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  #1  
Old 11-19-2008
rubyredhead rubyredhead is offline
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Default Building Back up to 3000 yds

I am not a new swimmer--I swam competitively for years as a kid, swam the 2.5k Big Shoulders event in Lake Michigan last year, and started competing in sprint triathlons this past summer. Knowing my technique needed an overall, I started working with a local coach who teaches TI methods. I am down to a smooth 16 SPL average, I feel my technique has improved tremendously. . .but I can't swim more than 150 to 200 yds without being SO winded that I simply must stop for a moment. I can still swim my 3000 yd workouts two to three times a week, but am doing it in a million short interval swims. Is this something that will simply take oodles of time to build back up, or is there a compromise I need to make on SPL to avoid becoming so anaerobic? Help! Suddenly even the 400 yd sprint distance swim looms as a long distance!
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  #2  
Old 11-19-2008
mjm mjm is offline
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Default Start slower--relax more.

Ruby: I had the same problem--breathless after 3-4 laps. Then I thought I don't start running at sprint pace. In fact, running slowly for the first 10 minutes helps me run faster later.

Just about every pool feels cold when you first get in. Resist that temptation to go fast to get warm. Instead, swim as slowly as possible for about 5-10 minutes but still swim with a rhythm, albeit slow. While swimming slowly, think about relaxing as much as possible. See if you can slow your breathing rate down, if you can slow your heart rate down. Then try to remember that relaxation and ease as you swim the rest of your workout at whatever speed is normal for you.

Low SPL (16) is great but not if your breathless. Start slower--relax more.
--mjm
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  #3  
Old 11-19-2008
Donal Donal is offline
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That's a common TI predicament. Since you are taking fewer strokes per length, you get less chances to breathe per length - and - you may be holding air inside while waiting for that next breath, which could be tiring your diaphragm. Have you looked into the H20/Breathing instructions?
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  #4  
Old 11-19-2008
Adam Adam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donal View Post
Since you are taking fewer strokes per length, you get less chances to breathe per length...
A common solution is to breathe more.

If you're used to only taking a breath every 3 or more strokes, it might help you to increase this frequency.

Also, remember that it takes the body a while to get used to your new technique. It's probable that different (untrained) muscles are used. This is quite common actually among TI students.
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  #5  
Old 11-20-2008
RobPolley RobPolley is offline
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Default Building Back Up to 3K

I went through the same thing. All the advice given is on target, and reflects my experience too.

Hang in there!

--Rob
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  #6  
Old 11-20-2008
Jamwhite Jamwhite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubyredhead View Post
I am down to a smooth 16 SPL average, I feel my technique has improved tremendously. . .but I can't swim more than 150 to 200 yds without being SO winded that I simply must stop for a moment. I can still swim my 3000 yd workouts two to three times a week, but am doing it in a million short interval swims.
There may not be enough context here, but it sounds to me like your focus is wrong. Measuring your stroke by SPL is like measuring your fitness by your weight. Many people gain weight (in muscle) before loosing it. So looking at weight as your measurement replaces cause and effect in fitness.

The same thing is true in swimming. SPL is just a general measurement of efficiency for a particular distance. If you cannot maintain it, you do not really have it for the distance you want. (When people reference SPL for the mile, they talk about the whole mile)

Edit: Here is a good quote from Extraordinary Swimming for Every Body page 21
Quote:
Is a low count always better

I've often seen swimmers who have been working on their SL, swimming with an impressively low SPL -- let's say 12 strokes for 25 meters of freestyle -- but a thoroughly inefficient style. They're actually working harder at the lower count than they would if they allowed a few more strokes, because they strain so much to do it, usually with lunging, overkicking, non-rhythmic style . It takes more effort to maintain a stroke count that's too low for your skill level.
In the Total Immersion book, Terry gives a step-by-step series for swimming the mile. You might try starting out with 10x100 yd and each week move either up in yardage or decrease your break.

Last edited by Jamwhite : 11-20-2008 at 01:35 AM. Reason: Added quote
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  #7  
Old 11-20-2008
terry terry is offline
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Default More ways to build up to 3000 yds

I suggest you also take a look at the two blogs I posted on insights gained from swimming a series of 5 x 500 on two occasions. The first time I started with 500 straight and finished with 10 x 50. The second time I started with 10 x 50 and finished with 500.
Quantifying my pace on each set and comparing the percentage gains in speed as I decreased or increased my repeat distance suggested the optimal range of repeat distances for improving my pace for a distance test...or swim.
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  #8  
Old 11-21-2008
rjsteadman rjsteadman is offline
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Funnily enough this was exactly the problem I had once I got my breathing in seamlessly, although I came from a completely non-swimming background.

I tried to bring the same thinking which I apply to running when I try to sustain pace - keeping it very calm and 'down' ('deadpan', I call it). Anyway it suddenly happened just this week that I started swimming and felt no need to stop for the whole session (40 mins), and no noticeable tiredness as a result. I couldn't even tell you what dropped out, but seems something did!

Now I'm wondering how far I could actually swim....!
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2008
samenic2 samenic2 is offline
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Like most it seems l suffer the same breathing problem and am unable to swim sufficient distance to build up a reasonable rhythm.The only way that l have been able to overcome this difficulty is to swim breaststroke every other length,and have gradually increased my distance to 5k.Now my task is to increase the number of freestyle laps !! Anybody else tried this?
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2008
rubyredhead rubyredhead is offline
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Default Improving Slowly but Surely

Thanks to everyone for their insight and encouragement; Terry, I'll read those two blogs. It was nice to have confirmation that in large part it's just a matter of time, mindful practice, and relaxing both with the technique and breathing itself. I thought so, but had started to get frustrated. I had the best swim on Saturday that I've had since I've been working on my technique, and came out of the pool quite jazzed. I've been very conscious of relaxing, and gliding, and (happily I am very in tune with my body) can really feel when I'm getting it right. I will re-read everyone's input, and continue to put it all into practice, and I suspect I will become less winded and more efficient due to the very nature of the technique. It's so amazing to have those "Eureka!" one-with-water moments. . .
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