Imagine, you are in your big meeting, but you feel sore… what do you do? Or, you have a long meeting, with many events and you feel sluggish, is there anything to do? These are common issues for swimmers, fortunately there are methods to reduce pain or speed recovery during long meets. I will never forget driving to a long swim meet, I would have trouble sleeping, lying in bed waiting for my best times.
Unfortunately, this extreme focus probably hurt my performance. It doesn’t matter if you’re worried or stressed before the big meet, there are methods to improve your performance and speed up your recovery.
What is recovery?
Recovery can be loosely defined as the rate at which fatigue caused by a previous Lifeguard course near me session or competition is dissipated, relative to the magnitude of that fatigue. However, this definition is problematic, as fatigue is also difficult to identify and measure accurately.
What is Fatigue?
In general, researchers have suggested that fatigue is either central in origin (i.e., the central nervous system inhibits effort, perhaps as a safety mechanism to prevent excessive muscle damage) or peripheral in origin (i.e., either through chemical changes, either as a result of local tissue damage or otherwise).
Know the preparation
Heading into a meet, there are a few things a swimmer can do to prepare for elite performance.
Diet – Balanced diet, don’t change anything. Very often swimmers will carb load, but research does not support this concept. In fact, consuming extra carbohydrates can lead to increased body weight (from reduced bouts of exercise during taper), reducing swimming speed.
Sleep – as much as possible. A caveat, having a continuous sleep model leading up to the encounter is best, as changing anything causes an adjustment period. Unfortunately, many swimmers (athletes and the general population) do not get enough sleep. This lack of sleep reduces performance and increases the risk of injury.
Mental Preparation – Visualization and glorification. I’ve talked in depth about these two items, so I’ll keep it short. If you want to prepare mentally, you need to mentally test your training and give a positive picture of your performance.
Visualization: Mental Rehearsal of the Tribe.
Softness: Repeated positive saying.
Muscular – light stretching and auto-musculoskeletal releases (SMR). If it feels painful, ~30 seconds of light stretching and easy self-soft tissue or massage can reduce the sensations of pain.
Electrical stimulation – Light electrical stimulation can reduce pain. The leg is caused by the long dynamic range (WDR) circuits. WDR cells interpret pain and sensation. So if someone is in pain or suffering, providing sensation can reduce the amount of pain, theoretically overloading the WDR.
In a meet, swimmers can also do activities to speed up recovery to enhance subsequent events.
Quite heating – Individual amount, ~ 1,000 – 2,000 per event. If you’re not warming up or following a program that discourages easy swimming, light vigorous activity can also speed recovery, such as walking.
In-session Nutrition – Easily digestible, protein and carbohydrates. Electrolyte drinks may be beneficial. Make sure you’re eating what you’re used to, the last thing you want is some gut discomfort at a long meeting.
Inside Meet Nutrition – Normal nutrition, nothing different! Once again, stick with your diet plan, changing things at this point is not beneficial.
Enjoy, but stay away from poor bleachers or unhealthy seating that can cause pain!
Inside Meet Recovery – Compression stockings, light stretching, SMR / massage and cold / contrast bath (10 – 15 minutes). All of these elements have been suggested to improve pain recovery and perception. Use these at your own discretion and find which composition is best for you!
Nap – As much as possible, NAPs are individualized, ideally 30 – 60 minutes. However, stick with what you do on a regular basis. Personalize yourself and find the best fit!