Busselton Jetty Swim – Are you ready for it?

Busselton Jetty Western Australia

Swimming is a popular sport in Busselton in the South West of WA.

You can swim at the Geographe Leisure Center, around the net at the Busselton Jetty and participate in regular events like the Busselton Jetty Swim or as part of the Iron Man. And being in the water is such an amazing feeling.

Being a non-impact sport with a relatively low risk of injury, I can understand why so many people are loving it. Traumatic causes of injury are rare, except for the odd case of slipping while walking around the pool or missing a step near the stairs at the Jetty.

 

Busselton Jetty Swim

Even though, swimming can be relatively safe for many of us, it is not uncommon to see overuse injuries in the clinic.

The main injuries can give you:

The primary causes of an overuse injury can be:

  • Sudden increase in training intensity (distance and frequency)
  • Swimming techniques
  • Lack of variety in your swimming stroke and intensity

For many people the Busselton Jetty Swim is just around the corner. Like running, many competitive or passionate swimmers train like this:

1) Swimming more frequently,

2) For longer distances and

3) At the same intensity

And it is normal to think that way. You want to finish the race the best you can – And the more you swim the better you will be at it, right?

Don’t get me wrong, it is true you need to swim to be better at swimming (Practice makes perfect right).

As an Osteopath and swimmer, myself, I’ve seen many patients who are unfortunately experiencing recurrent swimming injuries because they return too quickly to their sport without the appropriate strategy.

First of all, it is important to have a holistic approach to your swimming injuries (if you have one) or swimming routine to prevent injury. It means that you need to look at your situation as a whole, not just focusing on one aspect of the problem or the activity.

So, how can you do that?

ADVICE NUMBER 1 : Train outside the water

Research shows that elite swimmers who train outside of the pool, may have additional benefits to their performance. One such training method is Strength Training which is also known as Resistance Training (1,2). 3 resistance training sessions per week may be enough to improve 400m freestyle (2). So, if it is beneficial for elite swimmers, it is most likely that it can help you with your swimming as well.

Gym training for Busselton Jetty Swim

What, When & How do you train

The aim of strength training is not to replicate what is done in the pool but to develop a stronger athlete who can then use their new strength when swimming. 3 of the more effective exercises for overloading the propulsive swimming muscles are the chin up, bench press and back squat (3).

It can take 6-7 weeks to reach peak performance (4). You need to progressively (weekly) add difficulty to your training. More distance, more strength, more speed (4)

You will need weights at home or at the gym to train.

ADVICE NUMBER 2 : Give yourself a recovery week:

I know this can be difficult to do because we are always trying to better ourselves or maintain our current form. But the lack of variety will inevitably affect your performance and can be the source of your injuries. Steady regular loading (distance and frequency) has also been found disadvantageous in terms of avoiding overtraining symptoms (5)

Here is why!

  • If you have been swimming 2km every two days for 3 weeks, it will be good to adopt a RECOVERY WEEK somewhere along the way. In other words, it means that you should decrease your swimming distance or frequency in that fourth week. So to clarify, it doesn’t mean that you stop swimming, but you are just decreasing the intensity of your training by changing either the speed, the distance or the frequency.

How good is that!

Swimmer Busselton Jetty Swim

Continuing to actively exercise during recovery week has the benefit of using some of the metabolic products made in your body during the intense exercise, especially lactate. In a nutshell, lactic acid is produced in your muscles and builds up during intense exercise. When you exercise, your body uses oxygen to break down glucose for energy. During intense exercise, there may not be enough oxygen available to complete the process, so a substance called lactate is made. Your body can convert this lactate to energy without using oxygen. But this lactate or lactic acid can build up in your bloodstream faster than you can burn it off. The point when lactic acid starts to build up is called the “lactate threshold.” It can lead to painful or sore muscles.

So, the elevated muscle blood flow maintained by the recovery exercise may also promote the removal of lactate and other metabolic products from the exercised muscles (6,7,8,9).

Adopting a recovery week may give you the ability to recover between your swimming events or weeks.

 

 

 

ADVICE NUMBER 3 : Don’t swim the same distance every week & don’t swim at the same speed:

Many coaches and trainers know the word “periodisation”.

What is it?

It is a training plan that targets specific areas of your physical activity. It helps your body to adapt to stress, load, volume and intensity.

The goal is to maximize your gains while also reducing your risk of injury.

To achieve a good performance or prevent yourself from injury, alternating your distance, speed, frequency and intensity are necessary.

Training Load and Fatigue Marker Associations with Injury and Illness: A Systematic Review of Longitudinal Studies

It will also help you to manage fatigue, reduce risk of over training, managing load-intensity and recovery.

How can you do it?

Here is a little example:

Week 1 – Cruising:

Swim normally at your own pace and target a specific distance (1km, 2km, 5km) without focusing on your time.

  • Swim 3 times per week.
  • Record your time each time

Week 2 – Pushing:

Now focus on pushing yourself, for example, if you have swum 1km in 20mins the week before, you now increase your pace and try to better your time.

It doesn’t need to be a world record, but you want to push yourself to gain seconds or 1 to 2 minutes from your previous time.

  • Swim 3 times per week
  • Record your time each time

Week 3 – Cruising:

Now, we are repeating the process by going further. If you have done 1km the previous week, you may want to push to 1.5 k or 1.7 k, all depends on your goals.

  • Swim 3 times per week
  • Record your time each time

Week 4 – Pushing:

Again, same process, try to push yourself and beat the time you have done the previous week.

Week 5 – RECOVER:

This is your RECOVERY WEEK. Swim shorter distance than usual. And instead of 3 swim per week, try to swim only twice for that week.

Pacing your activities is key to help you achieve your goals or recover from an injury.

ADVICE NUMBER 4 : Listen to your body.

It is great to push ourselves but the famous quote: “NO PAIN, NO GAIN” has been really messing with our minds and our ability to stop. Insufficient rest is a major risk factor in injuries (10).

So, when is too much, too much?

How do you assess if you are able to continue your training or not?

Well, we are all different and unique, and only you can answer this question.

The best answer is: “Take a break and see how you are feeling after a good few days of doing absolutely nothing.”

Your body will tell you, so learn to listen to it! You need to stop, reset, unwind and give your body a little rest.

Overuse injuries often happen when people push their body’s capacity to the maximum. And unfortunately, it happens more often than what you think, and it is where injuries occur (11,12).

When you have an injury (like muscle strain, tendinopathies, shoulder pain or neck pain), everything changes. You can lose all your swimming fitness in a matter of weeks and this can decrease the activities you love doing overtime.

There are strategies to rehabilitate swimming injuries, and Osteopaths can create a holistic sport program just for you, to assist in your recovery and help you get back to swimming as fast as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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