It’s that time of year when Masters teams start to get back to their regular training schedules. Perhaps you took a summer break and it’s time to get back into the pool for the new season or maybe you have decided to return to the pool after being away for a few years. Depending on how you’ve spent your time in the off season, or how long you have been away from swimming, those first few weeks can be really tough. These are my top tips for getting back into your training.
Ease back into it
Maybe it has only been a few weeks, maybe a month or two, or perhaps it has been years since you last graced a pool. One of the biggest mistakes you can make at this point is to jump back in and go full throttle. If you normally do more than five sessions per week then start with a little less to allow yourself to recover and adapt. You can increase the number back to your normal amount after 3-4 weeks.
Adapt your sessions
In a similar vein to the previous tip, you can’t expect to hit the pool and go straight back to the same repeats and times you were doing when your season ended. I like to do this by easing the target times or the “off” times for repeats and building up distances with those. I then reduce said times, if necessary I will reduce the number of repeats too and build those up as the times get more manageable. While the intention is to increase intensity and distance over a number of weeks, it doesn’t mean that you should just spend your time constantly swimming full strokes.
Focus on technique
I’m sure every swimmer has experienced the loss of their “feel for the water” after a break. So, it’s important to really focus on technique at this point in the season. It’s easy to hit fatigue early during your first few sessions back and that’s when technique tends to go out the window.
It is important to also work drills into your sessions. This time of the year should be seen as a chance to change and improve your technique. Changes made now can be worked on throughout the season so they can be implemented without issue when your big competition comes.
Grin and bare it
Those first few weeks aren’t going to be easy. Getting back into the pool and into a training regime can be mentally and physically challenging. As mentioned already, you need to take your time coming back, you will find you can’t hit the same times as you did at the end of the season, or you can’t hold them for as many reps, or you are gassing out quickly. Its important to stay patient and trust that it will get easier. With the right program you should get back to where you want to be relatively quickly.