It’s been a good week training wise for me, 7 pool sessions and one gym session. Also this week, for the first time in my many years of swimming I ended up vomiting after a session, my first anaerobic session of the week. While I made the bathroom for it, I was a bit shaken when I got back to work, whether that was because I had pushed myself hard or because my stomach had emptied when I needed fuel most I’m not sure. This highlights the fun world of training I find myself in. While I go into each week with a rough plan of what I will get done and when I will do it this inevitably gets changed or adapted based on three issues which I’m sure most if not all masters swimmers face.
- Pool time and lane availability. Let me explain a little. During the regular season (September to May) my local masters club only trains twice a week and both of these sessions are at 22:00 at night. While in previous years would be at both of these sessions, I’ve had to reduce that this season to an occasional session if I can get to sleep in the next morning (see points 2 & 3) or if my weekly plan is falling behind. It’s June now so there are no more club sessions, and even if there were, there wouldn’t be enough for me. So I have to rely heavily on getting the training in during public sessions. Some public sessions only have two lanes in, so it can be really hit and miss on what I can get done as sometimes there are simply too many people going at too many different paces. To be honest, while this is inconvenient, it is a public pool and everyone has the same right to use it, I just chalk this down to bad luck. It is easier for the lunch time sessions (all 5 lanes are in), but means rushing down to the pool and then back to work sneaking a sandwich in somewhere along the way.
- I’m a masters swimmer, not a professional. I must juggle family, work and training. Sometimes I can’t make a lunch session because of meetings, or I can’t make an evening swim due to family commitments. Not much can be done on this, I’m thankful for whatever training I do get in and if it comes down to time with family or in the pool, family wins (though I do drag them to the pool with me sometimes).
- I’m getting old. Things just don’t work like they used to. Ten years ago I was training daily in martial arts with some swimming and used to go off snowboarding or ice-skating on days off from training. No matter how hard I worked I recovered, granted it could take a day or two depending on what I had been doing, but I could recover. Now as I’m hitting mid-thirties I have to start boxing smart. I need to watch my sleep, watch what I eat (to an extent anyway) and I must take actual rest days. A few weeks ago I found out that my body doesn’t see it as a rest day if I do a leisurely 1.4km sea swim. Things begin to niggle and ache and to combat this dryland work has become increasingly important. While I would love to train 2-3 times every day, it simply isn’t possible, or perhaps I simply need to build up to it steadily.
It’s all part of the game and funnily enough the more my training progresses the more I enjoy swimming, but I think next week I will avoid eating a banana as I get in my car for an anaerobic session. -Mike