I’ve had a few good swims in the last month. Nothing record-breaking, but definitely worthy of some personal reflection. You know, take a moment to reflect on the journey, celebrate the win and ride the positive momentum. So, I took a stroll down memory lane via my training logs and came across this gem:
“Shoulder pain. couldn’t keep up. More frustrating than enjoyable” August 2019
I know I am not alone here. As many as 91% of swimmers suffer from a shoulder injury at some point in their career. How do we end up hurting and frustrated? More importantly, how do we find our way back to swimming fast with less pain?
There are many factors that go into making healthy, resilient swimmers. One of the more important factors for masters swimmers, but possibly the MOST DIFFICULT to manage, is training load progression. We are adults and we are busy adulting. Many times our training takes a backseat to pretty much everything. I can guarantee that the majority of things in the front seat are super important: kids, spouses, jobs, oil changes. So, I am not saying that you need to change your priorities, but rather, find opportunities in your daily life to keep you moving toward your fitness goals. Getting stronger and less fragile is accomplished by limiting these huge peaks and valleys in your training load. It makes sense to most people that ramping up your training load too quickly can lead to injuries, but precipitous drops in training can be just as risky. Here is where taking small steps can have the most impact, simply because those small steps keep you moving forward toward your goal. Find ways to throw in some activity every day: a few air squats at work, taking the stairs, walk your meetings, vigorous housecleaning. Committing to doing SOMETHING every day, even if it is only 20 minutes, makes crawling out of the valley a much shorter trip and lets you maximize the time when you do find yourself back in the pool or gym.