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Thread: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

  1. #1
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    Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Hello,

    As brief intro as possible, I'm 54, was a university swimmer in 1980s, quitted swimming completely since, got back to the pool last October (2018) for cardio exercise to lose weight, so have swum slowly a few miles a week and lost weight well. The weight is satisfactory and stable now.

    Two weeks ago, my brother told me that our senior nationals is being held in a few weeks. Senior swimming is not popular in my country, so there are enough lanes left for me to join without having to quality. I've tried training in the past two weeks, and found that I still can swim in fast mode. My times (push from wall) are now in the top-three of both events that I'll enter, based on last year's result. They are not even good for USMS standard, and the top guys here are really fast, but I guess I can hold my own in the second row.

    I've found that so many things have evolved. When I was young, I never wore goggles and cap, and there was no jammers, and I had no knowledge of streamlining and underwater dolphin kick.

    Well, senior athletes in my country don't talk much, not to mention that there are only a few of them and no forum for it. So I decided to join this forum for some suggestion you may have for a returning newbie.

    I've improved my times a bit in the past two weeks, now what to do for one week to go (I'll swim 100 and 200 free)? I read online that nowadays swimmers shave down? Would that really help? I'm quite hairy but never shave any body part except my face.

    Any suggestion for mental preparation is also welcome. I'm helplessly getting excited.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by buea; September 30th, 2019 at 10:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Quote Originally Posted by buea View Post

    I've improved my times a bit in the past two weeks, now what to do for one week to go (I'll swim 100 and 200 free)? I read online that nowadays swimmers shave down? Would that really help? I'm quite hairy but never shave any body part except my face.

    Any suggestion for mental preparation is also welcome. I'm helplessly getting excited.

    Thanks in advance.
    I have a few suggestions:
    1. If you are excited now, the pre-race adrenaline may surprise you. Make sure you have a simple pre-race routine that will keep you calm and focused on swimming your races well. Nerves can make you rush and make mistakes unnecessarily.
    2. Forget about focusing on a time goal. Just focus on swimming the race well.
    3. Practice starts from the starting block now!!! And practice turns at race speed. If you are new to wearing goggles in a race you need to learn to dive in keeping your goggles on. Do you have someone who can help guide you? You have to keep your head down behind your streamlined arm entry to reduce the risk that your goggles will come off in the dive.
    4. Have a simple pacing plan. I suggest that you swim a 100 the way you swam a 200 in college, and the 200 the way you swam 400 in college. For example: 200 - 1st 50: get a good start, settle into the race, don't over kick; 2nd 50 - work on breathing maintaining rhythm; 3rd 50 - start to increase the kick tempo; last 50 - build to max effort in last 25. You may find that your excitement or racing other people makes you "go out too hard". If that happens "settle and breathe" to get back into your race plan.
    5. Keep it simple, don't worry about the shave (it would help, but it's way too early in your return to racing to focus on stuff like that imho)
    6. Make sure you are rested in the last few days before the race (only easy swimming and practicing skills) , ie do a "mini-taper".
    7. Relax, have fun, don't put yourself under pressure - you will have many future races to enjoy.
    Last edited by Gdavis; September 29th, 2019 at 10:06 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Gdavis. Many thanks for valuable suggestions! I don't have an expert to guide me for no.3 but will do my best to get them right.
    Last edited by buea; September 29th, 2019 at 10:12 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Quote Originally Posted by Gdavis View Post
    I have a few suggestions:
    1. If you are excited now, the pre-race adrenaline may surprise you. Make sure you have a simple pre-race routine that will keep you calm and focused on swimming your races well. Nerves can make you rush and make mistakes unnecessarily.
    2. Forget about focusing on a time goal. Just focus on swimming the race well.
    3. Practice starts from the starting block now!!! And practice turns at race speed. If you are new to wearing goggles in a race you need to learn to dive in keeping your goggles on. Do you have someone who can help guide you? You have to keep your head down behind your streamlined arm entry to reduce the risk that your goggles will come off in the dive.
    4. Have a simple pacing plan. I suggest that you swim a 100 the way you swam a 200 in college, and the 200 the way you swam 400 in college. For example: 200 - 1st 50: get a good start, settle into the race, don't over kick; 2nd 50 - work on breathing maintaining rhythm; 3rd 50 - start to increase the kick tempo; last 50 - build to max effort in last 25. You may find that your excitement or racing other people makes you "go out too hard". If that happens "settle and breathe" to get back into your race plan.
    5. Keep it simple, don't worry about the shave (it would help, but it's way too early in your return to racing to focus on stuff like that imho)
    6. Make sure you are rested in the last few days before the race (only easy swimming and practicing skills) , ie do a "mini-taper".
    7. Relax, have fun, don't put yourself under pressure - you will have many future races to enjoy.
    Just a follow up, I raced the 100 free today. All the things you warned occurred (excitement, go out too hard, etc.) but I handled them ok (a little below average dive though). The awareness and preparation make this participation more fun to me than simply running through the race without remembering much like when I was young.

    Time. I went 5 seconds faster than my best hope, 7 seconds faster than my PB last Monday, and 11 seconds faster than any of my 100 free swims before three weeks ago. Participating does help me get fitter. My time would win last year by comfortable margin, but three super swimmers showed up this year in my age group and so I could only get 4th (a very happy one).

    200m free tomorrow. But whatever its result is, I'm already happy with my participation.
    Last edited by buea; October 5th, 2019 at 09:58 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Hey buea, Congratulations on your swim! Have fun in the 200. Glad some of the suggestions helped and that you are enjoying racing again.
    Thanks for updating us on your swims.

  6. #6
    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Buea just go have fun this first time out. The Senior Games are as much about camaraderie as they are competing. You値l ageup to a new group next year and by then, if you continue to practice, you値l likely be even more competitive
    Last edited by flystorms; October 7th, 2019 at 12:36 PM.
    Kari Kennedy

  7. #7
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Quote Originally Posted by flystorms View Post
    Hues just go have fun this first time out. The Senior Games are as much about camaraderie as they are competing. You値l ageup to a new group next year and by then, if you continue to practice, you値l likely be even more competitive
    Thanks Kari. The event last weekend was just like you said. And I had a great fun.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    HAVE FUN should be the goal at this point. Shave if you feel like it and you also feel comfortable doing so.
    Welcome to the forum. Let us know how you are coming along!

  9. #9
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    Re: Preparing for a competition, after 36 years

    Quote Originally Posted by orca1946 View Post
    HAVE FUN should be the goal at this point. Shave if you feel like it and you also feel comfortable doing so.
    Welcome to the forum. Let us know how you are coming along!
    I had good fun at the event and unbelievable results (3rd in 200m). Thanks for welcoming and the suggestions.

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