How to Make a Comeback in Swimming

author : Tri Swim Coach
comments : 1
Member question

"I've been swimming strong for over two years (4,000 yards minimum a week) up to this month when I got a very bad sinus infection with an ear infection. I have been off for a few weeks and can't hit the water for another week or two. I have kept up with running and bike training. I'm doing strength training too. I'm scheduled to do Olympic distance in November. Is there hope I can still "catch up" with my swimming with this delay in my training?"

Answer from Kevin Koskella
TriSwimCoach.com

It is very rare to have a “perfect season” free of any injuries, illnesses, or unexpected family and work emergencies, all of which can derail your training.

Many triathletes rush back into training too quickly and make matters worse by stressing their body out before it is ready. Moreover, they feel that their chances for a PR, especially for the swim, are over. Swimming seems to get impacted the most because, for beginner swimmers, they seem to quickly lose the feel for the water in just a few days away from the pool. Fear not! There is hope.

The key to coming back from a sickness or injury and resuming normal swim training is both physical and psychological.The first step is realizing when you are ready. If you are still experiencing pain or not back to at least 80% of wellness then you are better off resting. Coming back too early will stress your system and your immune defenses and increase the possibility of relapse.

This may be tough mentally to deal with, but you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

Just realize that you will be better in the long run by taking one or two more days off rather than squeezing a sub par workout in and then having to take another week or more off because you relapsed. This is particularly true for swimmers who are exposed to more germs and chemicals in a pool and the close environment of the gym than runners or cyclists.

After you are cleared for returning to normal training, you need to ease back into things. Jumping back in and starting where you left off, or overdoing it to make up time, will not help your comeback. Instead you need to move slowly and regain the feel for the water. Good ways to do this are to focus on timing and “water feel” drills like catchup, sculling, and the shark fin drill.

However, not overdoing it does not mean cutting out swims. On the contrary! Once you are back in the pool, try to get in everyday. This is tough for many triathletes who have full time jobs and families, but it does pay off. Getting in everyday will help your body quickly readapt to the water and it helps reawaken those neuromuscular connections.

Like coming back to a foreign language after an extended break, a period of immersion in the water will help those old patterns return quickly.

In addition to consistency, building volume and speed gradually over the week will also reawaken your inner swimmer.

The first day should be mostly drills and 200-400m endurance sets, but as the week progresses, you should progress from 25m builds to 300m hard efforts. By the end of the week, the water should start feeling like it used to or pretty close. 

Psychologically, coming back is another hurdle. You may be tempted to beat yourself up about missing time, feel helpless about all the work you have to before your big race, or anxious that you will not be ready. But these are all normal reactions but realize they will not change the situation. What happened, happened, and all you can do now is focus on the training needed to get you to the start line. You may have to accept that there is a possibility you will not have a record-breaking swim time but at least you will be competing with a healthier and stronger body.

Sample “Readaption” week

Day 1: 1000 total: 200 warm-up easy zone 2, then 6x100 drill as 2x (25 drill, 25 swim) rotate through catch-up, sharkfin and sculling twice), 200 choice of stroke

Day 2: 1300 total: 200 warmup easy zone 2, then 6x100 drill as 2x (25 drill, 25 swim) rotate through catch-up, sharkfin and sculling twice), then 12x25 builds (get faster) on 20s rest, 200 easy choice

Day 3: 1800 total: 200 warmup easy zone 2, then 8x100 drill as 2x (25 drill, 25 swim) rotate through switch drill, doggy paddle freestyle, and 8/3/8 twice, then choice for the last two), 6x100 builds to sprint, 200 easy choice of stroke

Day 4: 2500 total: 200 warm up easy zone 2 then 3x100 (your choice of any of the above drills, then 5x200 high end zone 2/moderate pace on 20s rest, 6x100 builds on 15s rest, 8x25 sprints on 10s rest, 200 easy choice of stroke

Day 5: 2600 total:, 200 warm up easy zone 2 then 3x100 (your choice of any of the above drills), 5x300 moderate effort on 20s rest, 10x50 builds, 100 easy cool down

Day 6: 3000 total: 200 warmup, 6x50 drills (one of each of the above), 3x500 tempo pace (a step above moderate), 200 easy, 6x50 builds, 10x25 sprints, 250 cooldown of choice

Day 7: OFF and return to normal training after this.

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date: August 26, 2014

Author


Tri Swim Coach

I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.

For a 20% DISCOUNT on Zoomers Z2 fins and Freestyler paddles, go to www.finisinc.com and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!

Author

avatarTri Swim Coach

I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.

For a 20% DISCOUNT on Zoomers Z2 fins and Freestyler paddles, go to www.finisinc.com and use discount code ‘aggies20’ at checkout!

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