At some point in your swimming career, you might find yourself out of the water and on a long break from swimming. Maybe you’re recovering from an injury, are just getting back into swimming after giving birth, or were too busy for one reason or another to spend time lapping the pool. Whatever your reason for taking time off from swimming, all that matters now is that you’re looking to get back into the sport you enjoy.
Getting back into swimming after some time off can seem daunting. You might have some concerns about your performance or how you’ll feel after a swim session. It’s all completely natural.
Today, we want to give you five tips to follow that will help you out as you’re getting back into swimming. After that, we will cover a few good lifestyle practices that you can use outside of the pool to increase your fitness levels in between swim practices. So get your swim bag ready and warm up those muscles; the water is waiting!
You’re returning to the swimming pool after a long period of inactivity, and now you are wondering what your approach should be. Will your level of swim fitness keep up with the training program that you have in mind? What happens if you are unable to complete your first workout?
Even with your mind full of questions like these, it is important to listen to your body, focus on perfecting your technique, work on developing a positive mental state, and become comfortable with the idea of adapting your training as needed.
What matters now is that you are resolute and determined to get back into swimming. Now let’s go over some tips to help you on your journey back.
Set realistic expectations for your body when you are first getting back into swimming. It can be easy to forget how many hours of training and long yardage it took you to get into the shape you were once in. Remember to warm up properly, listen to your body during your swim sets, and have a good cool down and post-workout mobility session.
Warm up for at least 10-15 minutes before you get in the water. Perform dynamic stretches that loosen out your shoulders and neck. Don’t forget to stretch out your legs as well. The more limber you are going into your first swim set back, the better off you’ll be.
During your swim set, pay attention to what your body tells you. If you experience any abnormal pain, it might be time to take it easier or call it a day. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and prolong your time out of the water.
It is also a good idea to monitor your heart rate when getting back into swimming. Your heart rate should not exceed a certain number depending on your health and age. According to Healthline, you can find this number by subtracting your age from 220. Keep an eye on the recovery phase of your heart as well, which should return to its regular beats per minute a few minutes after completing the exercise.
Cool down in the water for 200 meters of easy swim. Stretch out your arms as you swim and swim double-arm backstroke for some of the laps to keep your shoulders loose. After the pool, perform some static stretching for your whole body.
One of the more challenging obstacles to overcome when returning to the pool is remembering the feeling of how fast you were before your break versus how slow you might feel during your first workout after getting back into swimming. While this can feel somewhat discouraging, there is a silver lining. You can use the time it will take you to get back into swimming shape to focus on your form and body position.
Restarting your training routine gives you a clean slate to work from. Whether you swim freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, or butterfly, now is the best time to hone your form. Your cardio will not be what it was when you were at peak performance before your swimming hiatus, and the best place to recapture some of that speed you’re looking for is in your swim technique.
It is highly beneficial to focus your mind on your progress instead of constantly comparing yourself to where you once were. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed about being set back due to your time out of the water, remember this: If you were in great shape at one point, you can get there again.
Before you head out to the pool for a training session, remember all the reasons you fell in love with the sport to begin with. Remember how you felt after completing a challenging set, and look forward to the challenge of getting back into the shape you were in before. Observing your progress from one swim workout to the next is a great way to see how well you are performing and will boost your mental state.
There might be times when you find it hard to finish a swim set that you were once able to complete with ease. This is a natural part of the process when you are getting back into swimming.
Just because you can’t make the time intervals you were once able to or you can’t swim for as much distance doesn’t mean you should give up and head home. Instead, make adjustments during your workout to make the main set more achievable. This way, you will feel accomplished after completing full sets and start to get back into the groove of swim training.
The most important thing you can do to get back into swimming shape is to keep a consistent schedule for your training plan. If you practice the four steps above, you should avoid injury, improve your form, and keep a good state of mind for your training. All these tips in combination will allow you to keep a consistent schedule so you can see improvement with each training session you attend.
Your actions out of the pool will help you in your pursuit of getting back into swimming. Whether you are a competitive swimmer training for a big swim meet, a recreational swimmer in it for exercise, or a triathlete preparing for your next triathlon, you can benefit from taking care of your body during your time out of the water.
Fueling your body, getting enough sleep, and training out of the pool are all important to getting the most out of your body during your swim training sessions. Let’s look at how you can optimize these aspects of your life outside of the pool so getting back into swimming is a smooth process.
Eating well is essential to maintain peak athletic performance. It is a good idea to think about what to eat before you start training so your body is prepared and ready to work hard.If you fuel your body correctly, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day, including during your swim training.
Proper nourishment means that you should lay off highly processed foods that are high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Instead, opt for high-protein foods and foods with complex carbohydrates to fuel your body.
Staying hydrated is another essential for anyone who leads an active lifestyle. Drinking enough water will help you to avoid muscle fatigue and cramping while training.
Sleep is an important time for the mind and body to recover. Having a regular sleep schedule and sleeping between seven and nine hours will replenish your energy stores and allow your body tissues to repair themselves after exercise. Plus, the right amount of sleep boosts your immune system, keeping you healthy so you don’t miss out on any swimming sessions.
Try keeping track of your sleep schedule so you can work toward creating a regular sleep routine. That way you can reap all the rewards of a good night’s sleep while you are getting back into swimming.
Dryland training can improve your flexibility and strength even when you don’t have the time to hop in the water for a swim. Bodyweight exercises paired with a regular stretching routine can increase your swimming performance and are great ways to fill the time between swim workouts.
Exercises like squats, pushups, pullups, and situps are a great way to keep your entire body healthy and ready to go for your next swim session. A static stretching routine or yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility and reduce your likelihood of injury related to muscle strains.
Regardless of why you had to spend time out of the water, the important thing is that you want to get back into swimming. On your first day back at your local pool, remember to listen to your body and focus on your form to increase your speed. Keep a positive mental state by concentrating on your gradual improvement and maintaining a consistent practice schedule.
Also, cultivate a healthy lifestyle out of the water, and you’ll find getting back into swimming isn’t that hard after all.