorb the benefits.

ourswimmer
February 13th, 2014, 09:47 AM
I used to swim competitively when i was younger up until i was 17, and back then i was improving a lot, very fast. I am extremely frustrated, as all i want to do is to become a faster Masters swimmer, and be the best that i can be.

Of course you were improving a lot, very fast, in your teens. You were growing. But your arms and legs stopped getting longer eight or ten years ago. You might be able to put on muscle mass through training, but you're not going to pack it on the way you did as a teen; and anyway, bodybuilder-style muscle mass does not seem to correlate much with swimming speed.

Technique does. The most likely reason that people who "seldom go to practice" are "quite fast" compared to you is that their technique is superior. Their hips are at the surface. Their elbows are above their wrists throughout their pulls. Their hands are in line with their forearms, and their forearms point straight down rather than sweeping under their bodies. Their faces look directly to the side when they breathe, and only their top eyes come out of the water. Their torsos stay straight when they pull, rather than wiggling from side to side.

I am faster at 46 than I was at 30. For instance, I can go about 5 seconds faster now in the 500, and about 20 seconds faster in the 1500/1650, than I could then. My resting heart rate isn't any lower, although my maximum heart rate probably is. My body composition hasn't changed significantly. The best explanation for my improvement is that my technique is better.

knelson
February 13th, 2014, 10:08 AM
What events are you training for and how are you training for those events?

The Fortress
February 13th, 2014, 10:39 AM
What events are you training for and how are you training for those events?

Yes, this is key. Your masters workouts may not be correct/ideal training for the particular events you are racing.

And agree with the above --technique is king.

Why are you running? IMO running in now way helps swimming. It only makes the legs fatigued for pool workouts. How can you execute a good kick set or work on streamline dolphin kick very effectively with dead legs? Trust me, I was a dedicated runner, but got faster at swimming when I stopped running. Most cross-training, with the possible exception of weights, doesn't really help swimming, which is such a specific technique oriented sport.

Swimspire
February 13th, 2014, 11:15 AM
As you can see from the replies here, there are a variety of answers to your question, ranging from slowing down your routine to increasing your focus on technique. The answer is dependent upon your specific needs as a swimmer. Being fast or slow is relative, but not improving indicates that there is a problem in the type of workouts you are doing.

Your frustration has been echoed by many other swimmers, and is one of the reasons I created my online coaching site, Swimspire (http://www.swimspire.com).

As a teenager, you were able to improve quickly at any costs due to your body's development as you grew up. Now it will not be as easy to improve simply by getting in the pool and swimming fast. Nor will you improve if you switch your focus and work only on technique. You will need to have your stroke assessed independently and then complete workouts that blend specific drills to work on your areas of weakness with fullstroke/interval sets. Focusing on proper technique with a mix of fullstroke will help adjust your swimming towards improvement.

Best of luck in your swimming endeavors!

habu987
February 13th, 2014, 01:27 PM
My $.02.

What events are you training for? Your team's practices might not be conducive to training for certain events. For example, the practices I swim are woefully inadequate for training for the 200 fly and 400 IM, so I have to train for those events on my own, while I can more or less train for the other events I swim during the team practices.

Quality over quantity. Like you, I made a ton of improvement swimming up until college, back when I was doing doubles and 12,000+ yards a day. Now, 2.5 years back in the water as a masters swimmer, I'm lucky to get in an hour and 3,500-4,000 yards a day, 3-5 times a week. I'm close to my old age group best times in backstroke and sprint fly, and that's because I'm focusing much more on quality and technique than garbage yardage. In addition, if you're training for the 200 back, for example, but all your team practices are free oriented, those are going to be much lower quality practices than a back focused practice. My team's Saturday practices are usually distance free practices. When I go, I usually down a lane and swim backstroke instead of free since I don't compete in free events--that way, I can get some benefit out of a practice that would otherwise be useless for me outside of general conditioning.

Technique, technique, technique! You could be putting in 12,000 yards a day, but if you've got cruddy technique, that's pure garbage yardage. A 3,000 yard practice with good technique is going to be better than a 5,000 yard practice with bad technique. For me, I don't have the endurance that I used to. Sure, I can go knock out a good 200 back, but I don't have the limitless endurance that I did when I was 17. I've had to focus on ironing out the flaws in my technique as I've gotten older in order to maintain the same (well, nearly the same) speed that I used to have. I used to be able to muscle through events as a teenager with pretty shoddy technique without any problems. Nowadays, not so much.

The biggest mental shift for me as a masters swimmer has been the focus on exemplary technique, targeted practices, and focus on high quality over high yardage.

Craziness
February 13th, 2014, 02:02 PM
WOW!!

Thanks you guys for all your advise! In response to some of your questions, I am training for 200 I.M and 200 Breast and some long distance freestyle events (400 and 800). I do try to focus on my technique and my coach constantly gives me pointers and drills to correct it in all strokes, especially because of my I.M. event, but that is definitely an area that I need to improve and try to be mindful about it. In practice, we do a mix of drills, plus fast intervals, distance, kick, etc. and at times I modify the set to myself for say practice more breastroke or things like that. In terms of rest, I've actually cut-down on my workouts, and i make sure i have a break between one and the other whereas I used to have them more back to back, and always take at least Sundays off to rest. I guess my frustration comes that when I started back in Masters, I improved quite a bit and got to a point where i was getting faster but i was overloading myself and ended up over trained and with physical exhaustion. I took time off to recover and then i decided to try again but smarter, that's why i got the trainer to set me up with a program with weights that would help me in the pool, and the nutritionist, etc. I run as cross-training because I remember when i was younger, that was a huge part of the dryland we were doing and it seemed to help me aerobically, but I HATE it! lol so if you guys say that it does nothing for my swimming I will not complain about stopping it lol

I will definitely try to get more on board with the technique and try to get more rest in between. Thanks guys you are awesome :):)

ande
February 13th, 2014, 02:12 PM
you can Swim FASTER FASTER (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?4229-Ande-s-Swimming-Tips-Swimming-Faster-Faster&p=276466#post276466)

Please provide us with more details
What's your goal?
What are your times? then & now
what kind of sets are you doing?
Consider beginning a blog

what suit did you wear in your races?
height?
Weight?

knelson
February 13th, 2014, 02:41 PM
Another question I have is have you really rested for a meet in masters? If the answer is no, then you should. Perhaps your body has never been ready to race fast. Swimming when fully rested can make a HUGE difference.

Craziness
February 13th, 2014, 05:18 PM
My goal in mind at the moment is to race at the Masters World Champs in August, so I would like to go in the best shape I could be. My most recent times in my events are as follow, these times have been stagnant for about a year now:
200IM - 2:48
200Br- 3:06
400 fr - 5:21
800 fr- 10:58

For my races I usually wear an Aquablade, or a Speedo racing suit about 1.5 sizes smaller, my height is 5'9" weight 167 lbs. In terms of rest, I usually do take the day off prior to a race, but I don't tapper after every single one of them because sometimes meets are too close together, I do a lot of visualization too =D

orca1946
February 13th, 2014, 05:47 PM
LOts of advise for you. Try more rat b4 BIG meets. we all are not kids any more.

knelson
February 13th, 2014, 06:13 PM
I usually do take the day off prior to a race, but I don't tapper after every single one of them because sometimes meets are too close together

Of course not, but you should at least be picking a competition periodically that you taper for (Worlds, for example). Build your training plan with that meet as the end goal. And rest sufficiently for that meet. A lot of masters taper for several weeks prior to a big meet.


LOts of advise for you. Try more rat b4 BIG meets.

I personally wouldn't endorse eating rats, but to each his own I guess...:bolt:

Craziness
February 13th, 2014, 06:22 PM
LOL Maybe there's a special power in rats hahaha would leave it as a mystery though, not a fan of rats :) Yeah i'm planning on getting plenty of rest and Tapper for the Worlds so hopefully that will give the humpf needed too :)

Thanks guys!!

quicksilver
February 15th, 2014, 10:04 AM
To answer your question, one only needs to look at your routine. 5-6 workouts, 2 weight sessions and 2 cross training sessions per week. Your body is not getting enough rest. take a day or two off each week. All of that exercise, while invigorating, tears down muscle mass and creates fatigue, of which both can be relieved by rest. More exercise may seem like that answer, but there are two sides to every coin. The more you practice and train, the more your body needs rest and time to absorb the benefits.


Agreed. Contrary to the typical age group formula, adult athletes need time to recover. Three or four days with anywhere between 2,500 to 4,000 yards is enough to remain competitive (all depending on the event).

Although I haven't been to a meet in a while, my practices time have kept improving over the past few years by fitting in recovery. Being able to approach a work out with some gusto instead of feeling worn out and achy keeps pool time fun instead of a dread.

But the best thing about swimming is that it's a technique sport. Brush up on your form and your turns and you won't need to grind through needless yards to drop time.

...my 2 cents

__steve__
February 15th, 2014, 11:58 AM
But the best thing about swimming is that it's a technique sport. So true. I wouldn't have been able to hit PB's in my late 40's otherwise (though I started swimming in my early 40's).


I personally wouldn't endorse eating rats, but to each his own I guess...:bolt:"Get your rats on a stick!" Monty Python

hlopez84
February 16th, 2014, 05:46 PM
My goal in mind at the moment is to race at the Masters World Champs in August, so I would like to go in the best shape I could be. My most recent times in my events are as follow, these times have been stagnant for about a year now:
200IM - 2:48
200Br- 3:06
400 fr - 5:21
800 fr- 10:58

For my races I usually wear an Aquablade, or a Speedo racing suit about 1.5 sizes smaller, my height is 5'9" weight 167 lbs. In terms of rest, I usually do take the day off prior to a race, but I don't tapper after every single one of them because sometimes meets are too close together, I do a lot of visualization too =D

A suit 1.5 times smaller....OUCH!!!!! From the list of events listed how about focusing on 400/800 free, or the 200IM/200Br. This will help you focus more on a particular stroke and race strategy. Also get enough rest! Your current workout plan will eventually lead to burnout.