Happy New Year Delaware Valley Master Swimmers and welcome to our new Fitness section. Introduction - I was an age group/club swimmer who joined USMS about six years ago because I wanted a consistent time/place to swim laps. It didnít take long before I was hooked! I currently work out with the Germantown Academy Masters (M-W-F) and with the Valley Forge Masters on Sunday. I compete in local, Zone and National meets, but my husband, Randy (also a USMS member) does not. I hope to share fitness items in this column that appeal to both of us and hopefully, also to you.
Last summer I was able to attend the USMS High Performance Camp that was held in August in Greensboro, NC. The Camp schedule included speakers who provided great information on topics that I think would be of interest to both fitness and competing Master swimmers. In the coming months I will share some of what I learned. In addition, I hope to include fitness advice from some of my distinguished teammates, some who have been USMS members for decades.
So letís get started. We are now into the last weeks of January, and hopefully, youíre well on your way to meeting your fitness/swimming goal for 2013. Here are a few helpful hints to keep you on that journey:
Youíre off to a great start - best of luck with your 2013 fitness goals!
- Set a goal for yourself that is reasonable, but achievable. A goal that is too aggressive may not set you up for success. Only you know what works best/what will motivate you to achieve the fitness you desire without crashing & burning.
- Join a USMS team, even if it is only for one day a week. Some of the most successful Masters swimmers I know swim on their own most of the time, but join a team on the weekend. This is a great way to meet people, experience different workout sets, gain guidance/information on places to swim and hear about upcoming swim meets or open-water events. Fellow USMS swimmers are great resources to help you deal with training/technique issues, and often have great recommendations if you need professional expertise.
- Too easy, but sharing because it derails the best intentions - keep your pool bag packed and in the car, so you can go straight to the pool anytime you find time. How many times have you said or heard, "I went home to get my pool stuff and just couldnít get motivated to leave the house to go swim?" Donít let this keep you from the goals youíve established at the beginning of the year.
- Log all of your fitness activities. Iíve been competing as a Masters swimmer for a relatively short time and havenít consistently figured out the optimum taper before a big swim meet. Last August I started keeping a log so I could trend my training vs. performance. The USMS website has an easy application in "MY USMS" to do this called, "My Fitness Log (FLOG)." Sign up for the "My Go The Distance 2013 Program," set a swimming goal for the year, and win cool stuff as you reach your milestones. Bonus - you can enter all of your activities, not just your swimming.
- Another one that sounds too easy, but true - donít underestimate the importance of nutrition (more to come on this topic) and sleep. Swimming burns lots of calories - you can optimize your recovery with proper nutrition, fluids and sleep. Optimum recovery means youíre ready to get back in the pool more quickly, working towards those challenging goals youíve set for 2013!
- Check out "Local Programs - Places to Swim" on the USMS site, so you will have a pool/team to swim with when youíre traveling. Most pools/teams charge a nominal fee to swim for the day, but always call first before you leave town to make sure the info on the website is current. Note - Randy and I have found the pool schedules are often incorrect around the holidays.
- Know when to back off. The goal is fitness, not injury. Many Master swimmers have set backs, but many (hopefully most) find their way back in the pool. Take off if you need to and come back when you can - there is lots of support in the USMS community.