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Alex's swim journal

Overtraining... or over thinking

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by , August 7th, 2012 at 12:19 AM (800 Views)
The last few days have been something of a bummer. After a couple of decent, hard workouts toward the middle of last week I ended up missing two days--not in a row, but I've been pretty good about swimming 6 days per week at least for most of the summer. Summer school is winding down and so I've been pretty busy at work... burning the candle at both ends never helps. I was looking forward to going back to Silver Lake, for the long-awaited OW swim there, but there was a call on my machine when I got home: the postponed race has been cancelled outright due to high bacteria levels. Darn.

So Saturday I went to the Y to time trial myself in the mile; something I haven't done since the end of May. I didn't really know what to expect. 28:10 was the answer, 20-30 seconds slower than my time a couple of months ago. Then I swam a second mile in 30:00 (whereas in May I turned around after a 27:4? and swam another mile in 29:00). Sunday I got to the lake, late in the afternoon, and despite the beautiful glass-like surface and cooler water temps I just didn't have it in me to swim more than a mile. Today I went back after work and wanted to swim two miles, but only did about 3000 before they were blowing the whistle at closing time. I had given myself a good 70 minutes before closing time, so I should have finished the 2 miles in enough time. I slowed to chat a couple of times with fellow swimmers, but really? Am I slowing down that much?

One thing I've done recently is to go back and look at some video on and a DVD I checked out from the library on TI drills... I had felt like I was swimming onto a plateau and was looking for some technique to work on to get myself to the next level. Watching the olympic swimmers has really helped too, though I was confused to see the 1500-m world record broken without much in the way of bilateral breathing... the stroke looked smooth but asymmetrical somehow. So now I'm armed with all of this info and all of these images and I'm trying to find a rhythm in the lake and it's just not happening; very frustrating. There was a 30-meter stretch at one point where I thought I had found the magic elixir of smooth stroke (look out world record!) and then I turned... never again to find that "sweet spot." I think I know what golfers feel like in their frustrated search for the perfect round.

And to top it all off, I'm sitting at home tonight and my left shoulder is stiffening up, despite the fact that I've swum less in the last 6 days than I have in any 6-day period for the last three or four months. Am I overtraining or over thinking?

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  1. Sojerz's Avatar
    Probably over thinking, but it's good to keep working at it. Seems like small differences get multiplied over distance and then seem larger than they are. The opposite (small improvements over distance) is true too.
  2. Karl_S's Avatar
    I was confused to see the 1500-m world record broken without much in the way of bilateral breathing... the stroke looked smooth but asymmetrical somehow.
    Do not underestimate the value of oxygen.
    Oh, and your lack of enthusiasm might be a symptom of overtraining. If so, the rest will be good for you.
  3. mcnair's Avatar
    Thanks guys; I am probably way overanalyzing this stuff, today I did about 500 in drills and then I was swimming slower than I have swum since last summer... nothing felt right. I think I need to just back off for a week or so and swim for fun and relaxation, not stress about the times.