In this guest blog post, MySwimPro community member Carol Sheahan shares how MySwimPro has helped her train for triathlons and feel incredible at age 59!
Hi! I’m Carol
I have lived in the St. Louis, Missouri area my whole life. I am a wife, mom, stepmom, nana, sister, friend, Marketing Manager for Pappy’s Smokehouse stores and an independent wine consultant for Scout & Cellar clean-crafted wine. I consider myself a weekend athlete. I love to swim, bike, golf, garden, do yard work, spend time with family and friends and travel.
My Swimming Story
I swam competitively from age 4 to 18. My sister (who is 7 years older) swam and I’d go to practice every morning with her and my mom and watch. The summer I was 4, the team did not have any female 5 and under swimmers so they put me on a starting block to see what I had, and I came in 2nd out of 6! That’s when my love of swimming started.
I continued with that club until I turned 18 and also swam for my high school team. I excelled at breaststroke, butterfly and the IM. My one regret? My parents didn’t push me to swim in Amateur Athletic Union competitions when I had the chance at age 7.
I got away from organized swimming as an adult — I was busy with life, kids and other activities. When I turned 50 I started thinking about what I really missed from my childhood, and swimming and competing were at the top of the list.
In 2012 I completed my first sprint triathlon at age 51 and then had a running injury that I dealt with for several years.
In Fall 2018 I started working with a personal trainer, chiropractor and massage therapist to get my body back in shape to compete in more triathlons. My dedication paid off! In 2019 completed 2 sprint triathlons, and was injury-free. I planned to train for an Olympic distance triathlon in 2020, but COVID-19 happened and I slacked off a bit. I competed in a sprint triathlon in July 2020 and am looking for other local opportunities this fall.
I believe that swimming is one of the best activities for our bodies, especially as we age. It is something I plan to do for the rest of my life.
I believe it is important to be in the best shape you can be so you are at your strongest to fight illnesses, injuries or other challenges that arise in life. This is reflected in the way I eat, sleep and work out. My goal is to live to be 100! I get so inspired by older women and men who compete in Ironman triathlons and I know that if they can do it, so can I.
Swimming wise, I want to improve my technique, increase my distance and build my strength, flexibility and endurance. I also want to work on my open water swimming confidence and skills. I’ll need them if I’m going to do an Olympic distance triathlon in the next 12 months! Once our local pools reopen, my goal is to swim 3 times a week.
How I Use MySwimPro
Before I found MySwimPro, I wasn’t making the most of my swim training. I began using MySwimPro training plans in the summer of 2019 to motivate myself, push myself and build my strength and endurance. I received a Garmin Forerunner 945 for Christmas and absolutely love using the MySwimPro app on it.
Before the pandemic hit, I was working through some of the swimming training plans 2-3 times per week at my local rec center. Thankfully, I was able to keep training during the pandemic, thanks to the dryland training programs and challenges! I participated in a couple of the monthly workout challenges and enjoy the dryland Workout of the Day.
I also watch and learn from the videos and articles MySwimPro shares on social media. It’s great content that helps me improve my swimming!
There are so many resources I have not tapped into yet (technique videos) that I’m excited to use once pools reopen. I also want to connect with other swimmers as I have only a handful of friends that like to swim.
Getting Stronger with Dryland Training
The dryland training that I did from March to July 2020 without a doubt helped me strengthen my core, hips and legs. How do I know? I didn’t do a ton of other training for the sprint triathlon I did in July 2020 and I had a really good time – just 2.5 minutes shy of my PR set in 2012 (8 years ago!). And, 4 minutes faster than 2019. I’d call that a success. After the race, I had minimal soreness for 24-48 hours and was quickly feeling back to normal! Just think if I had seriously trained!
This is why I know MySwimPro training is top notch. I am feeling stronger at 59 than I have felt in years. I know it’s a combo of MySwimPro, eating healthy, and a positive attitude. There is another local triathlon in September I plan to sign up for and will continue my training with the help of MySwimPro!
Why I Love MySwimPro
MySwimPro has been a real motivator for me! It gave me the training structure I needed when I couldn’t swim or work out at the gym with my trainer during the beginning of the pandemic. I love the app. It’s so easy to use, and it does a great job laying out analytics and workout stats.
Plus, I feel like a real member of the MySwimPro family on social media. The MySwimPro team is attentive and engaging, and really cares about each swimmer’s success.
My Advice for Fellow Swimmers
1. Know Your WHY. Why do you swim? Pure enjoyment? Specific health and fitness goals?
Competition? Understanding this will help you set goals and structure your training.
2. Fuel Your Body. Learn what to eat and not eat before and after swimming to maximize your workouts and recovery.
3. Pace Yourself. Don’t go too hard at first. Take it easy and slowly build up your workout intensity.
4. Get the Right Gear. Research and get good equipment. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, but proper gear makes a difference. (I recently invested in TheMagic5 goggles!)
Follow Carol’s journey on Instagram at @casheahan! Download the MySwimPro app and start a free trial of ELITE COACH to unlock all of our swimming and dryland training plans, plus exclusive tips and resources.