Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

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Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Funkyfur on Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:38 pm

Hi

I was googling and came across a topic regarding exhaustion whilst swimming front crawl, on the old Swimsmooth forum. I found the posts helpful, especially those written by Mike A, so I decided to join here.

I have taught myself, with the help of YouTube, and managed my first 25m length 6 months ago. My technique is not great but I'm watching lots of clips and reading posts etc. Never imagined I would be able to swim properly, despite having taught aqua classes for 17+ years!

I was getting exhausted after a few lengths and hoped that after more practice, I would get used to this challenging activity! I have been a runner and  as many people have said, it's a totally different type of fitness. I wanted to reach 12 lengths before Christmas and I made it to 13, so I was pleased with that. Still I wasn't able to swim continuously like the "proper" swimmers though.

In January,  I registered for a Swimathon event (end April), the shortest distance being 400m (16 lengths), and started to get sponsors. As the weeks have gone on, I've found that although it's not easy, it's getting easier. I still swallow water sometimes and realise the pain I get in my stomach, is because I am swallowing air! I need to rectify that swiftly!

For the last month or so, have been swimming 3-4 times a week, and at the beginning of this month, I made it up to 32 lengths, so half a mile then! Who would have thought it? Last week, 40 lengths. So on Monday, I contacted Swimathon and have gone up to the next distance, which is 1.5km (60 lengths). OMG!

Yes, you get a maximum of 3 hours, but even so, there's a big difference between 40 lengths and 60. Ha, 500m to be exact! On Thursday, I was struggling with 250m! However, yesterday I reached 50 (lengths, not years, already passed that number!) despite having to nip to the toilet after 32, and as Mike A said, a second wind appeared, and I did another 18. So, I feel that there's a good chance I will complete the 1500m. It may take 90+ mins and I will suffer afterwards, as I have sensitivity to the chemicals, despite using loads of Vaseline up my nose, BUT I will have gone from 0 to 60 in 6 months (ish)!

Thank you for reading, unless you switched off after the first paragraph of course. I will look through all the relevant posts for tips etc. I know I need lots of improvements, especially with the breathing, but after next Saturday, I will concentrate more on technique and maybe get an analysis from professionals!

Funkyfur

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Re: Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Don Wright on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:53 pm

Hi "Funkyfur"!

Very best wishes for your progress.

At my old age, I am "moving away" from my old efforts to keep the arms in almost continuous FS action - indulging now in more stream-lined gliding at the start of each FS arm stroke. I know that's very "naughty" - but it helps with my now extremely limited energy resources! One of the advantages of doing a bit more gliding is that I can concentrate on doing a better flutter kick while the glide is under-way - maybe that's a sign I can only cope with doing one thing properly at a time, front end or back end but not both Laughing i.e. concentrate on legs while arms not busy, and vice versa!

Keep at it, you seem to be doing very well!

Bye/Don

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Re: Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Funkyfur on Sat Apr 21, 2018 9:24 pm

Thanks Don. I read some posts elsewhere whereby you can get up to 1km in 6 weeks!!!! Bit depressing but I have never been a swimmer, and as I say to my class participants, do not compare yourself to others (only to the person you used to be).....

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Re: Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Don Wright on Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:12 am

Hi again Funkyfur!

When I was about 50, my wife enrolled for a 100 length charity "swimathon" event, and had a lot of sponsors on her list .  As bad luck would have it - she slipped on our concrete garden path while playing with our dog, and fell awkwardly fracturing her wrist - so no participation possible in the swim event.  Muggins rashly offered to take her place - and to be honest I hated it.  There were 6 of us initially, crammed into a single lane  - (had never swum in a lane and in close proximity to others before, having always swum in un-roped areas) - with little room to pass each other unless swimming freestyle.  Also, had never swum with a swim cap on before (required for all participants to display the charity's logo), and this one was jolly tight, it constricted the blood flow to the head so much my face must have been as red as a beetroot and I felt as if my head was on fire.  Gradually the fastest swimmers completed their 100 lengths - a "cheer leader"  clown  waved a flag for them to indicate it was their last length and they could go off to shower/dry - so the few of us remaining had more space.  I wasn't the last to finish  - OK I'll confess, I was the last but one!   Resolution - no more sponsored swims for me!!!

When my wife swims FS beside me, she says I am faster - but at nearly 82 now (she is a more healthier/energetic 7 years younger than me  Sad ) I have to stop at the end of a length for a "breather" (aka a "pit-stop") while she gaily swims on!

Actually, during that sponsored swim - which I reckon would probably have been when I was 48 in Weymouth - I didn't have the need for any pit-stops at the end of each length, so continuous action Laughing .  Yet when we moved to Kettering at approx age 63 the need for pit-stops at the end of each length when swimming FS soon became evident - think it was the early indications of angina chest pains starting in approx 2001 age 65. Well am still "alive and kicking" despite setbacks (5 CABGs done when 74 and other "misfortunes" took a lot of "steam" out of me) but am hoping to still be swimming until the Heavenly Boatman calls out my number on the "boat hire lake" of life - "Come in number <whatever>!" Rolling Eyes

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Re: Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Mike A on Wed May 09, 2018 3:50 pm

Hi Funkyfur - glad to have helped! Sounds like you're making good progress. It took me seemingly ages to get on top of freestyle, but once I got up to a mile I found I could pretty much swim as long/far as I wanted, as long as I took it steady and didn't think about it too much. Half the battle is in your head.

Regarding chemical sensitivity, I have the same issue (endless sinus/ear problems) but find swimming with noseclip and ear plugs works pretty well for me. It takes some time to adjust to, though - at first I felt like I was suffocating! It's not for everyone, but might be worth a try.

In terms of conquering distance, it's really just a case of keep going, and don't swim too fast at first. SolarEnergy who used to post at SwimSmooth had this concept of swimming at "walking pace". Most people can't run all day, but most can walk all day. Once you have managed your target distance at "walking pace", you can start focusing on speed.

But really, for beginners/intermediates, technique focus should come first - speed tends to follow! If you focus too much on speed you can end up working really hard without getting much faster. Some people call this "end gaining" (focusing on the ends, not the means) - you need to focus on gaining the "means" - which means getting the technique right and letting the speed take care of itself.

Hope that helps!
Best, Mike
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Re: Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Sprinter on Sat May 19, 2018 7:55 pm

[quote="Mike A"]
But really, for beginners/intermediates, technique focus should come first - speed tends to follow! If you focus too much on speed you can end up working really hard without getting much faster. Some people call this "end gaining" (focusing on the ends, not the means) - you need to focus on gaining the "means" - which means getting the technique right and letting the speed take care of itself.
[/quote]

That is tricky. There is so much stuff (nonsense) about "technique" out there.

If you swim for health, perhaps for most people it is best to forget about "technique". Here in my pool there are a lot of people who swim I guess 5 times a week, with unbelievable styles, in the range of 25m in 30 sec - 60 sec, with big effort. But water is forgiving! It gives them a good exercise, which they couldn't get on dryland. Those who got the technique-virus, likely got some form of TI-stuff, and they start to work much less (which is bad for their health), wondering about the imagined wonders of gliding. This in my experience can lead quite likely to a very unhealthy stroke, with strange shoulder usage typically, which I believe can be much more harmful than the wild but non-extreme movements of many.

Sure, if you are really interesting in swimming, then this means swimming fast(er). But practising slowly just practises slow swimming, and does not prepare for faster swimming -- you get what you practise for. You practise slow swimming, you get slow swimming. So slow swimming should only be done in my opinion in restricted technical exercises, and never as a general target (except of special situations, warming up for example, or being very tired). Of course "slow" here means relative to your abilities.

Once the initial sensation about longer swimming is gone, AND you are interested in getting faster, then interval training is by far most efficient. Swimming 10 * 100m in a controlled way is much better than swimming 1000m.

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Re: Beginner swimmer - 0 to 60 in 6 months?

Post by Sprinter on Sat May 19, 2018 7:57 pm

Remark on the system: Don't know what you see, but I see the formatting-instructions in the post, here the quote-instruction. So the system seems to be broken (as often after some update ...).

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