Postpartum Triathlete: Getting Your Swim Back

Five months after having my baby, I’m finally feeling like I can swim again! I wanted to share what I did to get back into swimming after taking some time off.

Postpartum Triathlete: Getting Your Swim Back

This is the 1st article in a series I am writing for triathletes who have been out of the sport for whatever reason and working toward coming back.

In case you missed the other ones, here they are…

Whether it is intentional (off-season, break, hate swimming) or unintentional (injury, illness, surgery, life change), it’s tough to get back in the pool when you’ve been out for a while.

I wanted to share the steps I took in hopes that it may help somebody else who is struggling to get back in swimming shape after being out of the pool for a while.

I want to start by saying when I found out I was pregnant, I was in really good shape. As in Kona Ironman shape. I took a break from swimming after the Ironman because I got 3 new tattoos. Before I had a chance to get back in the water, I found out I was pregnant. I always heard that swimming was the best thing to do while you’re pregnant.

When I was a personal trainer my clients who were pregnant loved being in the water. They said it took the weight off their joints and their back and they loved to feel light, cool, etc.

I swam a little at the beginning of my pregnancy, but by the time my belly started getting bigger, it was actually really uncomfortable for me to swim. I continued to swimming just to keep swimming, but it was typically 1 to 2 times a week 15 to 30 minutes at a time, at a very leisurely pace, and using all the equipment I could find!!

After Coura was born, I was antsy to get back into the pool, but had to wait 6 weeks for everything to heal. Once I was cleared to get into the pool, I jumped right in, only to discover that even 100 yards at a moderate pace got my heart rate up and my arms and legs felt uncoordinated and weak. I was also having a lot of shoulder pain from the way I was holding my baby when I breastfed her, so that flared up almost immediately after trying to swim freestyle.

Here is how I progressed…

Month 1: I swam 1-2 times a week for about 20 minutes using ALL my equipment (other than paddles). A typical swim looked like this:

  • 200 streamline kick on back w fins
  • 100 backstroke w fins
  • 200 kick on side with fins
  • 200 breastroke kick w board
  • 4×50 scull/swim w buoy and snorkel
  • 100 breastroke

Month 2: I swam 1-2 times a week for about 40 minutes still using lots of equipment, still not using paddles, only because my shoulder was still super sore after a swim. A typical swim looked like this:

  • 400 swim with fins, kick on back every 4th 25
  • 8×50 kick w board free/breast
  • 4×100 w buoy and snorkel 25 scull/75 swim
  • 3×75 kick/drill/swim IM order
  • 200 dolphin kick on back w fins
  • 200 breastroke

Month 3: I swam 2-3 times a week and tried to get an hour in for one of the swims. I started doing part of my set on an interval, and added back paddles. A typical swim looked like this:

  • 4×100 swim/kick w fins
  • 4×100 kick/drill w fins IM order
  • 8×50 kick w board free/breast on 1:10
  • 3×100 pull right paddle/left paddle/both paddles
  • 200 breast
  • 4×100 free on 1:45
  • 4×50 IM/free on 1:00
  • 200 breast
  • 300 dolphin kick w fins on back

Month 4: Sometimes I get in 3 swims a week, but usually still only 2. Swam my longest swim of the year this month at 3,600 yards. Here is what it looked like:

  • 8×100 w fins swim/kick by 100
  • 8×50 kick w board on 1:10
  • 8×50 swim w paddles on :50
  • 4×75 k/d/s IM order
  • 200 breast
  • 6×100 free on 1:40
  • 100 breast
  • 6×50 fast free/easy breast on 1:00
  • 200 IM easy
  • 300 back w fins
  • 100 breast

Over the weeks I am slowly adding a little distance (usually only 200 to my longest swim every 2 weeks) and a little speed (timing one more set each month). If something isn’t fun or hurts, I stop. There is no reason to hurt myself or get sick of swimming this early in my season.

If you are newer to swimming, I would also focus the majority of your workout on drills!

If you want a list of great drills (and lots of already written out workouts), join our facebook group here…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/IHeartSwimming

If you want a swim workout a day emailed to you for 30 days, click here…

www.FoodFitnessFinanceFun.com/dailyswim

If you want 10 great workouts for endurance training, go here…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/281141398/10-awesome-swim-workouts-for-long

And remember…Just Keep Swimming!

See you soon!

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