Well, all that time off to recover and relax was nice, not to mention the extra sleep and hints of junk food. However, the big day arrives for practice to start back up again and your out-of-shape, slightly (or not so slightly) heavier body, is not looking forward to it. Admit it, you miss the pool, but at the same time you’ll miss having some time on your hands and the ability to eat that chocolate cake with no regrets. Depending on how much you’ve exercised, and how healthy you’ve continued to eat over break, you may be slightly sore or possibly to the point where you feel like a dormant rock. Before the Soreness of Death kicks in, here are some tips that could help:
1. Prepare Before
The night before that first day of practice, you’ll be eager to get to the pool (I hope). You’ll toss and turn in your bed, thinking about what the first set will be and what your coach will say in his speech. Remember that you need the sleep; you might’ve forgotten how to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and you’ll be drowsy all day without a good night’s sleep. Set up a small breakfast to eat in the morning so you’ll have energy before heading out to the pool. Also, you might want to pack the night before. Swimmers say that they practically live at the pool, so you’ll probably have a lot of stuff to bring in. Make sure not to forget anything!
2. Feel During
Oh, jumping in the pool after a few weeks with being surrounded by water is (not) a great feeling. It feels like muck, or Jell-O, or another planet. Getting your feel for the water back is the most important thing on your first day back. If you start with swinging your arms all over the place and kicking like a motorboat, you’ll not only be extremely sore, but you’ll put yourself at a great risk for injury. Start with long smooth strokes and a steady kick. Although just “going through the motions” is usually frowned upon, this may be your best bet. Try stretching of small exercises to warm your body up before swimming to avoid pulling a muscle.
3. Recover After
Your first practice will cause fatigue, but you probably won’t be sore yet. DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness usually takes a day or two to fully kick in, but you can reduce the intensity of it by recovering well. Drinking chocolate milk or eating a banana right after practice can help. Use ice to reduce inflammation or take a warm shower to loosen your muscles; it’s whatever works for you. Also, rest! Sleeping is not only necessary for a good recovery, but it’ll help for the next morning. And the next morning, well, the cycle starts all over again.