"Hitting the Wall"

I recently returned to masters swimming in June of this year, after more than a decade lay-off.  I just turned 73, am 5ft. 5 in. tall and weigh 120 pounds (female).  My club swims in an outdoor pool early in the morning, beginning at 5:30 am, when the water in the fall/winter is around 78-79 degrees.  I have noticed since the weather turned cooler that I can swim around 2500 yards, and then all of a sudden I start shivering, and even if I try to keep swimming, I can't warm back up.  All the shivering leaves me tired and sluggish after this relatively short workout.  I try to maintain a healthy diet, mostly vegetarian and am wondering if I need to try to gain weight, start protein drinks, hit the weights hard,  etc.  I would appreciate some feedback on this.  I need to do something so I can make it through the winter in the pool as well as increase my yardage.  Thanks!

  • I am 60, and even though I love swimming in cooler water, I have noticed that as I have gotten older, the same thing you are describing has happened to me.  When I have talked about this with other swimmers, they have said the same thing.  As we get into our 60's and older, we become more sensitive to cooler air and water; so, just know you are not alone, and it's perfectly normal!  

    My suggestions:

    1.  Even when you are "resting" at the wall, keep your limbs moving!

    2.  Wear a silicone cap.  If you already do, wear a second cap.  Keeping your head warm will help!

    3.  Train in a knee-length suit, or purchase some jammers or longer bicycle shorts to wear under your suit.  

    4.  If you are unable to eat solid food before your workouts, drink a protein drink, which will also have the carbs you need to provide your body with fuel.  

    5.  Your weight for your height sounds fine, so unless your doctor suggests you gain wait, I wouldn't go that route.  

    6.  A healthy, mostly vegetarian diet is great-- as long as you are getting enough protein!  Make sure to eat plenty of beans, legumes, nuts, and high-protein grains (like farro, brown rice, etc.) to get enough protein.

    Forumites, do you have any other suggestions to add to the list?

    Good luck!

  • These are all excellent suggestions.  Thank you for responding. My next workout is in the morning, so I'm going out this afternoon to purchase protein powder for starters and then will implement your other ideas!  Thanks again!

  • There are some quite good vegan/vegetarian protein drink options - I am not a vegetarian but dairy is hard on my stomach.  Try OWYN and Vega.  Pea protein is the base - I like Vega a bit better personally.  

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