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LindsayNB
June 8th, 2005, 11:35 PM
Pain:
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An unpleasant sensation occurring in varying degrees of severity as a consequence of injury, disease, or emotional disorder.
Suffering or distress.
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When people talk about the pain of a hard race are they referring to screaming lungs, burning muscles, the urge to upchuck after, or some sort of injury-like pain like one experiences with shoulder injury problems? It is this last that I generally associate with the word pain but the former which I associate with hard swims. Am I just not swimming hard enough?

To what extent is suffering and distress intrinsic to effective training? In my running days long slow distance was enjoyable while sprints and intervals and shorter distance races seemed to be largely an exercise in tolerance for suffering and physical distress. It seems like swimming is kind of the same. As I try to concentrate more on speed and shorter distances I am starting to wonder occassionally about why I want to subject myself to so much suffering. ;) I sometimes wonder if on top of technique the people who started swimming early in life have also developed a greater tolerance for suffering? Or perhaps this is an attraction of swimming, the idea that you can improve by improving your technique instead of improving your ability to tolerate suffering?

I don't know, these are just some of the thoughts that drift through one's mind as one drives home after a workout in which one finds oneself draped over a lane line gasping for breath and suppressing the urge to puke...

newmastersswimmer
June 9th, 2005, 09:35 AM
Embrace the pain....become one with it!.......There's a fine line between pain and pleasure....Swimming is an endeavor that teeters on that fine line.....So I agree with your guess that some people swim b/c they like the pain and suffering (to some degree)......but after a hard (and painful) morning workout you usually feel like a million bucks the rest of the day.......So another dimension to the "No Pain No Gain" saying perhaps?


Newmastersswimmer

EyeoreSAM
June 9th, 2005, 09:46 AM
I started swimming on a team at 5 and learned what pain was very early. I know that I can tolerate a lot more than those that I swim with that didn't go through the teenage "hell" practices that I did! Once you realize that your body can take the punishment you just keep going!

SwiminONandON
June 9th, 2005, 10:16 AM
I think sports in general are good for learning that you are capable of much more than you think ... here's a favorite quote of mine:

"Your biggest challenge isn't someone else. It's the ache in your lungs
and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells
'CAN'T", but you don't listen. You just push harder. And then you hear
the voice whisper 'can'. And you discover that the person you thought
you were is no match for the one you really are."

In other words sometimes you have to kick in the door to what you thought you could handle and you find a whole room of potential.

Your lungs should burn sometimes, your legs and arms and shoulders should ache sometimes ... I love that feeling because I know I am working hard. I love being sore the day after a workout because it makes me feel like I did something.

Now if you are in constant pain than you should probably see a doctor.

craiglll@yahoo.com
June 9th, 2005, 12:47 PM
I had my colon removed in 1997. After the operation, it was discovered that I was bleeding internally. I had to have emergency operation. the pain before the second operation was probably a 1000 on a scale to ten. I rarely have pain when I swim.

nkace
June 9th, 2005, 12:58 PM
I think it's really important to listen to your body. Your head can tell you one thing while your body can tell you another. You need to know what is "good pain" vs. pain that will put you in physical therapy. You need to know your limits.

bda721
June 9th, 2005, 01:54 PM
I am still recovering from three knee surgeries and from time to time my knee really hurts in the pool, so I slow down, or just do pull sets. I have realized that joint pain means to stop, and muscle aches means I have to work harder.

LindsayNB
June 9th, 2005, 03:18 PM
So I agree with your guess that some people swim b/c they like the pain and suffering (to some degree)

I'm not sure that it is so much a case of liking pain and suffering as developing the ability to ignore it:


I know that I can tolerate a lot more than those that I swim with that didn't go through the teenage "hell" practices that I did! Once you realize that your body can take the punishment you just keep going!

Although I'm sure there are a few true masochists out there.

I wonder how much of the popularity of the shorter distances is due to a desire to minimize the duration of suffering? Although I am finding sprint training more painful. But probably I just wasn't pushing hard enough when training for longer distances. With the 50 questions about pacing don't really come up.

I suspect that some of those folks one lane up from me that I can beat in a 50 but kick my butt in the 100 are doing it by being more mentally tough. Something for me to work on.

etrain
June 9th, 2005, 05:13 PM
I wonder how much of the popularity of the shorter distances is due to a desire to minimize the duration of suffering?

You just opened a huge can of worms there. Most sprinters will say that it hurts worse to sprint than to do distance, and vise-versa for the distance people. Personally, the 200 free is the most painful event for me. I usually swim the 500 and on up but occasionally swim the 200, which is an all out sprint for 8 laps...

My $0.02 on the topic of pain is that each person has a different level they can stand. I have a very high tolerance of pain that I inflict upon myself during swimming. I can basically swim until I can't swim anymore and they do some more...

etrain

SwiminONandON
June 10th, 2005, 10:42 AM
Can of worms open!

I think it's more painful to sprint. I think the 100 is the hardest then the 200 then the 50.

EyeoreSAM
June 10th, 2005, 10:44 AM
I am a 200 backstroker and there is no question in my mind that it is way harder to sprint the 50 (for me) than it is to do 12 X 200's. Maybe its just my aging body talking, but sprinting is no fun!!

kristilynn
June 10th, 2005, 10:52 AM
Originally posted by SwiminONandON
Can of worms open!

I think it's more painful to sprint. I think the 100 is the hardest then the 200 then the 50.

Okay, I'm a distance swimmer, and I although I certainly don't enjoy sprinting (It is quite painful for me to actually have to use my legs when I usually only do a two-beat kick.), I think that sprinting causes less suffering. Sure a 100 in a race hurts at the moment, but the pain doesn't last. However, after racing a 1650, my arms and shoulders ache for hours, even days!

I think that 50s are mentally and physically the easiest swims. Anyone can handle 30 seconds or less of pain, and it takes so little time to recover. I just wish that I had the fast-twitch muscles that allowed me to actually be competitive in the 50s!

I would definitely agree with whoever said that the 200 is the most difficult race. Talk about a long sprint!

Phil Arcuni
June 11th, 2005, 12:48 AM
Some time ago our team had a test where our level of lactic acid was measured during a series of 200's at increasing intensity. While mine went up to 18 (of the units used) some of the distance swimmers never got above 8. Assuming that 'pain' is at least proportional to the amount of waste product in the blood (and it is probably more than proportional, that is, double the amount for *more* than double the pain) I hurt more than the distance swimmers.

So in my opinion the most "pain" some distance swimmers suffer from is boredom.

(I have been in a "kick the hornet's nest" mood the last week.)

flipper79
June 16th, 2005, 11:00 AM
Hey SwiminONandON-
Great post-thank you. For some reason your words stayed with me. During the last two practices when I noticed I was suffering-I heard the language in my head telling me to back off on effort-and I conciously told that attitude to get lost and I pushed harder. Thank you!