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Tip of the Month - 2000

The following "Tip of the Month" columns were written by Dr. Paul Hutinger and published in the Maverick Lane Lines newsletter. Our first edition of "Tip of the Month" was in 1997.

1. Training for the Non-Competitive Swimmer

The competitive swimmer has meets as a motivation to train regularly, but what about the fitness swimmer? To establish the positive addiction to training and have meaningful goals, several programs are available. The Swim-To-Key West Challenge recognizes, rewards and encourages your regular participation in swimming, without regard to speed, and is completely non-competitive. A log is provided to record your swimming yards, in 1/4 mi. increments. You will receive a cool t-shirt when you finish 200 miles, in your pool. The February Fitness Challenge is a National event, to promote fitness by encouraging participants to swim, regularly, and to track yards or days, in one month. All participants receive an achievement certificate, and
everyone who swims every day in Feb., will receive an award. There are three National Postal events, throughout the year. You swim these events in your own pool, with a timer to record your splits. Think of them as a benefit of motivation and a challenge, to evaluate your personal skills and training, and as competition against yourself. If you wish, you could participate, without sending in your entry. In January, it's the Hour Swim. As the name implies, you swim for one
hour, at a pace that you use in your regular training. From May 15-Sept. 30, you can swim the 5K/10K in a 50 meter pool and in Sept. and Oct., 3000/6000 Yards in a 25 yard pool. As these names imply, you swim for time. You can either swim the entire distance without stopping, or
you can break it up into more user friendly distances that you can handle--100's>500's. Entry fees are required, with awards for top achievers, and t-shirts are optional. More details are available in SWIM Magazine, with some entries. Packets are available from me; no cost, but include a SASE.

2. Swim Step Test

Part of your training for good performances should include a Swim Step Test, once a week. You must train at race pace, to achieve your best performances. Write down the following Swim Step Test, increasing your rest intervals for each of the three sets, for your own training speed. Put it in a plastic bag and keep it in your swim bag. At first, use your "perceived effort" for training effort. Doing this over several weeks will give you good information on what you can tolerate. Count
your heart beat for six seconds and add a zero. This will give you your heart rate (HR) for a minute, which is an accurate measure of your effort.

1. Warm up--200-400 yds
2. 10 x 100 back (or your best stroke) with fins
a. 3 x 100 @ 2:00/ time of 1:15-HR at end of set-130-EZ 100 swim
b. 3 x 100 @ 3:00/ time of 1:10-HR at end of set-150-EZ 100 swim
c. 3 x 100 @ 4:00/ time of 1:07-HR at end of set-160-EZ 100 swim
d. 1 x 100-all out/time of 1:03-HR at end-170-----EZ 200-400 yds

This type of serious training helped me set three world short course meters backstroke records in 1995 as a 70 yr old. My 50 m back, 35.7 and 100 m back,1:21.7 record times still stand. Now, I use fins for much of my training to take the strain off my shoulders, that have been
damaged by several crashes while bike racing. Use your new log to keep a record of dates and times on your Swim Step Tests, and refer to them as you progress in your training. This will add interest and motivation in your training.

3. Osteoperosis

This silent disease causes your bones to become thin and weak, leading to broken bones. What has this to do with swimming? What has this to do with younger Masters swimmers? Exercise which puts stress on your bones reduces the risk. There is a pervasive myth that swimming isn't recommended, because it isn't weight bearing. This isn't true for Masters swimmers. Pushoffs against the pressure and resistance of water is equal to one vertical jump, especially when you push off to the flags. A 2000 yd workout could give you 80 horizontal 5 yd jumps. The force of your arms sculling and stroking, especially in sprints, is a positive force on the arms stimulating the body's mechanism for keeping bones at maximum strength. Adding some type of resistance training, such as weights, will provide extra benefits. The research on the negative aspects of swimming and bone density, used easy recreational swimming, with less effort and short pushoffs off the wall. Swimmers under 40 may be susceptible, as youth is no guarantee of protection. A healthy diet, high in calcium, in the formative years builds the formation for healthy bones. Women over 65 are at most risk, especially with a thin bony frame. Even men, compared 1 to 4 to women, are susceptible. Doctors recommend 1000-1500 mg of calcium and 400 IU of Vitamin D, good nutrition, fruits and vegetables, no smoking and alcohol limited to no more than two drinks per day. Any broken bone as an adult from a minor fall is a warning of a risk of
osteoporosis. If you are inactive, underweight, have a family history of osteoporosis, hyperthyroid, check with your doctor about a body density test. A simple x-ray is not adequate.

4. Goal Setting

Plan for the your next season, 25 yds or 25 meters, by setting goals. Do a critique of your past season to get ideas for this season. Can you improve you pace for your best event? My 100 m back at the Munich World Meet, was 44 on my 1st 50, and 46 for the 2nd 50, for a final time of
1:30. These were good splits, but I need to pick up the pace. My best time last year was 1:26.4, and one of my goals is to break the world record, of 1:24.2 for the SCM 100 back. Last year, a well-known Masters coach stated, "The referee does not have to watch the over 70 age group
backstrokers for going past the 15 yd mark underwater; they aren't capable of holding their breath that long." My challenge--to prove him wrong. Tullman, 63, plans to work on her pace for the 400 free; as with most swimmers, her 3rd 100 is too slow. Kurtzman, 74, ages up next
year, and plans to get in shape to set the 200 fly world record. Currently, he holds world records in the 200 LCM fly from 1991, and the 100 m fly from 1996. Everhart, 54, the newest Maverick, swam a 31.3 for his 50 m free at LCM Nats, and plans to drop three sec. by next year. He's also working on dropping two more sec. on his 50 back. These examples, should help trigger ideas for your personal goals, be it for the competitive season--faster times, a new stroke, improving techniques, participating in a postal event, first meet; the non-competitive season--being more consistent in workouts, improving techniques, participating in Key West swim or Feb Fitness Challenge; for everyone--swimming or timing for a postal swim, volunteering for a special project. Whatever your abilities and aspirations, I hope you find a way to expand your perspectives in life, as well as a Maverick. Let me know how I can help you reach your goals.

5. Check Off List

Before you go to practice, think about accomplishing at least one specific detail. The following list will help you get started. Add your own ideas to become more creative in your workouts. Distance per stroke--Head down, pull with long strokes, touch thigh at end of stroke. Work turns--streamline off push offs past flags. One arm stroke drills for free and back strokes.
Concentrate on your best event: example--200 IM-do a set of 4 broken IM's (4 x 50). Work on pace you need for each 50. Know your splits, especially for your best events. Keep a log book and record them to work for in practice Do extra transition turns for IM (fly to back; back to breast; etc) For the hour swim, do a set of 20 x 100's at pace. Do this several times/week until you do your swim in Jan. Mental preparation--think of your next meet and events and prepare in
practice. Think positive thoughts about your key events. Think through in your mind each stroke and turn for your favorite event. If you're a backstroker, use the flags to count your strokes to the
wall. If your pool has no flags, make a marker with a chair, etc, 15 feet from the wall. When you warm up at a meet, spend extra time working off the flags for your turns and finish, so you will be on automatic and make fewer mistakes for your race.

Workouts getting boring? Looking for new ideas? Needing suggestions on training for meets, tapering, open water swimming or stroke improvement? Tell me how many yards you swim, how often, your 50 yd. times on each stroke and daily workout yardage per week. -Coach Paul Hutinger

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