View Full Version : Heart Rate Monitoring/Training and just whipped!

September 8th, 2004, 12:31 PM
This is kind of an offshoot from the thread on heart rate monitors.

I just got back into swimming after taking about 10 years off and I absolutely enjoy it. Just joined a Masters team as well which is making it that much more enjoyable.

However, I do have a question. I've been off and on weight training for the past two years or so and never really much got into monitoring my heart rate. However, about four months ago I read an article on how important of a role your heart rate can play in training, for anything, much less swimming and tried screwing around with it. So needless to say, while I was reading the thread on heart rate monitors I saw some intriguing stuff. But most off all was the line by Breaststroker which read:

"If you are trying to loose rate, all your workuts shold be at 50-60% of maximum heart rate.

If you are training to win Nationals, you must do most of your training in the 70-85% range. Many swimmers (older) are training at 90-95% range. Your body will never recover from this and not fully develope. This maximum heart rate range should only be done once a week as it takes 72 hours for the muscles to rebuild."

So I've noticed since joining the Masters team and increasing the intensity of my swimming workout, that I am seriously whipped throughout the week. Right now I swim three days a week and do a minor full body workout three other days a week. I can't think that this is from doing too much activity throughout the week because I've weightrained six days a week before and never felt this whipped. But, when I am swimming, I pretty much give it my all on every set. As that relates to heart rate, when I check it after a set it's usually 130 bpm (no monitor, just finger to the neck). That said, is that normal for a 29 year old, 5'11" 180 lb. male? Or am I training too hard during my swimming practice? Or am I just whipped because I've only been doing this particular workout for about two weeks now and it just is going to take my body time to adjust.

Lastly, I would like to focus more on sprinting than distance/endurance as that is what I did in high school and the one year that I swam in college. Any recommendations as to what heart rate I should shoot for?

Sorry for the length of this, but I am curious as to what you all think and any input would be greatly appreciated.


September 8th, 2004, 03:10 PM
Feeling "whipped" is the number one sign of overtraining, and overtraining can be done in any sport or combination thereof.

Overtraining is caused by doing more exercise over a period of time than your body can recover from, it's not simply a function of how many days per week you work out (and just because you're not sore doesn't mean you've recovered). As you continue to train hard, you increase your body's capacity for work and you will be able to train harder and train more with less recovery.

However, overtraining has some very negative physical side effects, probably the worst of which is to increase your system's level of cortisol, a hormone which prevents muscle and strength growth and can actually cause you to lose muscle.

I'd first recommend taking at least a couple of days off with no exercise at all. Just rest. Then adjust your training level to where you don't feel exhausted anymore - as your swimming fitness improves, you'll be able to train more and more.

Kevin in MD
September 8th, 2004, 04:59 PM
If you are feeling whipped and you recently started swimming then it is most probably the swimming. Yes, you have weight lifted 6 times a week before but that was weight lifting. You wouldn't expecta swimmer to go start weight lifting 3 days a week and feel fine, he'd be whipped too.

Heart Rate monitors are nice tools to spot check but you can work without it. Luckily the water in the pool is very similar week to week. The pool is the same distance too. So you can use field tests in the different strokes based on time to set appropriate paces.

Not to say that the heart rate monitor isn't useful, but it really shines in situations with less control. Such as running outdoors or swimming open water where you might not know how fast you are swimming but the heart rate gives you an idea of your intensity.

The subject of appropriate training paces for spring it very broad. Id' start at www.swim2000.com and www.swiminfo.com looking for some workouts to get you going. After that you can look at www.usaswimming.org in the coaches section under physiology for discussions of proper training plan design.

Good luck.

September 9th, 2004, 12:04 PM
Thanks for the responses Kevin and Manticora. I did take last night off completely and will probably take Friday and Saturday before doing a distance swim on Sunday (I like doing two days of short swims focused on sprinting and one day of distance swimming focused on endurance.)

What was especially helpful was the USA Swimming website. There really was alot of useful info in there in designing a workout and proper nutrition.

Let me ask this question next though, I joined the Masters team which just started practice last Tuesday. Right now there is no coach as they are currently looking for one, but once one is found, is it the coach that will help is designing a workout or is he there just for monitoring purposes?

I realize that these are probably questions for the people on the team, but everything seems to be a little disorganized over there right now being the start of practices and everything, so it's hard to get some good answers. I'm confident that once everything gets worked out and a coach hired, things will be a little more organized. Until then though, any input you guys could provide would be great.

Thanks again,


September 9th, 2004, 05:40 PM
A paid coach of any caliber, or a GOOD coach (paid or not), should offer you structured workouts in some form or another. Maybe the coach will talk with the swimmers and determine what ultimate goals for each are, and try to work some of the training towards that; just determining what level each swimmer is at is important for a coach to do. A good coach will try to offer constructive criticism of stroke techniques and methods/drills to fix or change a technique "flaw." A good coach should be able to tell (have an idea, at least) when someone is reaching too far, too fast (nothing wrong with reaching far), and in danger of over-training.

A coach hired for monitoring is a lifeguard.

Go for a GOOD coach -- especially if you are putting up GOOD money.