Breathing Patterns for Open Water
I've been training mostly open water in preparation for a 10-mile swim next month, and have been experimenting with breathing patterns to help with pacing. My more comfortable breathing side is to the right, but I can breathe pretty well to either side.
So, here's what's been working for me:
1) breathe every 2nd stroke to the right for 8 strokes (4 breaths), then switch sides to breathe to the left for 8 strokes (4 breaths). For the transition from side to side, I breathe once to each side (2 breaths in a row). This pattern seems to work well, encourages a longer stroke and slower tempo. Very sustainable.
2) breathe every 2nd stroke for 6 strokes (3 breaths), then switch sides by taking three strokes before breathing to the other side. Repeat. Seems to give a slightly faster tempo.
3) Alternate breathing every 3rd stroke and then every second stroke (so you end up taking two breaths to one side, then two breaths to the other). This gives me the fastest tempo of the patterns, and more symmetry and (perhaps) less rotation--which is good in my case, I think.
I've mostly been switching up between pattern #1 and pattern #3. Today I did about 2.5 miles--the second half I did much more of pattern #3, and got a negative split by over two minutes. So it seems like pattern #3 is faster for me. I'll probably alternate the two on race day, with a "race" pattern followed by periods of a "rest" pattern.
Anyone here done similar experiments with open water breathing patterns? Any ideas for me to try out?