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Advice needed on when to swim
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Hi ladies...usually just a lurker but really need some advice.

Background...no athletics AT ALL until meeting my husband in 2009 (local triathlon celebrity/AG winner/Kona #7 this year) when I was 38. Smoker for 17 years. Quit smoking shortly thereafter (5 years this month!) and started running and doing triathlons. Did sprints and Olympics in 2010-2012. In 2013 I only ran, and did 3 half marathons and one full marathon - not fast (2ish for a half, 4:35 for the full). This year I am signed up for 2 half ironmans in early July and end of August.

My problem is I can't seem to get to the pool. I loosely follow a training program (Endurance Planner) that sets up a training schedule for me. Generally this looks like Monday off, Tuesday swim am/bike pm, Wednesday run, Thursday swim am/bike pm, Friday swim am/run pm, Saturday long bike, Sunday long run. I work full time (7.5hr shifts) but they are all over the place. Mostly 6:30am-2:30pm but also 7-3, 8-4, 12-20:00, 14:30-22:30, 22:30-6:30. 4 weeks are Monday-Friday, then I get 2 weeks of Thursday/Friday off so I can work the weekends. And the second weekend is Saturday/Sunday either days or afternoons followed by 4 straight night shifts. It's hell trying to have a routine.

We have one pool in our community. It opens at 6am. So for shifts starting at 6 or 7, I can't make this work in the morning (this is probably 65% of my shifts). This is also when the only masters is available. After work, at 2:30, all of the lanes but one are filled with swim club kids until about 5:30.

If I can't swim in the mornings, should I try to cram in a crappy swim with 4-5 others in the one available lane after work? Should I stack a bike/swim or run/swim (ie do the run/bike right after work then go straight to the pool around the time the swim club kids are done)? Or do the run or bike after work, go have dinner and swim later? Pool is open until 9. I don't really like this option as I suffer from insomnia and I find that working out that close to bedtime riles me up too much that it makes sleep difficult. Also I like to be in bed by 9-10 as I am usually up at 5 and it takes me a least an hour to fall asleep. Or should I just skip a bike or run workout one of the weekdays and swim at 5:30? Or just do a swim focus on the weeks I have Thursday/Friday off or work a later shift where I can swim during the day?

I am a slow swimmer (2:15/100m). I am not looking to set any land speed records, I just want to finish these 2 races. It might get a bit better when the weather warms as I can just jump in the lake after work and not worry about being run over by fast people in my lane.

I thought I was on top of it today (Good Friday). The pool was open so I thought I'd go since I was off. Got there 10 minutes after opening. 7 or 8 lanes were open, but each lane had 5 people. I tried swimming for about 15 minutes then got out, I was so frustrated I couldn't even swim a length without being run over or needing to run over someone else. This in spite of the Fast/Medium/Slow signs. For the record I was in a medium lane and was the fastest one in there...but the fasties that were there were FAST!

Thoughts?
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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First off, HUGE congratulations on beating smoking! I'm in your same boat as a slow swimmer (very similar times) and found that the more I do it, the more I love it. Perhaps driving a little further for a pool that's convenient and comfortable for you? We joined a 24 Hour Fitness that I have to drive 20 minutes to, but I /always/ get a lane to myself and can swim sans judgement. Except for the one weird old guy who sat in the hot tub at the end of the wet area and decided to time me and tell me at the end what my average lap times are.

If you're looking to do brief workouts, the work pool sounds like a nice option, but for me swimming is about not being rushed and concentrating on form and breathing, not "oh crap I need to wash my hair and did I bring my hairdryer I need to get back to work ASAP!".

Good luck with your training, and I'm sure I speak for all the womens in looking forward to hearing how your 70.3's go!


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You. You make me stronger.
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [Agilecipher] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the reply! Actually quitting smoking wasn't as hard as I thought it would be after 17 years of doing it. Love does weird things for you...;)

There are no other options for pools near here. I live in a small community, next nearest 25m pool is another community pool with worse hours and only 4 lanes 20 minutes away, then the next biggest town with pools is an hour away. No fitness clubs, and the hotel pools here are standard size, probably like 10-15m. Being time crunched as it is, I need to make do with what's local. Not sure if my message was confusing or not but I don't have a work pool, it is the community pool that I would use after work - all the lanes are full of swim club kids in the after school hours except for one lane kept public.

I am like you, I would like to just go and swim and not be bothered. 2-3 others in the lane I can usually handle, but more than that is impossible. Our pool is 25m and today I could do about 10-15m before coming up on the next person and either having to stop or switch to breast stroke as they were so slow.

I used to work a permanent afternoon shift (15:30-23:30) which was actually great. It was 7 days on 7 days off. I could go to the mid morning masters classes at 11am, and really concentrate on training on my days off. Now with the full time and all the shift switching I'm finding it really hard. My swimming WAS better then when I could focus on it. I think if I survive these halfs I'll probably retire from triathlon and go back to running. I'm no hot stuff on the bike either...my next post is going to ask for advice on how to go down hills. :) I crashed a couple of years ago and since then I ride the brakes and go about 10km/hr down all hills for fear of death.

I'll post on how the halfs go. Have my first triathlon in almost 2 years coming up in 2 weeks...sprint with a pool swim.
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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I just took the sport up last year and did 3 sprints - I have an upcoming pool-swim sprint, too - a month out, though (and I haven't been on my bike in months). Nice way to ease back in (and I'm adjusting to altitude, having recently moved from CA to UT).

Maybe get the stretchy bands you attach to a wall to help you work your arms/shoulders when making it into the pool is impossible? I'd go NUTS surrounded by kids. I tried lap swimming at my last apartment complex and actually had a (insert expletive mostly relating to the ignorant mother) kid throw a ball at me... repeatedly.

It took me 4+ months to get into aero after learning how to ride a road bike, and hills can be daunting. They can also be FUN if you remember to relax, not over-grip your handlebars, and use the time to catch your breath. If you start to panic, SLOWLY brake, just like a car ^_^ Better to be in control the entire time then go from zero to "oh shit" in a heartbeat.


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You. You make me stronger.
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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The good news is that if you have to swim with so many other people, the HIM swims are going to be a cakewalk.

How married are you to the training plan? I would figure out when is easiest to swim schedule-wise, plan those, and put the other things around it. This might look like aiming for 3 swims, 3 rides, and 3 runs (or whatever) a week rather than sticking to "swim and bike Thurs" or whatever. For instance, when you have Thurs and Fri off, swim BOTH days. Ask the lifeguards what the most un-busy time is, and go then.

A 10-15m hotel pool, while not the best thing in the world, might be just fine if you get it to yourself. You can buy swim "tethers" and swim with those in short pools, or you can swim the perimeter rather than laps, or do laps on the diagonal - sometimes in hotel pools I just swim breaststroke or sidestroke. It all counts.

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
Fishtwitch is chlorintined!
disclaimer: PhD not MD
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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Plus one on not worrying about training plan and swim as much as you can when it's convenient. For a 70.3, you want to be able to get out of the water without feeling completely gassed. And, for me, that means getting the yards in, however you can.

As a fellow non-athletic backgrounder, welcome! I did my first tri (a Danskin, no less) eleven years ago and have been hooked ever since.

Good luck with your training and keep us posted!

Michelle

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The beatings will continue until morale improves

My blog
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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I have been swimming in a master's program for past 5 years. During that time I have seen 4-5 novice swimmers come. They stay or later move on to swimming with other friends they just could not keep up with previously. In all of these cases, they start swimming a 1:45-2:00 per 100 yards due to poor technique. Certainly it is not from lack of fitness. After 1-2 years they are down to 1:13-1:25 / 100 SCY. These guys and gals are 35-50 y.o. doing 3-4 workouts per week. Some all masters and some 50/50 swim on their own and masters. The rapid improvement is just remarkable.

As efficient swimming is an unnatural motion, one thing is certain. If you don't already have a good to decent stroke, you will never get their on your own. IMHO ... More than likely your self training will get you frustrated, hating swimming, injured or all of the above.

Congrats on beating smoking. Welcome the wonderful lifestyle of triathlon!

Such a Bad Runner
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [SBR_bestgoodbad] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for all the replies!

I am not terribly married to the training plan. With my work schedule I have to do what I can do when I can do it. Would you guys recommend stacked workouts (ie running or biking immediately after a swim) or does that diminish the effectiveness of the second workout? The only time I can usually get in a long ride or run is on Saturday or Sunday, but since I am off work I can swim those mornings...but I'm thinking the long run or long bike would be more important and I wouldn't want them to suffer because I swam first...thoughts? Wondering if it would be worth it to brick these or just concentrate on the bike/run on these days, and drop a shorter run or bike during the week to go to the pool.

SBR - when I did go to masters I did notice a bit of an increase in my speed (to about 2min/100m). I know they were good for me however I was in tears a few times because I was the slowest in the group and the others were not welcoming and they were frustrated to have to swim around me. I would go back though if I could but it's not an option with work - the only masters we have is from 6-7am and 10-11am. I could make it there once or twice a month but it costs a lot (you have to pay a yearly insurance fee regardless of how often you go, then the drop in cost is something like $10 per visit). From when I did go, I did a stroke analysis clinic and was told my stroke is not that bad - in fact, the instructor even said my stroke was better than my husband's, and he's a 56 minute IM swimmer (somehow his shitty stroke works for him). I'm not super concerned with being fast or getting faster. As someone mentioned, all I want is to be able to get through it without feeling gassed and get on with the rest. In open water my only concern is not drowning. I let everyone else go then do my thing in the cleanest water possible.

Another option that briefly crossed my mind was to get up super early and do a treadmill or trainer workout at home before work and then swim after work. That way I could get in the 2-a-days. Then I realized I would hate my life if I did that and I am just not that dedicated...;)
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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That way I could get in the 2-a-days. Then I realized I would hate my life if I did that and I am just not that dedicated...;)

Good to identify up front - as much as I love my training, I realized I just don't want to do anything longer than an Oly - I like my wine and video gaming time. Granted... after my 5k race today, I'm feeling CRAZY motivated. Though that just usually results in my spending too much on new fitness clothes ^_^; oops...


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You. You make me stronger.
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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I'm sorry the masters group was not welcoming. Some are and some aren't.

maybe she's born with it, maybe it's chlorine
Fishtwitch is chlorintined!
disclaimer: PhD not MD
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [glowstickgirl] [ In reply to ]
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You're going to have to race multiple disciplines in one go in a tri, so doing so in training is not a bad idea.

I have a ridiculous commute (over an hour each way when traffic is good; up to 3.5hrs one-way in bad weather) so I'm away from home 11+hrs each day, getting home no earlier than 6:15pm. Lane swim is only available at the local pools from 9-10pm in fall, winter & spring, so on Tues & Thurs I run as soon as I get home from work then go swim & have dinner when I get home. In the summer, there's an outdoor pool with a 7:30-8:30pm lane swim, so I head there as soon as I get home then run afterward & have dinner when I'm done for the night. I hit the 6-7pm Saturday lane swim and usually the 8-9am Sunday swim as well - gives me lots of time for a long run on Saturday and long ride on Sunday, plus I cycle & run Mon & Wed. Friday is my only day off.

Cheers!

-mistress k

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ill advised racing inc.
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Re: Advice needed on when to swim [SBR_bestgoodbad] [ In reply to ]
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Such great advice to seek out guidance on learning proper technique. I know you are speaking from a competitive sense, but even in my limited experience it is important. I have RA (11 years now) and bought an Endless Pool three years ago in order to keep joints flexible and lose some weight. I had no training on proper swim technique and in my second year of using the pool, my right shoulder just gave out. I am sure it is a slight rotator cuff issue but it has halted my swimming for the most part. We still use the pool for gentle stretching and exercise but are actually thinking of selling it. I would definitely recommend to anyone that is adding swimming to their routine to get some professional instruction to reduce the risk of injury.
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