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Thread: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

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    Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    One month before I completed a 3.7 km open water race with air temperature 21C and water temperature 25C and I was feeling great, so my next target would be 5 km. Therefore I decided to try doing a straight 5 km non-stop in a safe environment and get a time for myself Sunday afternoon. I measured two easily-recognisable points at a curved beach on Google Maps which were 424 m apart, and decided to swim 12 of it, i.e. getting about 5.1 km in total. The air temperature was 25C and water temperature was 23C. I started around 2:50 PM and finished around 5 PM Sunday. However, in the morning I also had another training session of about 2.5 km (around 9 AM) and an orienteering race (around 12 noon).

    However, I got sick immediately after the swim. When I completed all 12 laps, I felt my lats were so fatigued to the extent that I nearly felt pain. More importantly, when I started cooling down as I normally did, my thermoregulation went wrong and I started feeling cold and shivering despite 23C water temperature (normally I could stay in 21C water for more than an hour without getting cold, and these kind of effects normally happens on me only when the water temperature is under 19C). The shivering only stopped when I put on my clothes in the changing room.

    I then developed flu-like symptoms including fever, sore throat and extreme tiredness, along with extreme lats fatigue. I had to return to bed immediately after getting home and skipped dinner (~ 7 PM Sunday). The sickness and lats fatigue were gone around midnight, but I still had a little sore throat and I felt not completely recovered yet in the squad training on Monday morning.

    Now I am worried if I am demanding too much for myself. My target for this winter is to complete 5 km within 2 hours in 16C water (the lowest water temperature in my region which comes in February) in standard swimming costume (if I can do this 5 km in this winter, i.e. 2018/2019, I would like to try 15 km next winter, i.e. 2019/2020). However, if swimming 5 km makes me sick in 23C, how the heck I can do it in 16C?! I also wonder why my lats were so fatigued after that 5 km despite done a 3.7 km race one month before - was it because my morning swim affecting me in the afternoon?

    The weather forecast is predicting 14 - 16C air temperature with rain in the coming weekend, by that time the water temperature will probably become around 20 - 21C. Should I continue to do 5 km training or to reduce a bit, e.g. to 3 km?

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    Moderator Rob Copeland's Avatar
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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    You dont mention what nutrition you took before, during and after your training. So it could be a fuel problem. Or it could be a mild case of the flu on maybe something in the water (too much salt water ingestion can cause some to get ill).

    Should I continue to do 5 km training or to reduce a bit, e.g. to 3 km?
    You really need to find an in person knowledgeable coach. Taking advice from people who dont really know your situation can frequently be bad advice.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine and not those of U.S. Masters Swimming.

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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    Well, of course, it might just be that you got sick - cold, flu, whatever. And what Rob says about nutrition and salt makes sense, too.

    There's some other possibilities associated with training, too.

    In the book "Run Faster, Run Less," by Pierce, Murr, and Moss, they say that you never go both faster then usual AND farther than usual at the same time. It sounds like you were trying to be a little fast in the 5 K (I could be wrong), when my advice would be to do it as easily as possible

    Many other places suggest a maximum increase in output of 10% a week. You went from 3.7 K race to 2.3 K in the morning and 5K in the afternoon. Not counting the orienteering, that is about a 94% increase. And shouldn't the orienteering count for something?

    When there was another mapping program beside Google, there was about a 25% discrepancy between the two, when I measured distances across a lake. Just no, Google shows that a 2.25 mile race I've done to be 2.08 miles, and a lake I believe to be 220 yards clocks in at 170.About 1/6 and 1/4 longer. Maybe your "5K" was 5.8k.

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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    I did 5 km about half a month before I participated in the 3.7 km race, but that 5 km was not continuous.

    I didn't try to go fast in the 5 km last Sunday, actually much slower than the 3.7 km race speed before. Also, I always use satellite image on Google to measure the distance.
    Last edited by miklcct; December 7th, 2018 at 12:08 AM.

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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    I am inclined to believe that if you were feverish, you had gotten a virus, which would completely unrelated to exercise (unless you got it from the water, of course).

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    agree with the fever aspect of getting something not related to the swim.

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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    I am inclined to believe that if you were feverish, you had gotten a virus, which would completely unrelated to exercise (unless you got it from the water, of course).

    My sense is that overworking makes a person pretty vulnerable to viruses.

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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    Quote Originally Posted by MickYoung View Post
    My sense is that overworking makes a person pretty vulnerable to viruses.
    Actually, the converse is true. An elevated core body temperature is inhospitable to viruses, which is one of the reasons we become feverish - the body's response to fight off the virus. Ken Cooper (MD - more known in soccer circles) has done research showing a rise in core temperature while exercising and a negative correlation with illnesses. I can't find a link to the research right now, but I've seen him give a presentation on it.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    Actually, the converse is true. An elevated core body temperature is inhospitable to viruses, which is one of the reasons we become feverish - the body's response to fight off the virus. Ken Cooper (MD - more known in soccer circles) has done research showing a rise in core temperature while exercising and a negative correlation with illnesses. I can't find a link to the research right now, but I've seen him give a presentation on it.
    That is true, with some severe caveats. Over training impairs the immune response, among other deleterious effects. i don't know of any reputable recommendations to exercise hard if you have a systemic illness. If you do, please give a citation.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    That is true, with some severe caveats. Over training impairs the immune response, among other deleterious effects. i don't know of any reputable recommendations to exercise hard if you have a systemic illness. If you do, please give a citation.
    OP's case wouldn't classify as systemic, but regardless, here's just one quick source showing that vigorous exercise helps fight off viruses. And I'll also refer to my previous reference. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-26581722#

    The only stuff I've seen about weakening the immune system requires cumulative sessions of overexercise.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Got sick after long swim - was I doing too much?!

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    OP's case wouldn't classify as systemic, but regardless, here's just one quick source showing that vigorous exercise helps fight off viruses. And I'll also refer to my previous reference. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-26581722#

    The only stuff I've seen about weakening the immune system requires cumulative sessions of overexercise.
    Thank you, interesting.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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