It’s the holiday season again and that means winter vacations, lots of great food, and time with family and friends. What it doesn’t have to mean is taking time off from your training schedule while you’re on the road.
We asked three local coaches what swimmers should do to stay in prime swimming shape if they have to head out of town during the winter break, including what to do if they don’t have access to a pool. Read their tips on training away from your home pool below.
Coach Mark Murray – Fort Belvoir Swim Team and Mount Vernon High School
“As a swimming coach, we are always trying to find unique and innovative ways to keep our swimmers in great condition at all times of the year. This can prove challenging during the major holiday seasons that we enjoy with family and friends out of town. This time of year is especially important to our athletes as many of them have just tapered for a meet in December and are looking for their next taper/shave situation come Feb./March.
A lull in training during the end of December can have a major influence on the success of the Feb/March championship season. As swimmers mature into their mid- and late- teen years conditioning plays a huge factor in their success. Do not be fooled into thinking that a week or two wont make a difference come Feb./March.
Watch what you eat! It is easy to make poor decisions as the food is typically plentiful, fatty and sugary. Stick with a solid diet, avoid the fatty, sugary foods, and do not overeat. Eat foods high in protein (turkey, chicken, fish, egg whites) and complex carbohydrates (fruits, veggies, beans, legumes). If you choose dessert and it’s high in sugar and fat, eat a SMALL portion. A great tip, if you eat some sugary foods eat them after you consume high fiber content.
Go and get in the pool. If a pool is available where you are, there is no better substitute for your sport. Have your coach write up some simple workouts for you to follow. I know its difficult to workout on your own, but think about it, you typically train 9 to 11 months out of the year, why are you going to sabotage yourself now? Do the workout and do it well.
If the pool isn’t regulation length, purchase a stretch cord and secure it to a solid object. This will allow you to swim in a somewhat stationary position without worrying about the pool being 25 yards/meters long. Also, if the pool is shorter you could really work on your turns more. A lot more.
You can supplement this workout with a good run. Make the run fun by turning it into interval training just like you would your swimming workout (8×2:20; 4×4:40; etc.) Perform your dry land exercises working your core strength. Grab your brother, sister, or cousin and throw a medicine ball around. Make up some games and have fun with it. Heck, if the weather isn’t horrible where you are go play some hoops or throw a Frisbee. If the weather is horrible go snowshoeing.
Just keep in mind skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, sledding, and tackle football all drive coaches crazy. Basically any activity where our athletes get hurt or injured! You cannot get better at swimming if you are laid up with an injury.”
Mark Murray has been a Swimming Coach for 26 years. Coach Murray has been a head/asscociate head coach with Division I and Division II universities as well as USA Swimming, high school and summer club teams. Currently Coach Murray is the head coach of Fort Belvoir Swim Team, Mount Vernon High School, and Mount Vernon Yacht Club. Murray has held positions at the University of Maryland-College Park, Salem-Teikyo University, University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University. Coach Murray has had the pleasure of working with every level of swimmer which includes novice swimmers to Olympians.
To read a sample workout from Coach Bob Walker, along with his tips, click here.
Tags: Coach's Corner