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Thread: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

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    Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    I raced at PNA Champs near Seattle this weekend and all of my times were much slower than last year even though I trained for 11 months straight (Masters swim 3 days/week, weight lifting 2-3 days/week, with some cross-country skiing and biking on weekends). I stopped lifting 2 weeks prior to the meet but I swam up until Thursday before the Sat/Sun meet. Mostly did sprints on the Tues-Thur swims before the meet, about 2k meters all-up vs 3k meters for a normal workout. Plenty of sleep time. But I felt tired during the meet and ran out of energy on most events (200/500 yd free, 50/100/200 breast). Age = 51.

    Should I have tapered more? I have no idea what caused my fatigue.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
    Seattle Jack

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    Very Active Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    The most obvious question to me is, did you also swim 3 times a week and weight train 2-3 x's/ week last year?

    If you swim 3 times a week, I think it is hard to swim fast at a 2 day meet swimming 5 events. Your body is used to a day off after a swim day, so even if you are rested, it is hard to do that many fast swims with warmup and warm down for five events in 2 days.

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    Very Active Member waves101's Avatar
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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    See how you feel this week and next. If you feel strong and energized, I'd say you should have tapered a little longer. Another possibility is you didn't do enough variation/sprinting during your 11 months of training. Training at the same speed teaches your body to go that speed. Unfortunately, its a trial and error thing.

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Like what waves said, it will take trial end error to find out what works for you. I've only tried two tapers as an adult. The first was disappointing. The second was a disaster.

    Friends of mine from high school and college (ages 47-52) who have swum a lot as adults tell me that it takes several years of experimentation to find out how to taper. Especially once you are into the 40's.

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    I agree with what has been said so far. It could be that you didn't rest enough, but possibly you didn't train enough. Obviously you've exercised a lot, but three days per week 3K per session isn't a lot of actual swimming volume. My experience is that other forms of exercise don't necessarily translate to helping with your swimming training. You've got to put the time in at the pool and I think four days a week is the minimum. Your experience may vary, but that's mine. And how did you train? Were you training to race? If your goal in the 500 was, say, to break 7:00, did you hold repeat 50s under 42 seconds and repeat 100s under 1:24? Lastly, it is possible you just had a bad weekend. I've certainly had meets where I've trained hard, thought I was rested and ready to go, but just felt flat. It can happen.
    Last edited by knelson; April 17th, 2012 at 10:04 AM.

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by jacktimmons View Post
    I raced at PNA Champs near Seattle this weekend and all of my times were much slower than last year even though I trained for 11 months straight (Masters swim 3 days/week, weight lifting 2-3 days/week, with some cross-country skiing and biking on weekends). I stopped lifting 2 weeks prior to the meet but I swam up until Thursday before the Sat/Sun meet. Mostly did sprints on the Tues-Thur swims before the meet, about 2k meters all-up vs 3k meters for a normal workout. Plenty of sleep time. But I felt tired during the meet and ran out of energy on most events (200/500 yd free, 50/100/200 breast). Age = 51.

    Should I have tapered more? I have no idea what caused my fatigue.

    Thanks for any thoughts.
    Seattle Jack
    Jack,

    How have your swim and weight workouts gone over this past year? Have you been able to lift the same or better sets? This would indicate what's going on with muscles. Also, what about swim reps/sets in the pool? Have you been holding times or better? If the answers are yes weights and swims are holding or better, then it was either just a tough meet (as an adult, there are lots of personal things impacting how i feel and swim) or not enough taper. Below is summarized information about tapering from:
    Complete Conditioning for Swimming:
    Taper (Salo and Riewald)

    Basically, it won't make up for poor training (although some may wish so), one to three weeks typically, typ. longer for sprinters esp. using HIT and shorter for distance swimmers (adjust to previious workload), reduce the volume of swimming gradually but not the intensity (maintaining intensity is critical), it's a catchup time and not a time for additional training, females typically need less time than males, older swimmers need more time than younger, don't keep eating as if you were swimming the same volume, taper may or may not improve "feel" for the water so don't expect it, and don't be surprised if you feel sluggish in the middle of it as your body catches up with the workload.
    :
    Taper (Salo and Riewald)

    Basically, it won't make up for poor training (although some may wish so), one to three weeks typically, typ. longer for sprinters esp. using HIT and shorter for distance swimmers (adjust to previious workload), reduce the volume of swimming gradually but not the intensity (maintaining intensity is critical), it's a catchup time and not a time for additional training, females typically need less time than males, older swimmers need more time than younger, don't keep eating as if you were swimming the same volume, taper may or may not improve "feel" for the water so don't expect it, and don't be surprised if you feel sluggish in the middle of it, as your body catches up with the workload.

    Lastly, from Friel's book on tri training, he mentions that when you reach middle age (what ever that is, but 51 sounds close ), you inevitably begin to lose muscle mass. Fairly recently they've discovered that one of the primary reasons this happens is because of increased kidney function with age (you pee more) and that increases the loss of Nitrogen, which is critical for muscle retention and development. Friel indicates that you can slow the losss of nitrogen down by eating more alkaline foods (generally fruits and veggies) and eating less acidic foods (some proteins). Not all foods in these groups are alike, and of course you need to eat the proper amounts of protein, fats, and carbs for training. If I can copy/pdf the table of food alkaline/acidic indicies, I'll attach when i get a chance.
    We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm? [John Page to Thomas Jefferson July 20, 1776]

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    That's why it's good to have a waterproof camera. You may never know if form broke down unless there is footage of current and old technique

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Thanks everyone for your great feedback. Iíve only been swimming competitively for a few years and the knowledge I continue to absorb from experienced swimmers like yourselves is amazing (and making this adventure very fun and rewarding!). My takeaways at this point are:
    I need to do more fast swimming practice throughout the year, not just weeks before the meet (like I did this year).
    I need to better manage my interval times in training. Map my 50, 100 times to what Iím trying to achieve in my races. I have not been doing this in masters workouts as Iím 1 of many in a lane all going the group speed.
    Swimming 3 x 1 hour workouts a week is maybe not enough. Use extra 2 workouts a week to focus on personal race goals like above. (Although I still want to do some weight lifting as I definitely felt additional strength from that Ė Iím a tall guy with long legs, skinny arms, not exactly MPhelps. J)
    Tapering is tricky and there is a good chance I screwed it up for this meet. Iíll rest and see. Next time, reduce volume gradually, maintaining intensity Ė but donít do full out sprints 2 days before the meet.
    Eat more fruit/veggies, less martinis. J

    Thanks again everyone, much appreciated!
    Jack

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by jacktimmons View Post
    I raced at PNA Champs near Seattle this weekend and all of my times were much slower than last year even though I trained for 11 months straight (Masters swim 3 days/week, weight lifting 2-3 days/week, with some cross-country skiing and biking on weekends). I stopped lifting 2 weeks prior to the meet but I swam up until Thursday before the Sat/Sun meet. Mostly did sprints on the Tues-Thur swims before the meet, about 2k meters all-up vs 3k meters for a normal workout. Plenty of sleep time. But I felt tired during the meet and ran out of energy on most events (200/500 yd free, 50/100/200 breast). Age = 51.
    Should I have tapered more? I have no idea what caused my fatigue.
    Thanks for any thoughts.
    Seattle Jack
    It's hard to tell you exactly why without having more detailed info about:
    + you, (height/weight in 2011 & 12, the suit you wore, shave or not?)
    + the training you did to prepare for your 2012 & 2011 meets,
    + each race: splits and rest between swims

    Your performance is the direct result of your preparation

    so looking up your swims in the USMS data base at
    USMS Individual Meet Results by Jack Timmons (21 swims)
    from just comparing your 100 & 200 BR times from 2011 to 2012 it's pretty obvious that you weren't as fast, fit or as well rested in 2012 as you were in 2011

    Jack Timmons 2011-04-09 (20110409NWZONEY) 50 PNA
    200 Breast H5 / L1 2:55.25 4
    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 39.41 39.41
    2 1:22.59 43.18
    3 2:08.67 46.08
    4 2:55.25 46.58

    Jack Timmons 2012-02-19 (20120219LAKEWAY) 51 PNA
    200 Breast H2 / L5 3:03.19 2
    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 40.29 40.29
    2 1:24.54 44.25
    3 2:12.62 48.08
    4 3:03.19 50.57


    Jack Timmons 2011-03-12 (20110312ORCAEMY) 50 PNA
    100 Breast H3 / L5 1:20.85 3
    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 37.72 37.72
    2 1:20.84 43.12

    Jack Timmons 2012-02-19 (20120219LAKEWAY) 51 PNA
    100 Breast H4 / L5 1:22.81 2
    Leg Cumulative Subtractive
    1 38.67 38.67
    2 1:22.81 44.14



    I suggest you:

    + swim train more times per week like 4, 5 or 6

    + pay attention to and track your practice times on sets,
    focus on swimming and kicking faster in practice

    + actually get stronger from lifting weights,
    strengthen the muscles that make you swim faster


    You might be making technique errors,
    shoot an iphone video of you swimming breastroke.
    P.O.V. head on & from the side
    put it on youtube then post the link here and ask for feedback

    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=265004&postcount=1794"]Swim Faster Faster[/ame] can help you.
    Last edited by ande; April 17th, 2012 at 03:17 PM.

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    They have yet to post the PNA Champs results from last weekend. I actually beat my best 100 Breast time by 0.4 seconds in the first race but expected more, felt tired, and got much slower every race after that.

    Excellent advice going forward, and thanks for the kind offer to review video. Thanks much!

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by jacktimmons View Post
    They have yet to post the PNA Champs results from last weekend. I actually beat my best 100 Breast time by 0.4 seconds in the first race but expected more, felt tired, and got much slower every race after that.

    Excellent advice going forward, and thanks for the kind offer to review video. Thanks much!
    the fact that your 1st 100 was slightly faster is a positive development,
    I know you can make dramatic improvements, it's simply a matter of:

    + How bad do you wanna be good?

    + How much training time, effort, & $ are you willing to dedicate to this project?

    + How smart fast & often you train?

    Also if you can make technique improvements and make em stick
    your time improvement will be proportional to what the changes do for you.


    You might enjoy [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16584"]The Breastroke Lane[/ame]

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by ande View Post

    + actually get stronger from lifting weights,
    strengthen the muscles that make you swim faster

    What exercises do you feel are the most beneficial in strengthening the muscles that make you swim faster?

    Sorry if this should be another thread or is already covered elsewhere.

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinj View Post
    What exercises do you feel are the most beneficial in strengthening the muscles that make you swim faster?

    Sorry if this should be another thread or is already covered elsewhere.
    Two very good books on this subject that are available on Amazon:
    Complete Conditioning for Swimming by Salo and Riewald and Swimming Anatomy by Mcleod, but youhave to figure out what it is you want to imporve. Also see dryland training blogs by Jazz Hands, Ande, Fotress, and others.
    We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm? [John Page to Thomas Jefferson July 20, 1776]

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by jacktimmons View Post
    I need to do more fast swimming practice throughout the year, not just weeks before the meet (like I did this year).
    I think you're onto something here. The key to swimming fast is to set aside days to practice fast.

    I had a similar experience thinking that if I practiced hard enough the times would drop. Not necessarily so. My former college coach essentially said that I was becoming a great workout swimmer rather than a racer.

    Finding a race gear one or two sessions each week will surely bring about the desired results. Don't be too disappointed. On a positive note, every perceived setback ultimately leads to success.

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    1 more question - and thanks again for all your help!

    If I want to hit the following times next year, what should my workout times be near race time? For example, for the 200 Free, should I be able to swim 10x50 on 0:40 send off time?

    race -------- time --- time per 50
    100 Breast --- 1:16 --- 38
    200 Breast ----2:48 --- 42
    200 Free ------2:24 --- 36
    500 Free ------6:40 ----40 (1:20 for 100's)

    thanks, Jack

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by jacktimmons View Post
    If I want to hit the following times next year, what should my workout times be near race time? For example, for the 200 Free, should I be able to swim 10x50 on 0:40 send off time?

    race -------- time --- time per 50
    100 Breast --- 1:16 --- 38
    200 Breast ----2:48 --- 42
    200 Free ------2:24 --- 36
    500 Free ------6:40 ----40 (1:20 for 100's)
    If you can do 10x50 on :40 you're going to be able to go much faster than 2:24 if you race a 200 free. Think more along the lines of being able to be :36 or better, but on a set of 10x50 on 1:00 or even more. If you want to go 6:40 for your 500 try doing something like 5x100 on 2:00 and hold them all at 1:19 or better. And aim for consistency. If you can do the first one in 1:15, but the fifth one is 1:25 you need to work more on your endurance.

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    Very Active Member Sojerz's Avatar
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    Re: Fatigue Cost - acidity and alkalinity of common foods

    Quote Originally Posted by Sojerz View Post
    Jack,

    If I can copy/pdf the table of food alkaline/acidic indicies, I'll attach when i get a chance.

    Attached is a pdf of the section and table i mentioned above. See the realtive indicies in the table - they're apparently on a weight basis . For instance, raisins and spinach (now we know why popeye liked spinach) are very alkaline and beneficial, and brown rice and parm cheese/cheese are more likely to highly contribute to loss of muscle. Note too, that this does not obfuscate the need to eat adequate amounts of protein, fats, carbs and water for your training.

    I think it is highly unlikely that your diet had much to do with your performance, and as other have indicated the training and taper are likely issues for you to consider. But diet is something to consider over the long term for building muscle and for retention. I'm 62 and eating lots os spinach, and raisins.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Sojerz; April 18th, 2012 at 07:34 PM.
    We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm? [John Page to Thomas Jefferson July 20, 1776]

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    Re: Fatigue Cost - acidity and alkalinity of common foods

    Very cool, thanks!

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    Re: Fatigue Cost Me Race Times?

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    If you can do 10x50 on :40 you're going to be able to go much faster than 2:24 if you race a 200 free. Think more along the lines of being able to be :36 or better, but on a set of 10x50 on 1:00 or even more. If you want to go 6:40 for your 500 try doing something like 5x100 on 2:00 and hold them all at 1:19 or better. And aim for consistency. If you can do the first one in 1:15, but the fifth one is 1:25 you need to work more on your endurance.
    Think i need to work on my endurance. did a set of 6x100 on 2:00 this morning on about 1:40 - 1:45 (a sluggish practice)- my goals at this point is to get under 2:30 - last race was 2:46.
    We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm? [John Page to Thomas Jefferson July 20, 1776]

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