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Luv2sprint
July 6th, 2007, 07:35 PM
Hi all,

Between a lengthy bout of bronchitis, job changes and adjusting to new schedules, I haven't swam with any consistency in about a year. I'd like to get back into competition shape -- which entails losing about 15 pounds and gaining back the muscle I lost -- in time for a meet next March or April. Anyone else ever gone through this? How do you work back a schedule of swimming 1-1.5 hours a day and lifting three days a week without doing too much too quickly and burning out or injuring yourself (or giving up because you feel like you're so far away from "good shape"?) Any ideas of what sort of yardage/intervals to start with?

I appreciate the help -- I'm so ready to stop being a couch potato, but I'm not sure where to start.

dorothyrde
July 7th, 2007, 07:01 AM
Hi all,

Between a lengthy bout of bronchitis, job changes and adjusting to new schedules, I haven't swam with any consistency in about a year. I'd like to get back into competition shape -- which entails losing about 15 pounds and gaining back the muscle I lost -- in time for a meet next March or April. Anyone else ever gone through this? How do you work back a schedule of swimming 1-1.5 hours a day and lifting three days a week without doing too much too quickly and burning out or injuring yourself (or giving up because you feel like you're so far away from "good shape"?) Any ideas of what sort of yardage/intervals to start with?

I appreciate the help -- I'm so ready to stop being a couch potato, but I'm not sure where to start.

It would help to know how old you are, do you work full time, have a family?

islandsox
July 7th, 2007, 09:43 AM
In the past, I, too, have had to stop/re-start swim training because we get huge storms here for several months and I can't swim in the ocean (no pools here). The thing I always know and do is what I consider baby steps. My initial goals are not news-worthy. I'll plan on swimming a mile or much less, 3xweek until my body gets accustomed to my moving it again. The same for weights. I train according to how I feel; my body always lets me know when I am on target or doing too much. I make weekly and monthly goals only and when I meet them, I add more training to the mix. This keeps me from having any past injuries resurface.

I actually started re-swimming again mid-May after a month off. Yesterday, I swam my first 6.10 miles which my body is telling me today was a bit too much (LOL).

FindingMyInnerFish
July 7th, 2007, 10:18 AM
My running coach's frequent answer to my wanting to progress faster than a post-injury/illness body wanted to: "small steps." I have begun to recognize that as the way to go. As Donna says, it's better at times like that to readjust your goals than set something so ambitious that you get discouraged. Maybe you were swimming 3000-4000 yards at one point, but now 1200 to 1500 might feel ambitious. But doing those shorter swims at least will get you back into the pool and then you can gradually increase the time.

When I'd come back from running injuries, I'd be thinking "what's up? ten miles felt easy and now three miles feels hard!" but the distances would come back. I had a really bad cold/bronchitis for about a month in Feb., and coming back was pretty hard...in both swimming and running.

In swimming, I'd do 1000 yards and feel the way I had when I did 3000! But hey, I figured if that's what I had, that's what I had, and more would come. And it did.

Also, in running, I ran in a half marathon in March only b/c I'd signed up for it before I got sick, and I figured I'd just run/walk. It was SLOOOOOW. But I expected it to be, so didn't worry too much about the time. By May, I ran in a 10 mile race that although still slower than I wanted was at least all running, and I felt much stronger.

Bottom line, we do these things not only to keep ourselves in shape but presumably also because they're fun--no one will fire us for swimming or running not as fast as our goal times or not as far as we wanted. This is a gift we give ourselves, but we who do this tend to become perfectionist and want a lot from ourselves. This can help us stay motivated but also becomes a roadblock when we hold ourselves to standards that don't reflect the realities of our lives. Resetting the bar low... sometimes ridiculously low, what we absolutely KNOW we can do ... can help us just enjoy the experience and give ourselves time to re-grow into the more ambitious goals.

Luv2sprint
July 7th, 2007, 02:38 PM
Hi, thank you for the replies.

In response to a previous question, I'm 33, no family and work full time. I work nights, so that wipes out morning practices that area Masters teams offer. When I did train, I trained on my own.

Luv2sprint
July 7th, 2007, 02:44 PM
Finding my inner fish--

Thanks for the help! I was used to swimming 3000-4000 yards 4-5 times a week, so when I get back in, I'll try 1500 a few times a week. Having a hard time with motivation; that might come from training on my own, but at the same time, I don't want to have team members see how fat/slow I've become! Thanks again for the advice. I'm still just unsure what sort of a workout to start with -- long slow swims to improve my cardio or interval training. Any thoughts anyone?

nkfrench
July 7th, 2007, 03:50 PM
You didn't get out of shape overnight, so give yourself some time to get back into it. Advise no more than 10% increase each week in either distance or intensity. Wake up your swim muscles with some technique drills and some low-intensity intervals / longer swims; then in successive weeks ratchet it down and put in a few sprints and more intense, longer sets.

Seems like if I try a more drastic approach I will get sick or get sore shoulders or some other interruption which slows my overall improvement.

I am working to get back in shape after basically a 10-year slump where I wasn't getting into the water more than a few times a month and my appetite went out of control with many many pounds gained. I've been back in for 6 months and have made good progress but it is going to be probably a 2-year long haul to reach my long-term conditioning/weight goals. Everything happens slower at age 50+. So my current get-back-into-it workouts are geared more towards losing weight while maximizing my pleasure-of-swimming. I do a lot of kicking including dolphin-on-back; I do a main set of 1000-2000y of some combination of 100's-200's in free, IM, back; total distance 2500-3700. Some days I tear into it and try to redline my heart; others I just swim through it.

SearayPaul
July 7th, 2007, 08:58 PM
Do not worry about what use to be. Today is today and you move forward from there. Your team mates will be glad to see you back in the water trying to improve yourself. Be proud that you are making the effort.

I broke my arm, wrist, and hand in May and have just returned to the pool six days ago. That was humbling. It is amazing how much muscle mass that has disappeared. The first day all I could do was stand in the pool and stroke gently with my hands. That little motion was very painful. I went from being some what competitive to nothing. I am now working my way back slowly and shall persivere and so shall you.

dorothyrde
July 7th, 2007, 10:01 PM
I would work on ramping up the cardio vascular first, before doing sprint intervals. Work on drills for technique which will help. Try adding 100 yards a work-out a week. So this week if you are at 1500 each work-out, then do 1600 each work-out next week. For adding days, I would take that a bit slower and see how you feel.

I know a lot of people don't advocate stretching, but after a long lay off, you are bound to be stiff, so make sure you stretch afterwards.

About 4 years ago I got pneumonia in March, and it was May before I could get back into a regular routine. I started with a measley 1000 yards, but by the end of the summer I was back at it.

MichiganHusker
July 8th, 2007, 09:53 AM
Finding my inner fish--

Thanks for the help! I was used to swimming 3000-4000 yards 4-5 times a week, so when I get back in, I'll try 1500 a few times a week. Having a hard time with motivation; that might come from training on my own, but at the same time, I don't want to have team members see how fat/slow I've become! Thanks again for the advice. I'm still just unsure what sort of a workout to start with -- long slow swims to improve my cardio or interval training. Any thoughts anyone?

My guess is that if you really ask yourself why you are procrastinating, it is because:
1. You are afraid of failure
2. If you can't swim in top form, you'd rather not swim at all.

Well, at least these are my two biggest road blocks when I've had to take an involuntary sabbatical.

When that happens, I play ACDC's song "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" - that is the song used for the Nike "Just Do It" commercial where there was alot of swimming shown. It really motivates me.

If that is not your style, another "mind" trick I play (and you'll see it in other posts) - tell yourself you are going to go swim and if you feel absolutely, positively horrible, you will cut the workout short. My guess is you'll feel a bit weak, but you will LOVE being back in the water.

Don't worry about yardage at first - if you need to take longer intervals, that is fine. Swim for at least 45 mins, put aim for 1 hour. Your yardage will increase naturally.

Remember, you can't overdo it if you are not doing anything! Go get 'em! :cheerleader:

The Fortress
July 8th, 2007, 06:08 PM
Hi all,

Between a lengthy bout of bronchitis, job changes and adjusting to new schedules, I haven't swam with any consistency in about a year. I'd like to get back into competition shape -- which entails losing about 15 pounds and gaining back the muscle I lost -- in time for a meet next March or April. Anyone else ever gone through this? How do you work back a schedule of swimming 1-1.5 hours a day and lifting three days a week without doing too much too quickly and burning out or injuring yourself (or giving up because you feel like you're so far away from "good shape"?) Any ideas of what sort of yardage/intervals to start with?

I appreciate the help -- I'm so ready to stop being a couch potato, but I'm not sure where to start.

As Nike says, Just do it.

Forget, for now, how fast you were before or what you used to do. At 33, you'll easily get back there; it may just take a bit of time.

I agree with Susan, I wouldn't start with sprints. No reason not to do some cardio and intervals, just make them reasonable and ramp it up slowly. Don't swim 5x the first week or start with 4000 yards. When I went back to swimming two years ago, it took a few months to get in decent swimming shape. But I didn't realize I should also have done rotator cuff exercises and immediately came down with a severe bout of tendonitis and ended up in PT. So start slow and build up gradually. Do your RC and scapular exercises. Get fit for swimming before you expect swimming to make you fit! Go to it. You'll be sprinting fast soon enough. :groovy:

Luv2sprint
July 8th, 2007, 06:45 PM
From Michigan Husker: My guess is that if you really ask yourself why you are procrastinating, it is because:
1. You are afraid of failure
2. If you can't swim in top form, you'd rather not swim at all.
-------------------

Honestly, I'm not really sure what it is. At first, it was the schedule changes/adjustments, then being sick, then more schedule change/work adjustments, then the past month, it's just been lack of motivation. I think I am afraid not so much of failure, but of being really discouraged that once I get back, I'll realize how much I've lost in the year away from consistent training for competition and feel like it'll take so long to get back. If that makes any sense.

Everyone's responses have been very helpful. I'm at work now Sunday afternoon, but am off Monday and am planning to hit the pool for 1500 (slow) yards and see how it goes.

Thanks!

FindingMyInnerFish
July 8th, 2007, 08:06 PM
And something to remember when you do your 1500 yards tomorrow: no matter how slowly you swim them, give yourself a HUGE pat on the back for making the choice to do them! Every step is a step closer to where you want to be!

:cheerleader:

dorothyrde
July 8th, 2007, 08:45 PM
And promise you will come back and tell us you did swim tomorrow. That way you have to do it because we expect it! :wiggle:

CoachLaura
July 8th, 2007, 11:14 PM
Hey, you've been getting some great advice! I hope it's working. You mentioned weights so I have to put in my 2 cents. Hit the gym! I do weights 3 times a week and the weight came off w/out even trying. Of course, you have to watch what you eat as well. Your first 2 weeks in the gym, just do one set of everthing you used to do, at a low weight, 16 repetitions. ONE set only. That way you won't be too sore to swim and you won't have any excuse! Plus, it'll be a really fast visit to the gym and it won't seem as painful.
After two weeks, you can increase to 2 sets and maybe increase the weight by 5 pounds. And trust me, no one notices the light weight you're using. Everyone is too busy staring at their own muscles in the mirror.
You have to get over how you look becasue you're not going to look like that forever. And do core work as well. I swear by my gym workouts. So, add that to your days and keep going. You're too young to be worried about this and like someone else said, you'll snap back fast if you can stick w/it.
And ask yourself this: Have you ever regretted going to a practice???

The Fortress
July 8th, 2007, 11:21 PM
Hey, you've been getting some great advice! I hope it's working. You mentioned weights so I have to put in my 2 cents. Hit the gym! I do weights 3 times a week and the weight came off w/out even trying. Of course, you have to watch what you eat as well. Your first 2 weeks in the gym, just do one set of everthing you used to do, at a low weight, 16 repetitions. ONE set only. That way you won't be too sore to swim and you won't have any excuse! Plus, it'll be a really fast visit to the gym and it won't seem as painful.
After two weeks, you can increase to 2 sets and maybe increase the weight by 5 pounds. And trust me, no one notices the light weight you're using. Everyone is too busy staring at their own muscles in the mirror.
You have to get over how you look becasue you're not going to look like that forever. And do core work as well. I swear by my gym workouts. So, add that to your days and keep going. You're too young to be worried about this and like someone else said, you'll snap back fast if you can stick w/it.
And ask yourself this: Have you ever regretted going to a practice???

No kidding! Hit the gym too! Nothing like weights to help the shoulders and sprinting.

As for the one year layoff, no worries, really. There are people here, including me, who took 20+ years off, and were back in reasonable shape in months. I train alone a lot too. You'll get there. Better to start now than later. Just don't get all pissed off if you're not doing PBs right away. I know people who do that, and it's just counter-productive. If you were competing a lot before, it may take a bit to get back in form. But it will happen. No worries. You just gotta dive in and get started with a reasonable start up strategy. No sense waiting around. Besides, sprinting is all strength and technique, and doesn't require that much yardage. So you'll be good soon. Just ease in, and it will come back!

Luv2sprint
July 9th, 2007, 01:14 AM
Wow! Thanks so much, everyone! I haven't felt this excited to going to a workout in months, and it's all thanks to you. I like the part about you expecting to hear back from me about how it goes, almost like going to practice with teammates.

I am interested in getting back in the gym, too, and was wondering whether I should trying swimming and lifting all at once, or swim for a couple of weeks, then begin lifting, or try the one-set weight workouts mentioned as well as swimming.

I don't expect to be doing PBs anytime soon, I'm more worried about getting discouraged because all of my strength and endurance are gone and feeling like it's all hopeless and giving up. But you all have given me a lot of motivation. Thanks again.

Oh, should I start with 3 days a week with the shorter swims (1500-2000) or five? And, start with swimming AND weights, or just one or the other before adding the other?

Thanks again!!!

MichiganHusker
July 9th, 2007, 04:06 PM
Your workout schedule will depend on your availability. Just get into a routine - whether it be going to the gym every day, but alternating lifting/swimming or whatever. You can always make your workouts longer or change depending on how you feel.

I think it is great to swim at least 4-5 days per week and lift 2-3 days per week. From what I've read, lifting 2x per week is good for maintaining your strength, but to build strength and endurance, you need to go with 3x per week.

The key here is to make an attainable goal that you can reach and feel good about your return to the gym/pool. Then make another goal, and so on until you are right where you left off.

I really think you are going to surprise yourself. As I mentioned before, just go in determined to try your best, but knowing that you are just starting out again so don't overdo it. Slow and steady progress!

You can do it!

dorothyrde
July 9th, 2007, 08:17 PM
If I were you, I would make my goal to swim 3 times per week in July and lift twice a week. That is your goal, but in the back of your mind, it is your minimum. So if you get there 4 times a week, and lift 3, give yourself an extra pat because you surpassed your goal. After July is over, reassess, tweak your routine, keep what you liked, change what you did not and improve on it. Never stay stagnate, keep reassessing what you are doing. Also, don't be afraid to try new things, a running group, spinning class, yoga, maybe a swimming group that you discover when you become a regular, cross training can really make you fit.

MichiganHusker
July 10th, 2007, 08:36 AM
Did you make it to the pool? How was it?

Luv2sprint
July 10th, 2007, 02:12 PM
Hi there,

Didn't make it to the pool Monday, but not for a lack of wanting to. Went into work for an important meeting -- during which they told us they're doing buyouts and then layoffs (if not enough people take buyouts). After that, I really needed a swim or something to clear my head, but it stormed (I live in Florida, where it seems to do that every day, but usually about the same time). So, that was that. I settled in for a quiet night after a long week of worrying about this meeting.

But, today's a new day and I'm planning on hitting the pool and the gym. Or just the gym if it starts storming again.

Thank you all for the support! I'll let you know how it goes.

Luv2sprint
July 10th, 2007, 04:57 PM
I DID IT!!!!

Day 1 of the comeback, haha, began Tuesday. I got in the pool and did a broken 1650 -- 11 laps, rest 15 seconds, 10 laps, rest 15 seconds, 9 laps, etc. It took me about 30 minutes. Then I got out and lifted upper body, and that took about 30 minutes also. I did three sets of a handful of upper body exercises (less weight than I was used to) and then tried that assisted dip/chin-up machine. I could only do 5 each (with a lot of assistance!). Now I'm sore and tired.

I'm happy I went, but already feeling discouraged about how exhausted and sore I am, which is what I was afraid of, that I had lost so much in a year. Will it take me a year to get back to what I was, weight-wise and strength-wise and speed-wise? Or less?

I'm hoping to hit the pool again tomorrow to do about the same distance and hopefully get in lower-body lifting. Thursday's bad because I have to go in early for a 10-11 hour day, but hopefully my body recovers and I can get back in Friday.

Thank you all, again, for all the support and advice! It's really been helpful!

LizGoldsmith
July 10th, 2007, 09:27 PM
I've missed about two months of swimming due to a broken rib, kids on vacation, and work conflicts. My coach recommends starting out with longer swims at half power. It takes awhile to get the feel of the water.

Personally, I try to do an extra 1500 meters in the early evening at the town pool. Since there are few swimmers there, people always tell me how fast I am.:laugh2: Since this never happens at my Masters practice, I relish the experience.

MichiganHusker
July 10th, 2007, 10:56 PM
I DID IT!!!!

Day 1 of the comeback, haha, began Tuesday. I got in the pool and did a broken 1650 -- 11 laps, rest 15 seconds, 10 laps, rest 15 seconds, 9 laps, etc. It took me about 30 minutes. Then I got out and lifted upper body, and that took about 30 minutes also. I did three sets of a handful of upper body exercises (less weight than I was used to) and then tried that assisted dip/chin-up machine. I could only do 5 each (with a lot of assistance!). Now I'm sore and tired.

I'm happy I went, but already feeling discouraged about how exhausted and sore I am, which is what I was afraid of, that I had lost so much in a year. Will it take me a year to get back to what I was, weight-wise and strength-wise and speed-wise? Or less?

I'm hoping to hit the pool again tomorrow to do about the same distance and hopefully get in lower-body lifting. Thursday's bad because I have to go in early for a 10-11 hour day, but hopefully my body recovers and I can get back in Friday.

Thank you all, again, for all the support and advice! It's really been helpful!

Hoorah - good for you!!! The time needed to get back to full strength will depend on you! Will it happen overnight? Of course not! But even within 2 weeks, you'll already be feeling stronger. Just remember, you didn't lose your strength and speed overnight, so you won't gain it back overnight either.

Now for the good news - you are that much closer to your goal. Yes - you will be at full strength by March-April 2008, barring any injuries and long term layoffs.

Keep going!

dorothyrde
July 11th, 2007, 08:39 AM
I DID IT!!!!


I'm happy I went, but already feeling discouraged about how exhausted and sore I am, which is what I was afraid of, that I had lost so much in a year. Will it take me a year to get back to what I was, weight-wise and strength-wise and speed-wise? Or less?


Thank you all, again, for all the support and advice! It's really been helpful!

Think of it this way. If you don't do it at all, or don't try to be consistent you absolutely will not gain back your fitness. Take it one day at a time, get through the soreness, forgive yourself for the days that don't work out, and then get up and do it again tomorrow.

Sorry about the job issues. Having gone through 18 months, of potentially waiting for word of closure, lay-offs, whatever, I have a lot of sympathy.

FindingMyInnerFish
July 11th, 2007, 08:54 AM
One way to think about PB's: instead of comparing your times to what you used to do, have "comeback PB's"--so maybe you do x no. of yards in x no. of mins./seconds, then a week later, your x no. of mins./sec.'s has fallen, then you have a PB! I did that w/ age group times. I'm in my 50s and the last time I got a running personal best was in 1995. Of course, I hold out hope, stubborn thing that I am.... But meanwhile, each time I move into a new age group, I "reset." So if my time in a 5k run isn't close to my personal best, it could still be an age group best.

The cool thing for me with swimming was the chance to have personal bests again, since when I started at 54, competitive swimming was a new pursuit. There are always ways to set goals and PB's! Then, at least for running, and I'm not sure if/how it works for swimming, there's the delightful magic of age grading (http://www.howardgrubb.co.uk/athletics/wmalookup06.html)! Liposuction, face lifts, MOVE OVER!!! :D