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  #71  
Old 08-09-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from NS View Post
... Having said that, deep down we all measure our skill by looking at speed.
For me speed is in the mix but only as a function of effort. I'm looking for efficiency and, in flashes, I do find myself exerting less effort and moving more swiftly. That's my continuous improvement goal. If I watch Shinji swimming he looks EXTREMELY relaxed yet moves swiftly through the water. Speed alone is a distraction I find.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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  #72  
Old 08-10-2013
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
For me speed is in the mix but only as a function of effort. I'm looking for efficiency and, in flashes, I do find myself exerting less effort and moving more swiftly. That's my continuous improvement goal. If I watch Shinji swimming he looks EXTREMELY relaxed yet moves swiftly through the water. Speed alone is a distraction I find.
Talvi,

I agree with you .... speed alone is a distraction. At my present status, I'm working mostly on the simplicity of continuance. I feel when I can find the balance and streamlined state that Terry mentions, (this is what Shinji has), then the "darkness in the room" that Charles mentions will become less dark. And all of this will help me learn to breathe with a relaxed mindset. Using the things you and the other mentioned in this thread have helped my "continuance" already. I have managed a few 50M non stop swims, which for me is something new. Today I almost made it a 75 for the first time. (But the devil on my shoulder saying I couldn't shouted more loudly than the angle on the other shoulder shouting encouragement. The devil won that round.) The slow swimming has really aided my goal for the summer swimming - that was to complete a 50M non-stop. With 3 weeks left in the outdoor pool season, I hope to stretch that to possibly 100M. Speed won't really come into the mix for me until I feel a consistency in swimming 50's with relaxed confidence.

Learning new things can be so enjoyable at times ... (and frustrating at others).

Mike
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  #73  
Old 08-10-2013
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Mike,

just a short sentence from an other TI-fellow:

Quote:
...The slow swimming has really aided my goal for the summer swimming - that was to complete a 50M non-stop. With 3 weeks left in the outdoor pool season, I hope to stretch that to possibly 100M. Speed won't really come into the mix for me until I feel a consistency in swimming 50's with relaxed confidence.
...
Sure you're on a very good path. Far better than mine has been. When I got rid of that breathing thing some months ago, finding the slight uncomfortable click when your body switches into an aerobic state, it took nearly a year for me fearing each way to pool if that will hold, or if the months of striving to get the switch would call me back to start. There's still a lot of work to do in my breathing stroke. But this fear is spared you, and you'll have more happy laps without any unpleasent thoughts.

Go on your good way!

Best regards,
Werner
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  #74  
Old 08-10-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from NS View Post
...(But the devil on my shoulder saying I couldn't shouted more loudly than the angle on the other shoulder shouting encouragement. The devil won that round.) ...
I really know this feeling and was in a similar spot. Just 8 wks ago I was on the verge of packing it all up and started a thread here when I was at the bottom. All that really seems like a lifetime ago now. This week for instance I swam a 1,100 m lap across a 500m bay in ow on Monday, and yesterday I did a 1,225m lap. I've done more than a mile non-stop in a pool. This, fwiw, was where it all turned around for me (if you want to read more just click the blue arrow to the right of my name, It's a link to the full post in that thread):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
.... I've had a breakthrough. Yaaay ! :)

Yesterday I got in, swam 250m with no breathlessness at all, and continued to merilly swim 150-250m sets continuously for about 80 mins. That probably doesn't sound like such a big deal but it is a step-change for me. The only thing that broke it into sets was feeling my physical tiredness making my movements exponentially sloppy. But even then I only paused momentarily. It was addictive. I just HAD to start swimming again. It felt like the best way to relax and get my breath, so how weird is that !?!??! I took only one real break, early on, after about 500m total when I just sat on the bench for 3 or 4 mins, feeling a bit shell shocked and, well, trying to figure out how I felt!

What changed was a focus on ... NOT-breathing! Which may take some explanation!
..... (cont...)
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #75  
Old 08-10-2013
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Hi Werner,

There are times when we simply try too hard.... we focus so intently on one thing or another that we rob our selves of being relaxed. When that happens, I believe, we begin to "practice struggle". For a time I tried to learn the flip turn. My sinuses told me to forget that and for now, I will turn with a gentle open turn. Another good aspect of swimming slowly with a more patient action, is how much more I've gained from the nod & swim drill. I have time to look at the up at the water/air interface and enjoy the sight. On the next rotation the air is so much closer as the "instructions" with the drill points out.

Hi Talvi,

The devil & angel analogy is one I've seen used in a ski instruction video. And it does apply here as well. In most things, we build ability on what ability we have; and we build confidence from past experiences ...little at a time. So if looking down a steep slope for the first time, the devil tells us we will crash and we can't do it ... the angle points out mastering the steep slope can be done with carefully applying present knowledge. By the second or third time down the slope we have learned how to master the steep grade with relaxed grace -- enjoying (not fearing) every moment. Learning control and gaining confidence, (And giving little - if any thought to breathing.) through the process.

Thanks for the link back to your post of your breakthrough. (I think I must have missed this at the time of your posting.) It makes a lot of sense. I have read here that our breathing focus could be better placed on breathing out -- rather than on the inhale. The inhale will takes care of itself ....just as you suggest the ANS dictates.

Congratulation on your progress and breakthrough. I'm striving to gain what you have found . This morning I'll have a 90 minute swim to work on this.

Mike
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  #76  
Old 08-10-2013
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from NS View Post
It makes a lot of sense. I have read here that our breathing focus could be better placed on breathing out -- rather than on the inhale. The inhale will takes care of itself ....just as you suggest the ANS dictates.
After two months, I'd say, when it feels ok that is (and I have to breathe every second stroke as I can't get comfortable with every third stroke yet) that the out-breath is a relaxation more than a controlled trickle. It becomes just as I breathe when I run:- an in-breath almost immediately followed by an out breath, with the larger pause happening AFTER the initial out-breath.

Remember: the drive to breathe comes in response to elevation of CO2 in our blood NOT to the absence of oxygen. That's the reason we don't gasp for air when breathing carbon monoxide and why they use canaries down mines (the canaries don't notice the CO either - and die - before the miners become submerged in it).

The in-breath is also relaxed but I find that this relaxation is focused higher up, as I wrote. This was the hard bit and the ahah moment for me. It's hard because the core muscles are doing a lot of work just prior to the time they need to relax to let the breath in.

You'll get there ! (and thanks for the congrats)
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #77  
Old 08-19-2013
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Mike from NS
Default A little feedback for Charles

It's about 4 weeks since I asked for suggestions on how to bring some "continuance" into my swimming. (I missed a week's swimming - at the outdoor pool- due to a nasty cold and poor weather.) I have been managing to extend my 25 M swims to 50 fairly frequently and today I set the goal of 75M which I managed to complete. After a short rest I thought that 100M is only one more length than the 75M so I pushed off and went for it. Probably wasn't pretty and I'm sure there was some breast stroke tossed into the "mix", but the goal was to complete 100M without stopping. It is amazing how much easier 50M non stop was after that. So again, thank you to Charles, Terry and all the rest of you for your suggestions -- they have greatly helped. My goal for the summer season was to complete 100M non-stop. Done !! And with 2 weeks left before they close the pool, I have time to work on the "pretty " and consistency aspects of this. The breathing remains my greatest problem to sort out .... but that's improving too.
Mike
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  #78  
Old 08-19-2013
swim56 swim56 is offline
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Mike,

I've only been practicing TI for a couple weeks now, but had difficulty with the breathing part. I could swim a mile with my old inefficient stroke, but when I swam 3 or 4 lengths with TI, I huffed and puffed like a 105 year old 4-pack-a-day smoker (no offense to any 105 year old 4-pack-a-day smokers on the forum!).

At first I thought it was due to me breathing less per stroke, because my SPL dropped from about 22 to 14 in a 25 yd pool. That meant I went from 11 breaths per length to 7. But, in actuality, this was not my problem at all. With some great advice from a couple forum members and reading a blog on breathing, several things worked for me. I went from a few lengths at a time with a lot of recovery in-between to shooting up to a mile! Tonight I swam 1 1/3 miles with very comfortable breathing pretty much the whole time.

Here are the things that made a difference for me:
1. Swim slowly. Don't just start slower than usual. Start off as slow as you can possibly go while not needing to be rescued by a lifeguard.

2. Push through the sensation of starting to get out of breath. It takes me 15-20 lengths just to get my physiology acclimated to swimming and I start to feel like I'm running up quite an oxygen debt. I ran for many years, sometimes 40 miles/week, and the first 10 minutes of every run was getting my body warmed-up. Yes, it is a bit uncomfortable, but if you are in at least fair shape, your body will ramp up the physiological aspects to help you swim farther. Whether swimming or running, my body adapted and equipped me to go farther. It's possible that you are stopping often enough to prevent your body from fully adapting to the new load of swimming.

3. As others have said, relax as much as possible. This not only affects how often you feel you should breathe, but how much oxygen your body uses. The more relaxed, the fewer breaths you will feel that you need.

4. Breathe early. I learned this from Mat Hudson's blog posting entitled "Breathe Easy" (http://www.totalimmersion.net/blog/breathe-easy/). I learned that I was breathing too late and that contributed to my oxygen debt.

I now finish my swims feeling tired, but refreshed, instead of suffocated. I'm a 56 year old cancer survivor. If I can do it, you can too. I'm rooting for you, because I've been there/done that with the breathing stuff.

Tim
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  #79  
Old 08-19-2013
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Thanks Tim,
You made several great points - all of which are a lot of help.
Reading Matt Hudson's blog, I'm convinced that I'm breathing late. When I can repair this, I expect significant improvement. I have no trouble swimming very slowly and this has helped me discover several new sensations. It has also helped learning to relax more. Yesterday I think I may have experienced "pushing through" the uncomfortable period. The following 50 seemed so much easier. Also, I agree that I likely haven't adapted my body for the new load of swimming. I let the simplest things cause disruptions and this leads to stopping too often. One of my focus points yesterday was to concentrate on the exhale more than the inhale. I also tried imaging Charles' waltz with the quick bite of air. I think these things helped somewhat. I feel certain that "breathing early" may be the magic bullet that will bring it all together.

I fully understand the feeling of the 105 year old you describe ... and that's before "pushing through" ! I'm 60, never smoked and started swimming at 54 - never having swam as a kid. I skate and ski (and there we use weight shift too) so I'm in OK shape - certainly no athlete.

Your reply is much appreciated!
Mike
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  #80  
Old 08-19-2013
swim56 swim56 is offline
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Mike - I look forward to hearing that you've solved the breathing issue and you are now planning to swim around Manhatten with Terry! (I do believe that guy was a marine mammal in a former life.......). :-)

Tim
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