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Thread: Do you ever have crap workouts?

  1. #1
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    Do you ever have crap workouts?

    When I used to run, some days were awesome, some were tough. Sometimes when I swim 4 days straight, I get better. Today I felt sloppy, no rhythm on freestyle, hips were tired. Ugghh. Does anyone else experience that? Do you plug on through or cut it short? I'm betting most get through the workout.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Yes, far more often than I'd like due to my schedule. I slog through it. Lately, all of mine have been complete crap, though, as I'm trying to get back into "pool" shape from having been doing so much open water over teh Summer. I will say that if I feel my stroke going to crap, I'll drop it and go to easy free to finish teh lap. Then adjust rest intervals or whatever as necessary. But I don't really cut a workout short.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by renie View Post
    When I used to run, some days were awesome, some were tough. Sometimes when I swim 4 days straight, I get better. Today I felt sloppy, no rhythm on freestyle, hips were tired. Ugghh. Does anyone else experience that? Do you plug on through or cut it short? I'm betting most get through the workout.
    All of us do. I think the best thing to do is to do something you don't usually do. Sometimes we live and die in tenths when we swim the same thing over and over. If its just a bad day sometimes you should just take a hot shower and come back the next day refreshed.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    I cannot count how man times I have jumped into the pool, swam a 400m warmup, then climbed out.
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:35.25/100m-1:19.15/200m-2:55.5/400m-6:14/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37

    My dream: Sub 6min 400m before 2022.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skuj View Post
    I cannot count how man times I have jumped into the pool, swam a 400m warmup, then climbed out.
    Wow, this is very enlightening. Maybe I should emulate that practice!

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skuj View Post
    I cannot count how man times I have jumped into the pool, swam a 400m warmup, then climbed out.
    A big key is ability to adapt your workout to how you feel. I usually come in to a practice knowing what I want to focus on that day (endurance/aerobic capacity, I.M., VO2 max, lactate production, etc.) and then have a few "main sets" to choose from: my "goal" set (the one I most want to do), a scaled back set if I am not feeling it or if some outside force like time or weather interfere, and a "today is not my day" set. The last is usually some drilling/smooth kicking/turn work. When I swim the first 400 and I am like, "wow I feel like dogsh*t today," I tell myself there is always something I can work on to get better in the pool. Sometimes that "something" is just 20x50 "Progressive Freestyle" (see blog if you want to know), or 8-12x125 kicking with fins with underwater work mixed in.

    However, if I plan a dive set for a particular day and I get in and feel crappy, I push through that for the mental strengthening. I don't ever deviate from a pure lactate set

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Calvin, I am guilty of doing the same workouts (sets that incorporate drills for all strokes). I like your alternate workout plans. I am the type that would feel guilty if I deviate from my routine (as though I haven't accomplished much). When actually, plodding thru with sloppy sets isn't accomplishing much either.

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Yeah it’s tough because sometimes it’s more nuanced than just “pack it in cause I’m feeling crappy or having a bad set.” There are times when it IS better to just call it a day, or make a 180 degree turn from your planned workout. But other times it’s important to push through feeling crappy. Have to know for yourself which path to choose and when to choose it!

    (for the record, if I didn’t make it clear in my previous post, I too have crappy practices from time to time. They most often fall on Mondays, if I took Saturday and Sunday off, or on Thursdays, if I have been grinding M/T/W and my body is broken down!)

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    I would say that I feel crappy on the vast majority of my workouts. But, that's fine because it's part of the process. On the flip side, I feel great at the vast majority of my competitions.

    When I was younger and particularly in university, I was a great workout swimmer ... but struggled to translate that same greatness when it came to competition.

    Now, as a Masters swimmer, I'd say I'm an OK workout swimmer, but a GREAT competition swimmer. I like it better this way.

    But, renie, back to your exchange with Calvin, I do a blend on the same and different. I almost always do pretty much the same warmup:
    • 1 x 400: IM kick drill
    • 4 x 100: free descend
    • 4 x 100: IM kick descend
    • 6 x 50: #1 and #6 easy, #2 to #5 IM order fast


    By doing this same warmup every day, I get some early indicators as to how I feel, where my body is and what my body needs. Like Calvin, I come into the pool each day with a main set or two, but, if my warmup "feel" or performance indicates I should be doing something else, I'll switch it up.

    Also, I really like to idea of doing 1-2 test sets each week, as this is another way to judge my progress in training, but also helps me to calibrate my training plan.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by renie View Post
    Wow, this is very enlightening. Maybe I should emulate that practice!
    Maybe that was sarcasm, and maybe I deserve it.

    To be clear, this happens perhaps 6x per year. I read Calvin's response, and I thank him for it. But I do believe that there are times when we schedule sessions that are best left abandoned. At least the 400m warmup is a warmup for the next session.
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:35.25/100m-1:19.15/200m-2:55.5/400m-6:14/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37

    My dream: Sub 6min 400m before 2022.

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Yeah pwb, I can't do the same warm-up every day, but whatever I do it always starts with 400-500 swim every 4th 25 head-up scull (or head down if I decide to use a snorkel). Then I mix in a bunch of stuff, I have probably 8-10 different small sub sets I can mix and match after the 400, sometimes doing the whole cycle twice. I definitely like dynamic warm-ups with a mix of kicking/drilling/toys/build or elevated HR stuff to get the blood flowing. However I do try to do almost the exact same warm-up any time I am doing a quality set (so my "Lactic Hold," "VO2 Max," or "Lactate Production/Off the Blocks"). And during taper, like when I really get into taper, then I do the same warm-up every day, and it is a carbon copy of my meet warm-up.

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    Yeah pwb, I can't do the same warm-up every day...
    Well, to be fair, I do have a 1K version of this, a 1250 version and a 1750 version.

    Now, when I am swimming with a team, whether my own Masters team or when visiting, I do whatever the coach says ... but I actually quite like the consistency of my 'standard warmup.' It allows me to just get in the water and get going.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    Yeah pwb, I can't do the same warm-up every day, but whatever I do it always starts with 400-500 swim..............
    If I'm solo swimming, probably 80-90% of them are 400 swim, 200 kick, 400 pull. Shrug

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    If I'm solo swimming, probably 80-90% of them are 400 swim, 200 kick, 400 pull. Shrug
    to each their own

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skuj View Post
    Maybe that was sarcasm, and maybe I deserve it.

    To be clear, this happens perhaps 6x per year. I read Calvin's response, and I thank him for it. But I do believe that there are times when we schedule sessions that are best left abandoned. At least the 400m warmup is a warmup for the next session.
    No, I wasn't being sarcastic, just emoji'ing my version of what I would do after I climbed out of the pool! You're lucky, IMO, if you only have cruddy workouts 6x a year.

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    There are no bad workouts. It's just that some are better than others.

    Dan

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Some days it's easier, some days it's harder but I can push through it, some days I need to lower my expectations. Today I went to the pool planing to do 50s at 100 pace. My body didn't think that was a good idea, so I did 100s focusing on DPS. Not what I planned, but I felt good about it.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    There are no bad workouts. It's just that some are better than others.

    Dan
    This is a great way to look at it!

    I've been swimming on my own for the past 3 years or so. It is quite easy for me to modify my sets if I'm not feeling it...almost too easy. But some days I just need to give myself a break. There are days when I'll show up at the pool with what I think is a perfect set--only to feel not so good during my warm-up. I'll usually start on the set. If it is say 200s, I'll do at least 2-3. If I'm not making my interval after that many, then it is time to modify (either the distance or the interval). Again, this is solo swimming, so I have wide latitude to change anything.

    When I swam with teams it wasn't so easy. I'd normally swim in the same lane, with many of the same people. Some days there were distance or sprint options. Occasionally I'd move to a different lane if I wasn't feeling it, but that would usually raise questions/concerns from the other lane ('you're too fast for us') and defeat the point of changing lanes.

    I had the opposite happen to me this past Monday. I woke up feeling a bit run-down and had low expectations for my swim (Sunday was a busy day with a lake swim, a hike, then a long time on the USMS convention Zoom meeting). I got to the pool, did a long warm-up and suddenly felt better than I expected. So I revised my set--I did 600/500/400/300/200, with the 5/3 as pull, and that last 200 somewhat fast.

    While I enjoyed swimming with teams while I did, I'm finding solo swimming to have its benefits too. Occasionally I'll still swim with a team (or I did before Coronavirus), and find that really provides benefits for fast swimming. My goals are more on long swims now (like miles, not yards or meters).
    Check out my blog here
    "You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    I am really feeling encouraged by these responses. Could I take this one step further and ask for an explanation of "not feeling it." For me, maybe it's heavy legs, sloppy or lazy rotation, etc. Do most of you elite swimmers just feel tired, or are there specific parts of the body or form that are not cooperating?

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Do you ever have crap workouts?

    Quote Originally Posted by renie View Post
    I am really feeling encouraged by these responses. Could I take this one step further and ask for an explanation of "not feeling it." For me, maybe it's heavy legs, sloppy or lazy rotation, etc. Do most of you elite swimmers just feel tired, or are there specific parts of the body or form that are not cooperating?
    Hard to explain. Every body and every workout is different. But certainly feeling slow/lethargic in the water is an indicator. Feeling like I am swimming through soup. Sore shoulders is another indicator, but only if it is causing issues with my form. Often times my shoulders are "sore," but it doesn't actually mean much!

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