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  #1  
Old 09-16-2011
russparker22 russparker22 is offline
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russparker22
Default Sooooooo Frustrated with this Breathing

I've been trying and trying and trying to be able to swim more 25 to 30 yards without completely being out of breath and having a pulse of 175. I've tried many suggestions found on this forum and still no improvement. When I breathe, it doesn't really feel like I get O2. As soon as I take the next stroke, I need to breathe again, and I get less O2 than on the previous breath. By the end of the lane, I'm spent. What the Heck? I've tried weightless head, nods, exhaling continuously underwater, etc. etc. I keep waiting for that Eureka moment, and waiting, and waiting.

Is there anyone that just couldn't do freestyle or the TI version? Maybe there's another form that would get me over the hump?

Please help!

Ps. Can run and bike for miles and miles and never feel completely out breath like I do swimming. Apparently, I'm practicing struggling!
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2011
tab tab is offline
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How many months or years have you been a swimmer? Not that this question is the answer, but it is a start.
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  #3  
Old 09-16-2011
collinsdc collinsdc is offline
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Default Hang on in there..

Hi there, I can identify with all of your problem because I have been there until recently & to a certain degree I am still not over that "hump" yet. As you have probably noticed from these forums so have many others so you are not alone.

Yes it is frustrating, certainly there are times when you feel like throwing in the towel. Pool visit after pool visit goes by & each time you believe that today will be THE day when relaxed rhytmic breathing just happens... but it does not.

You do not mention how long you have been swimming or at Total Immersion. For what its worth I have been doing TI for over 20 months & it is only now that breathing is becoming easier. Personally, gains dont come easy to me but little by little, pool visit by pool visit it is happening & it WILL happen for you too if you stick at it, patience is the key & unfortunately relaxed breathing is something we all have to figure out by ourselves.

I found that my biggest obstacle to breathing was balance. Once I was free of tension & completely relaxed in the water then breathing became easier. When it all goes wrong- STOP. Question what you are doing, go back to basics & think logically about it.
Give yourself a day off in the pool now & again by just spending a whole session doing one or two drills only. I often do this & find Superman Glide & Skating drills really help you to hone in on your sense of relaxation & balance.

I am nowhere near calling myself a swimmer, 75m non stop is my threshold at the moment, but I have decided to train for a sprint triathlon next year, it will be my first ever. Just like you, bike & run are a breeze, what puts the fear of God in me is the 750m swim amongst others in OW. So why consider doing it? Well because It gives me a cause to get my freestyle breathing sorted. I tell myself I can do it & I whats more I will. This & the success stories encountered on the forums is what keeps me determined.

So dont let the frustration of breathing get to you, keep at it, practice & take each day as it comes, most of all enjoy it. It might not happen in a day but as the weeks go by it will get easier, stick with it.

Denis
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Old 09-16-2011
Scotty Scotty is offline
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Russ:

If you review the Forum archives the longest and most passionate threads are based on breathing. Though it may not make you feel better, you are one of many that share this hurdle.

You mentioned that you have tried many of the Forum suggestions without any success. One approach you did not identify is to slow your stroke way down. How slow? Slow enough that you can exhale in a very relaxed way and have just a small amount of air left as you turn to breathe.

When I first started TI, I was breathing in so much air that I could not possibly exhale everything prior to the next head turn. The solution of exhaling more rigorously didn't work, it only initiated the process of hyperventilation. However, if I took in about 80 percent of maximum, it became easier to exhale more efficiently .

That relaxed continuous breathing (either inhaling or exhaling during the stroke) helped get me from 50 yards without stopping to 150 yards, but that did not happen overnight. Instead my progress was agonizingly slow, conquering 25 yards at a time.

Inevitably my obstacle to quicker improvement was allowing my focus to wane, and breaking the efficient breathing rhythm. Breathing is still not second nature to me. In my warm-ups, my only focal point is exhaling easy, turning my head minimally, and getting adequate but no maximum breath. I try to block out every other aspect of the stroke.

Every day I wish I had the capability to "get it" and report the astounding progress that others have written about once they capture the correct breathing technique. (Example: "After piddling around with a 25 yard maximum distance in the morning, I swam the English Channel that afternoon and felt enough energy to do the return trip.")

But I am content to increase distance 25 yards every two months and allow my confidence to grow as I look back on the progress I've made.

Best of luck, and remember that improving in small increments and maintaining that improvement is something to be proud of.

Scotty
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  #5  
Old 09-16-2011
russparker22 russparker22 is offline
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I'm new to the whole swimming thing and TI. Been at it about 8 weeks. Scotty, I will try what you're saying and see. It just sounds so easy on the DVD and the books and yet I struggle again and again. I know Terry says to not practice struggle, but it's hard not to when you think you got the skate or underskate or whatever going fairly well, but when you incorporate a breath...everything goes to hell in a handbasket. I feel like I have a mental or physical handicap that just won't let me do it! Ha. Oh well, I'll keep at for a while. Any more advice?
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  #6  
Old 09-16-2011
borate borate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russparker22 View Post
I've been trying and trying and trying to be able to swim more 25 to 30 yards without completely being out of breath and having a pulse of 175. I've tried many suggestions found on this forum and still no improvement.
Breathing 'underwater' isn't a natural human activity and it will take patience to outwit that limitation.

Echoing other thoughts in the forum, I suggest, just as recovery begins, that you take a quick, reasonably normal breath - not a gasp. As you turn to the water, begin a gentle exhale, through nose and/or mouth, until you feel the need to breathe again. Don't attempt to forcefully exhale every last ounce.

Swimming slowly, establish a pattern that feels comfortable. Perhaps one breath per cycle. Later, as you become more relaxed, aim for every three stokes, or alternate-side breathing.
Feel the need for more air? Just take an extra breath or two, then resume your pattern.

When you breathe, try not to lift your head. To expose your mouth, use mainly body roll, and a slight twist of the head. Look to the side or slightly rearward.
As recovery completes, the body is flattening and rolling to the other side, while the head faces the pool bottom.

Last edited by borate : 09-16-2011 at 05:35 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-16-2011
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russparker22 View Post
When I breathe, it doesn't really feel like I get O2. As soon as I take the next stroke, I need to breathe again, and I get less O2 than on the previous breath.
1) Have you completely exhaled when you go to take a breath? You're not going to be able to take O2 into your lungs if they're already full of air.

2) Are you having trouble keeping your mouth above the water line long enough to get air? I once had a student who was pushing himself up every time he tried to take a breath, but he couldn't push himself up long enough to get a full breath, and when he couldn't hold himself up anymore he'd drop (like a released pendulum) below the surface. The solution to this is usually a combination of rolling a bit farther and also adjusting your head position. Take a look at this article by Terry on breathing and look particularly at his head position in the photographs:

http://archive.totalimmersion.net/20...breathing.html

3) Another thing to consider is how hard you're kicking. I once had a student who was getting out of breath very quickly, and the reason was that he was kicking so hard he was wearing himself out. When he relaxed his kick and relied instead on balance, streamlining, and core body propulsion, his problem went away.

4) If you do get tired, remember that you can always roll onto your back, even in open water, and rest a bit before proceeding.

Hope this helps!


Bob
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  #8  
Old 09-16-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Can you post a video of your swimming/struggling? If you can get someone to even shoot some video from above the water (just hand them your phone), include some basic drills like superman glide, skating, a few strokes without breathing, and then your "normal" swimming.

We can give you lots of ideas then.
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  #9  
Old 09-16-2011
russparker22 russparker22 is offline
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Default Update

First of all, thanks for all the input from everyone. There's no TI coach in my area, so this is the next best thing, maybe even better.

Went and swam during my lunch. I was determined to do more than 50 Yds. Just as before, my heart rate quickly shot up and I was winded, even though I was trying to go very slow. So, I decided to roll to sweet spot every time I needed a breath and swam around 300 yds without stopping. (I actually lost count.)

I noticed I have very "active" legs and tried to quiet them down. I really can't do this toe flick stuff, at least not yet. Having my legs more "together" seemed to help with balance too. Am I on the right track here? I also have very inflexible feet from running I suppose.

I also tried to "roll" my core more and really rotate it as spear forward. Terry says to do this with your high hip but it seems like I need to rotate the hips with my torso to accomplish the forward propulsion. I hope that makes sense. Advice?

One other thing I noticed is that my lead hand was really pushing downward as I roll to breathe. So I focused on trying to keep it on its track or at least more in in front of me.

Happy to have comments or suggestions. Russell
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  #10  
Old 09-16-2011
russparker22 russparker22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Can you post a video of your swimming/struggling? If you can get someone to even shoot some video from above the water (just hand them your phone), include some basic drills like superman glide, skating, a few strokes without breathing, and then your "normal" swimming.

We can give you lots of ideas then.
Will try. I'm afraid of what I might see!
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