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Thread: is this any good?

  1. #1
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Question is this any good?

    I am a masters track sprinter who has been having lower back troubles for the last year. I am 41 year old male.

    I have been swimming to give my back time to heal. I have been swimming for about a month.

    This week I swam 800 yards in a pool (100ft long) in 16 minutes. Is this any good? Never swam competatively in my life.

    I have some real disc problems and I was hoping I could someday be competative in the water if I can't run anymore. I have to be honest, I love running way more than swimming, but I really miss the competition part.

    What should I be doing as a rookie if I want to swim the 50 and the 100? What kind of interval training? or should I just be doing conditioning and technique?

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    Very Active Member kristilynn's Avatar
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    rtodd,

    A 16 minute 800 would mean that you're averaging 2 minute 100s. Try doing some interval sets, such as 5 x 100 or 10 x 50 based on this average.

    Warm up with about 5-minutes of easy straight swimming. Then do an interval set (100s on a 2:15 send off or 50s on a 1:15 send off). As you improve, shorten up the send off so that you still get about :15 rest. Always remember to cool down with some easy swimming.

    If you have a Master's swimming program in your area, don't delay in joining. Swimming with a group and a coach is the best way to improve. As a 41-year-old guy you have your work cut out for you; it's one of the fastest age groups around, but don't let that hold you back. Go for it!

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    Sprinting

    Dude,

    Swimming the 50 and 100 free is not a good idea for someone with a bad back. The sprints require lightning acceleration off the start. You will wrench that sucker good if your problem is recurring. Turns are no picnic either on the 50 free. You gotta jam on those suckers fast and hard or you will be left in the dust. Getting up out of the start and turn and getting moving on top of the water at an all out "nuclear warhead" speed is very stressfull on the back and upper body of an old man. Believe me, I speak from experience and old age.

    I recommend a slower paced event like the 200 free on up for your back.


    John Smith
    (age 43)

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    Where did you find a 100-foot pool?

    I know of two in Orlando (one each at the Swan and the Dolphin hotels in Disney World.) It's a strange distance to swim when you're used to multiples of 25 yds/meters.

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    Very Active Member Sabretooth Tiger's Avatar
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    Guvnah,

    While most have been replaced, there used to be a lot of 33 1/3 yard (100ft) pools around. This is probably a remnant. I remember swimming my first college meet at the U. of Redlands pool which was then a 33 1/3 yard pool . . . and I got to swim the 200 fly. Good times . . . good times . . .

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    Oh, back to your original question...

    2-minute 100s is a relatively average time for your run-of-the-mill recreational swimmer. You'll find that many masters swimmers will sustain 100s in 1:20-1:30 or less, and will do an 800 in 10-15 minutes, give or take depending on whether it's all they're focused on doing that day or if they're doing it as part of a full workout...

    What impressed me is that within a month you have progressed to the point of doing a 16-minute swim like that. Many guys (even quality runners and bikers) who aren't swimmers and get in the pool find that they are lucky to complete 100 yards without nearly passing out. It takes a while to get the technique and conditioning to keep an extended swim going.

    Hang in there! Sounds like you are doing well.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Krystilin-
    Thanks for all the advice. Yes 40's is a tuff group. In track, very much so! I guess same for swimming.

    TheGoodSmith-
    Yes, I tweaked my back a little during a turn. But all the block starts, plyo's, and speed work on the track is just too stressful right now. Not to mention chronic achilies tendonitis and a sports hernia. Because of my anaerobic conditioning, I think I am best suited for the 50 and 100. I tried some top speed stuff in the water and the back was OK.

    Guvnah-
    The pool dates back to the 1940's. It is at an old WWII army camp. The 800 is not my thing, but it was a chance to get timed. May try a 50 and 100 soon at a local meet coming up. This I hope is relatively better.

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    rtodd,

    Be sure you understand John's comments. A swimming block start (you will need to do one if you want to be competitive) is perhaps more stressful on the back than a track block start (you need to straighten the body out faster) and almost certainly requires more flexibility (both at the beginning and entering the water.) And do you do a flip turn? Most non-swimmers do not, and a flip turn will be essential to get in the top tier of USMS sprinters. They are far more stressful on the back than an open turn.

    Of course non of these things are essential to compete, but I think a competitive person with a bad back will find the back the limiting factor (but maybe less than it is on the track, despite the start and turn aspects.)

    Perhaps interestingly, I am an adequate sprinter in the water but a woefully poor one on land. Despite the generalization of fast/slow twitch muscles, it is not obvious that a sprinter on land will be a sprinter in the water.

  9. #9
    Very Active Member Donna's Avatar
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    I have had a bad lower back that has untill recently been what kept me from being able to get off the blocks fast. I was always the last one off the blocks.

    Being a sprinter in the past I tried the sprint races but could not react fast enough to get near my goals but I did take the opportunity to build a good distance base my first year. This will help me when it comes to doing 100's and 200's. If you can't get off the blocks on a longer swim you can always catch up on the swim.

    Now that my back is getting better (still not at 100% yet) I am excited to be able to try some sprint races again.

    If yours is a lower back problem I always found the 1 arm fly was the best thing for loosening my lower back muscles. My doctor (who sometimes swims with me) did not think it wise to do 1 arm fly but for me it was exactly what I needed. Now I do it during every warmup before a meet.

    I hope your back gets better. Mine is still on the mend too but is way better than 2 weeks ago. Finding the right Chiropractor has really made a great difference.

  10. #10
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Yes,

    I've been practicing the flip turn. Not as easy as it looks!!! Very difficult to judge coming into it fast. I have not practiced diving, since my pool does not have platforms. It will be trial by fire at my first meet. Off the track two months now and the lower back has been slowly getting better.

    Speaking on the dive, how do I ensure I don't wear my goggles as a necklace when I dive in? what are the tricks to keeping them on?

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    Three years ago I had surgery to repair a herniated disk, I strongly urge you to see a Dcotor and get a MRI (x-rays won't reveal the extent of the problem). I too went years off and on injuring myself--usually it would manifest as stiff hips or a weak right knee and leg. Personally, I think you should get it checked out before doing any type of competition. And if it comes to surgery, it's all done with lasers and your life will improve right away (I've also known runners and swimmers that had herniated disks in their necks and the surgery was an immediate relief). Remember if you are 41, you have another 50 or so years to go so there is no need to be in pain or risking further injury. If you are going to swim do it slowly.

  12. #12
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    MRI shows a desicatted L4-5 disc with a annular tear and slight buldge.

    What was the nature and extent of your disc probelm? How was your post surgery recovery? I really don't see myself getting surgery at this point. I can only hope I can manage it.

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    I too had the L4 herniated--rather severely. What my guy did is slice open the lower back (a 3 inch scar), and with a laser, flick out disk fragments and other bone detrious that come from the disk bulging. Then he shaved the bulged disk, cut some additional gelatnous disk material, and re-packed the disk back into the spine. When I awoke from the anesthisia, I felt much better--though of course the inciscion hurt. (before the surgery I could not move to my left, when I awoke I could).

    I took three months off, went on short term disability. I pretty much took baby steps for about 3 to 4 weeks and walked with a cane. By six weeks I was walking and getting around fine (I hadn't had more than 10 days off from work since my teenage years so I was in no hurry to go back to work). After three months I was back swimming and three months after that I competed in a zone meet, swam free, fly and back and came home with 3 medals out of six events.

    Also, what precipitated the sugery: I slammed on my brakes to avoid an accident (no impact) and the jolt of braking threw out my disk. So it's not always some traumatic accident. And when I would injure myself before the surgery it was always something mundane like changing the air filter on my car, cleaning the tub, or raking leaves.

    I'd show your MRI to a neurosurgeon and see what they think. That's who did my surgery...and I was fortunate, this guy had worked on MLB pticher's shoulders and other athletes.

  14. #14
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    It's nice to know that you got a good result. It is encouraging to me. I will do as you say and just go for a consultation and get a second opinion.

    Since I stopped running, it is slowly getting better. Will concentrate on swimming this year and see how fast I can get. Will concentrate on the 50 and 100 free, since it is the only stroke I know. Hopefully the anaereobic training crosses over into swimming. When I get a time, I'll post it.

  15. #15
    Very Active Member scyfreestyler's Avatar
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    16 minutes is not too bad for an 800. I have not swam an 800 for time recently but 13 minutes seems to stick in my head as my best time (I had been swimming for about 4-5 months at the time), so 16 minutes after a month is pretty darn good. Keep up the good work. Your conditioning from running is going to benefit you for sure.

  16. #16
    Very Active Member Alex's Avatar
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    Originally posted by rtodd
    Yes,

    Speaking on the dive, how do I ensure I don't wear my goggles as a necklace when I dive in? what are the tricks to keeping them on?

    The best way to avoid goggle missplace during the dive is to make your chin touch your chess before entering into the water, they also have to be tighten well but not very much that bothers you.

    It will need practice and patience.

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