View Full Version : Getting back into Swimming

August 30th, 2016, 03:58 PM

I'm 30 year old male that just started to swim again with consistency and motivation. It's been 15 years since I swum competitively. I used to be very strong, competitive swimmer through early high school and then one day I just stopped to focus on my academics. One of the biggest mistakes and regrets of my life.

Just completed 2 mile swim in a time I'm happy with so I just joined Masters again after a brief failed bout in 2009. I am looking to become competitive again, but I have been out of it so long I don't know how much time and commitment is required. I work full time and getting a Master's degree in the evenings. Wife and I are looking to starting a family soon too.

So far I've committed an hour a day for swimming and triathlon related training. Are any of you in situations with busy life schedules that have been able to successfully carve time and effort towards competitive swimming? Any tips for someone trying to get back into it after a long time?


August 31st, 2016, 08:56 AM
I was in your situation when I came back to masters swimming several years ago. I found that an hour a day first thing in the morning worked best for me. My life was too hectic after work and the desire just wasn't there. The early mornings are tough. The hardest part is getting out of bed, #2 is jumping in the water and finally comes the workout itself. If you can become accustomed to it, it becomes a lifestyle. I've found that 3 days a week works for maintenance but usually it takes a little more to get in peak racing shape. If you can find a friend or two to workout with it definitely helps to get you out of bed (you know they'll be waiting for you). Good Luck.

August 31st, 2016, 09:54 AM
I, too, was in similar situation when I came back to swimming in 2008, and my schedule has gotten more hectic. As such, I never joined a team and have prepared mainly for open water. Not joining a team (I can't consistently make pre-scheduled team practices) has allowed me to flex my committed time as needed when work and dad chauffeur schedule demands. I usually target working out an average of 4-5X week with most workouts 50 minutes to an hour often with a longer work out on Saturday mornings. It's been fantastic, and I've been able to maintain motivation and training and competition goals.

Even without being on a team, I find I could register for and participate in pool meets. I just haven't wanted to yet and have stuck to open water events of which I do about six a year.

When a family comes into play it gets even harder, and that's why I've chosen the flexibility of training solo. Sometimes I train at 5 am, sometimes over lunch, and a my metro membership at the Y gives me plenty of pool options to slip in a swim in a break in schedule.

My last recommendation is to be ready to adjust on the fly. If my schedule only allows a half hour, I find it better to get that 2000 yards in than skip altogether.

Gary P
August 31st, 2016, 04:48 PM
Depending on how you define "competitive," it is possible to get there with an hour a day. When I came back to swimming two years ago, after a 27 year layoff (and a ~23 year layoff from doing any sort of regular exercise), I started with 3 workouts a week of about an hour each. By month four, I was up to five-six times a week, but still only an hour each on average. At month 11, I swam at the 2016 USMS Summer Nationals. I finished 16th out of 24 in the 50 free, 18th out 27 in the 100 free, and 11th out of 19 in the 400 free. I considered that mission accomplished in terms of "being competitive." After that, I backed down slightly to 4-5 hours a week. I've still found competitive success, however, with 2nd and 3rd place overall finishes at two local 1.2 mile open water swims, a 6th in age group at the USMS 2-Mile Cable National open water swim, a 4th and 7th in two events at the Illinois Masters State Championship meet, and several top 50 end-of-season overall nationals rankings.

If you only have a modest amount of time to devote to training, and are competitive-minded, I would highly recommend Ultra Short Race-Pace Training, or USRPT (http://usrpt.com/) for short. While there's a lot controversy over claims that it the most effective training method overall, my experience shows that it is one effective way to train. I happen to think it probably is the most effective method for adults like you and me who can only devote a few hours a week to the sport. I can't imagine I would have made as much progress as I did using a more conventional training approach, given the rather limited amount of pool time I was able to muster up.

After the Cable National, I did back way off the swimming for a couple months to have time to run and bike in preparation for my first triathlon. I just recently got back into my regular pool routine and have found I've regressed a lot speed-wise. It's gonna take me a few weeks to get it back. In the meantime, my run and bike speed is likely to diminish. What I'm getting at is that I don't know if it's possible to train effectively for by pool competitions and triathlons in just an hour a day. It certainly wouldn't be for me.

August 31st, 2016, 11:43 PM
Yes, it takes time. In my case I'm 59 years old and also did some lap swimming in my 40's to early 50's and have been out of it for about 7 years.

September 1st, 2016, 04:39 PM
Thanks for all your suggestions and sharing your experiences. Doctor told me yesterday I have PF in both feet #SMH so it looks like it's going to be only swimming for now. I used to really enjoy running and used to run track and field back in high school so that's why I thought maybe triathalon training would be good.

I will definitely check out USRPT. For now my goal is 1 hour a day of swimming 5-6 times a week. I'll let everyone know how it goes in a few months.

Thanks again for your welcoming responses.

September 1st, 2016, 05:06 PM
Stay at it my friend.