Main Set Tuesday – February 22, 2011

Wow… injury prevention time!

Yeah, my right shoulder REALLY was hurting this morning, and as it turns out, listening to your body is extremely important.  It’s also very important that when things start to feel wrong, you don’t worry nearly as much about performance as you do with figuring out what you’re doing that hurts.

My shoulder started hurting yesterday and I figured it was just a little something… so I made it through the practice and ended up swimming fast at the end.  However, this morning, when I hopped in, there was almost NO strength as I pulled through with my left arm.  It really hurt as I swam.  Rather than stopping, I was really trying to allow the arm to just pull through so I could figure out where the pain was initiated.

After about 800 meters, things started to feel a bit better, but still not great.  I did what most people would say is the worst thing… I put on a pull-buoy and a pair of paddles.  While I don’t recommend this for everyone, 40+ years of experience is a good thing to have at this point.  With the increased surface area, and the knowledge of how to apply force, I actualy realized that a lot of the pain was oriented in my recovery… NOT the pull.  So I switched to a more open, straight arm recovery for a few hundred and I started to feel much better.  At that point, I was able to take off the paddles and start swimming again.  With that said, it’s also a good thing the swimmers I’m training with are resting for a big meet, so the sets were easy. 🙂

Main Set (long course meters):
• 12 x 50’s on 1:00 – Descend odds from 1-6.  Rather than descending (because of my shouder, I swam a steady breaststroke which allowed me to work on my stroke.  Felt pretty good actually)
• 400 smooth – Another opportunity to work on my freestyle without the pressure of performance
• 2 x 200’s on 3:15 – Alternate free / stroke and keep it long and smooth.  Free / breast… perfect time for this.
• 4 x 50 on 1:00 – odds FAST breakout, evens FAST finish (me… smooth breaststroke on all)

Moral of the story.  If you’re in pain, you have two choices.  1) Get out and rest it.  While this is sometimes the best solution, I opted for #2.  2) Continue swimming easily, experimenting with variations of your stroke to see if you can continue without pain.  Many swimmers don’t have this luxury of not actually needing to swim fast, so great communication with your coach, and developing the relationship with your coach to the point they understand when you say you’re hurting, you’re really hurting.

Finally, identify the difference between good pain, and bad pain.  This isn’t always easy, but the sooner you can identify this, the better you’ll be in the long run.

I’m just glad Wednesday is my day off.  🙂