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Thread: Length of training before competing

  1. #1
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    Length of training before competing

    Good morning! I have a question for any other US Masters swimmers. How long did you train before going back to compete again at meets? Did you jump right back into both or did you take a couple of years go get fully back into the swing of things? I have been out of the water for around 15 years, been back in for about a year but feel I am progressing slowly but surely. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    I think it’s never too early to start trying to race to see where you are at in your training. I swam my first meet three months after starting my comeback. It wasn’t pretty! But after that I tried to do some sort of quality/race set every weekend that I didn’t race in an actual meet. The more racing you can do, the better!

    (This is coming from someone who likes to be able to compete at a level approaching what I did 10-12 years ago, so not sure what you are looking to get out of competing.)

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    Very Active Member Redbird Alum's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    I think it’s never too early to start trying to race to see where you are at in your training. ...
    What Calvin said!!! Go get 'em!


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    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Heck yeah! Find a meet 3-6 months out and just get to training. Use it as your baseline start and from there you can figure out what you need to adjust and change for the next meet. Don't wait for someday. And don't compare yourself to your times from 15 years ago. Race yourself.

    On a side note, Master's meets are so fun as you get to meet new people and have competitive chill.
    Kari Kennedy

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    I knew I wanted an extra mental push when I got back in the water last year, so I signed up for a meet 8 weeks out before I'd even been in the water at all. Maybe not the best strategy for everybody but it helped me!
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    yep, it is probably ideal to plunge back into swimming from the blocks. So long as you can finish the event, it doesn’t matter what condition you are in to enjoy the beauty of competition. Also good to have a pristine baseline to build upon. Don’t laugh about the being able to “finish” part above, I once nearly drowned trying to complete a 200lcm fr, the 1st 50 was a split request for time, I breathed like once.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    yep, it is probably ideal to plunge back into swimming from the blocks. So long as you can finish the event, it doesn’t matter what condition you are in to enjoy the beauty of competition. Also good to have a pristine baseline to build upon. Don’t laugh about the being able to “finish” part above, I once nearly drowned trying to complete a 200lcm fr, the 1st 50 was a split request for time, I breathed like once.
    That's why I did only 50s at my first meet :P
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Thanks for all of the responses and suggestions. I am targeting a meet in early Feb over in Ohio. I agree with flystorms and should not delay

  9. #9
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Are you there to win ribbons or just have fun? Yes - go back into swim meets with the idea of remembering the fun part of it!

  10. #10
    Active Member smiley92407's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    I started swimming again after a 34 year absence. My first meet was 6 months after I started and I swam 2 200 races. Finishing the races was more important. That was 3-1/2 years ago and I am enjoying it.

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    Re: Length of training before competing

    I really like how this one person put it (forgive me, I don't remember who exactly said this): "Many swimmers think you practice to compete, when in fact you are best off thinking of your races as a way to practice." When you race, yes there is nervousness and permanence to your performance, but in the thrill of it you usually do your best, and that is what's amazing. If you do your best in a race, you know what it feels like to do your best, then you should try to feel like your best at practice sets, too. I personally agree that for anyone who likes to compete, you will be most happy if you race as a way to practice. This mindset is a fantastic one to have in Masters, where you have an almost infinite amount of chances to improve your races. In high school and college, you're under the gun to perform before you age out. But in Masters, you only age up, so no need to put pressure on to practice enough before even trying a race. Just have fun at your meets. Take them seriously only if you want to. I personally try to attend every meet I can afford or am close enough to drive to.

    When I started HS swimming at 16, I had little to no prior sports or exercise experiences. August of that year, I could not swim 25yds without my lungs feeling like they'd burst, and my body failing me. Shortly after, in November, I was racing other high school juniors and seniors in 50 and 100yd sprints. All that came between rust and competition was a few months of coached practices, 5 days a week most afternoons. I would say going immediately from learning competitive swim into actual competition was a fantastic idea. I did not have time to worry if I would be good enough, or had practiced enough, the choice to join swim team entailed race entries, once I was fit. For me it was very non-negotiable, especially at high school: "You're going to be a competitive swimmer and so you must participate in regular competition."

    I love competing and participating in meets so I don't save this as the reward for the end of the road - instead I enjoy it as soon as the opportunity presents itself in my area. For me, practices are the "filler" between as many meets as I can make, and meets or races are "checkpoints" that are part of my holistic practice regimen.

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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Following this, am in the same boat. May do a local meet or two soon!

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    Green Mountain Boy rxleakem's Avatar
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    As mentioned above, Masters meets are a ton of fun! And I also use meets as a way to gauge how my training is going. Pick some shorter events at a mini meet then see how you do. A lot of these meets are over in just a couple of hours so it really is like a practice. If you are like me you will make some great connections that you will be able to keep up at meets for the coming years.
    ..<))><

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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Following, as I'm looking at a local Masters meet in November, and 2020 Summer Nationals are in my home state-of-the-art only a 90 minute drive!

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    Re: Length of training before competing

    Quote Originally Posted by Solarizing View Post
    I really like how this one person put it (forgive me, I don't remember who exactly said this): "Many swimmers think you practice to compete, when in fact you are best off thinking of your races as a way to practice." When you race, yes there is nervousness and permanence to your performance, but in the thrill of it you usually do your best, and that is what's amazing. If you do your best in a race, you know what it feels like to do your best, then you should try to feel like your best at practice sets, too. I personally agree that for anyone who likes to compete, you will be most happy if you race as a way to practice. This mindset is a fantastic one to have in Masters, where you have an almost infinite amount of chances to improve your races. In high school and college, you're under the gun to perform before you age out. But in Masters, you only age up, so no need to put pressure on to practice enough before even trying a race. Just have fun at your meets. Take them seriously only if you want to. I personally try to attend every meet I can afford or am close enough to drive to.

    When I started HS swimming at 16, I had little to no prior sports or exercise experiences. August of that year, I could not swim 25yds without my lungs feeling like they'd burst, and my body failing me. Shortly after, in November, I was racing other high school juniors and seniors in 50 and 100yd sprints. All that came between rust and competition was a few months of coached practices, 5 days a week most afternoons. I would say going immediately from learning competitive swim into actual competition was a fantastic idea. I did not have time to worry if I would be good enough, or had practiced enough, the choice to join swim team entailed race entries, once I was fit. For me it was very non-negotiable, especially at high school: "You're going to be a competitive swimmer and so you must participate in regular competition."

    I love competing and participating in meets so I don't save this as the reward for the end of the road - instead I enjoy it as soon as the opportunity presents itself in my area. For me, practices are the "filler" between as many meets as I can make, and meets or races are "checkpoints" that are part of my holistic practice regimen.
    I love this, thanks.

    (I started swimming 7 weeks ago, and "competed" in a Masters meet yesterday.)
    M-50m, T-200m, W-800m, T-25m, F-100m, S-400m, S-1600m.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m FS/SC by the end of 2019.

  16. #16
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    Re: Length of training before competing

    I started swimming again seriously about a year ago, with 1st meet in Feb. of this year, and 2nd meet last weekend. Depending on what you want to swim, I'd say meet tomorrow if short distance, and I took a year since I started long distance as was a little worried about my heart rate when swimming hard. I had not swam competitively since 22. I started again last year at 52.

    I did not start swimming again with any intention of competing in masters. No kids around now so thought I'd work on my health. Started out 1 mile per morning. Monitored my BP / resting pulse / weight each day. Lost 1 lb. per week for first 20 weeks. Was happy with progress, weight loss from 195 to 175, improved BP, heart rate. Relaxed at work, blah blah blah.....

    Then found out that the lady that coaches the kids swim club were I swim also has a masters team, is an incredible masters swimmer, state records and all, and has a Sat. AM drop in pay as you go group since I can't get to practices from where I work during the week.

    I'm up to swimming 4000 M-F AM on my own, and with her team on Saturdays.
    I'm going to add PM practices and weights after the results of my last meet.


    I will now happily die trying to swim:
    1. A sub 6:00 minute 500 free again
    2. fast enough to catch anybody ahead of us in our heat during relays


    You have been warned. Masters meets are fun. REALLY FUN!


    ps. Watched a 53 year old guy swim a 50.79 in the final heat of the mens 100 free SCY state championship last weekend. That was as fun as watching Dressel vs. Andrew for me. All 8 swimmers under 51 secs. So even though I never win anything there, watching people my age go that fast is also a good motivational reason to go to a meet.
    Last edited by pstephen5; April 17th, 2019 at 12:39 PM.

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