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  #1  
Old 06-24-2010
robedon robedon is offline
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Default getting out of breath, still

My swimming history: I've been swimming consistently for about 4 months, and have done the weekend TI class and and taken lessons at the local pool.

my condition: I'm 37, and I work out in the gym 5 days a week, run 3-5 miles 3 days a week, and swim (or try to) 3 days a week.

my Problem: The biggest problem I am having is that I get out of breath very quickly, even after one length. I recently started working with a triathlon coach and he said I'm out of breath because I don't have ample endurance. I agree, you can always be in better shape, but I have a hard time thinking with all the exercise I do that I am out of breath because of endurance.
For some reason I just can not get the hang of breathing in the water. I try to exhale while swimming, and as I cross the pool I feel like I have no air in my lungs. I can't tell if I'm not breathing in correctly or if I'm not fully breathing out or what I'm doing.

anyone have an exercise I can do to practice breathing?

I'm frustrated that I'm not swimming a greater distance without stopping from being winded.
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  #2  
Old 06-25-2010
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robedon View Post
My swimming history: I've been swimming consistently for about 4 months, and have done the weekend TI class and and taken lessons at the local pool.

my condition: I'm 37, and I work out in the gym 5 days a week, run 3-5 miles 3 days a week, and swim (or try to) 3 days a week.

my Problem: The biggest problem I am having is that I get out of breath very quickly, even after one length. I recently started working with a triathlon coach and he said I'm out of breath because I don't have ample endurance. I agree, you can always be in better shape, but I have a hard time thinking with all the exercise I do that I am out of breath because of endurance.
I agree.

Quote:
For some reason I just can not get the hang of breathing in the water. I try to exhale while swimming, and as I cross the pool I feel like I have no air in my lungs. I can't tell if I'm not breathing in correctly or if I'm not fully breathing out or what I'm doing.
What happens if you do overswitch instead of whole stroke swimming (i.e., roll to your sweet spot to breathe instead of taking a normal breath)? How far can you go before you start to feel out of breath?
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  #3  
Old 06-25-2010
madvet madvet is offline
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Default Relaxed breathing

Quote:
Originally Posted by robedon View Post
I try to exhale while swimming, and as I cross the pool I feel like I have no air in my lungs. .
Breathing is the most simple thing, except it is not. Yes, you could be in better shape, but not so bad that you can't complete 1 length, otherwise you wouldn't be doing triathlons.

Mastering relaxed breathing is the key to going from 10 yards to 10,000.

The more you can match your breathing to what you would be doing at a brisk walk in the open air, the better.
1) No tension in the neck shoulders and chest.
2) No forceful exhalation or inhalation. More effort than you would be doing standing still, but like I said, about what you do at a brisk walk. People who run are used to breathing harder, but it doesn't work at the slower breathing rate you are limited to while swimming.
3) Inhale when your arms aren't actively pulling -- you can't open your chest, while your back and chest muscles are working to close your chest.

If this is not working, "listen" more closely for excess tension.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2010
robedon robedon is offline
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thanks for the tips. I have a very hard time relaxing and letting things flow naturally. I'm going to trying rolling to the sweet spot to see how that does for losing breath tonight. your help is much appreciated.
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  #5  
Old 06-26-2010
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Default if ya can do 10 bobbing breaths...ya really GOT IT! DO N'T yA?

Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
Breathing is the most simple thing,
except
it is not.

Yes, you could be in better shape, but not so bad
that you can't complete 1 length,
otherwise you wouldn't be doing triathlons.

Mastering relaxed breathing
is
the key to going from 10 yards to 10,000.

The more you can match your breathing to what you would be doing at a brisk walk in the open air, the better.
1) No tension in the neck shoulders and chest.
2) No forceful exhalation or inhalation. More effort than you would be doing standing still, but like I said, about what you do at a brisk walk. People who run are used to breathing harder, but it doesn't work at the slower breathing rate you are limited to while swimming.
3) Inhale when your arms aren't actively pulling -- you can't open your chest, while your back and chest muscles are working to close your chest.

If this is not working, "listen" more closely for excess tension.
IT'S GREAT TO VERBALIZE THE ANSWER
AIN'T IT?
splash'n'pat!

Last edited by splashingpat : 07-01-2010 at 03:41 PM.
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  #6  
Old 08-31-2011
lemur lemur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
Breathing is the most simple thing, except it is not. Yes, you could be in better shape, but not so bad that you can't complete 1 length, otherwise you wouldn't be doing triathlons.

Mastering relaxed breathing is the key to going from 10 yards to 10,000.

The more you can match your breathing to what you would be doing at a brisk walk in the open air, the better.
1) No tension in the neck shoulders and chest.
2) No forceful exhalation or inhalation. More effort than you would be doing standing still, but like I said, about what you do at a brisk walk. People who run are used to breathing harder, but it doesn't work at the slower breathing rate you are limited to while swimming.
3) Inhale when your arms aren't actively pulling -- you can't open your chest, while your back and chest muscles are working to close your chest.

If this is not working, "listen" more closely for excess tension.
I love this post. Your #3 suggestion changed everything for me. This is the exact reason why I'd been prowling the different boards for hours a night over the last few weeks.

My daily swims were nightmares. I live here in San Diego and would, each day, head to Mission Bay and try to practice this and that...things I'd read the night before, etc. Always the results were the same; 50 - 75 yards and I'd be out of breath. I was really starting to wonder if I'd ever get it.

I'm a fit guy. I run (sub 3 hour marathon 2 years ago), work out in the gym, and generally lead a pretty active lifestyle. Swimming, though, was killing me. I'd look on in wonder and amazement at folks of all description who could swim for 30+ minutes, gliding along happy as can be.

...and then I read suggestion #3...

In my next swim I really paid attention to how I was breathing. I noticed that as soon as started my catch (or even a little before...when my spear arm was just slightly less than extended), I also started to breath. It was like I was trying to take a breath at just the same time that all my chest, arm, and back muscles were under maximum tension. Why I never saw this before is beyond me.

I now find myself waiting until hand is about at my shoulder and then I just follow the recovering arm back to take a breath. It works. I can't believe it. I swim easily now. Everything seems to have fallen into place. I don't have to try and take a huge inhale, I don't have to think about exhaling. I'm not forcing anything. I seem to take in just what I need and the exhalation is without thinking.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Hi there. You may have seen my thread on a similar problem. Could you describe this #3 in more detail? Are you breathing earlier or later? I tend to breath as my recovering arm leaves the water, and finish breathing as it reaches the trigger point when I start to pull.

I had exactly the same problem in that I couldn't swim more than 25-50 metres withiout becoming exhausted, yet can run sub 7 minute miles, cycle pretty fast for long periods etc. I had also had extensive coaching in TI and had got my stroke to a pretty good standard, but still no improvement in exhaustion. My solution was a number of little things, but in hindsight it seems to have boiled down to improving my breathing technique to lengthen the inhalation part (by starting earlier), which has allowed me to get away with the less frequent breaths that slower swimming gives you, and then of course benefit from the lack of exertion of slow swimming. I've dropped my pace from 25 second 25 metre lengths to 33 second lengths, and can now swim 800 metres without stopping. The level of physical exertion is similar to an extremely slow jog (6mph) a leisurely cycle (13mph) or a pilates class, which feels very odd to me, as I'm using to running at more like 9mph, cycling at 20mph and doing flat out circuit training.

Provided this is normal for swimming to be the odd one out of all my sport, I guess I've solved my problem!
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  #8  
Old 08-31-2011
lemur lemur is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobM77 View Post
Hi there. You may have seen my thread on a similar problem. Could you describe this #3 in more detail? Are you breathing earlier or later? I tend to breath as my recovering arm leaves the water, and finish breathing as it reaches the trigger point when I start to pull.

I had exactly the same problem in that I couldn't swim more than 25-50 metres withiout becoming exhausted, yet can run sub 7 minute miles, cycle pretty fast for long periods etc. I had also had extensive coaching in TI and had got my stroke to a pretty good standard, but still no improvement in exhaustion. My solution was a number of little things, but in hindsight it seems to have boiled down to improving my breathing technique to lengthen the inhalation part (by starting earlier), which has allowed me to get away with the less frequent breaths that slower swimming gives you, and then of course benefit from the lack of exertion of slow swimming. I've dropped my pace from 25 second 25 metre lengths to 33 second lengths, and can now swim 800 metres without stopping. The level of physical exertion is similar to an extremely slow jog (6mph) a leisurely cycle (13mph) or a pilates class, which feels very odd to me, as I'm using to running at more like 9mph, cycling at 20mph and doing flat out circuit training.

Provided this is normal for swimming to be the odd one out of all my sport, I guess I've solved my problem!
Rob,

Great to hear you seem to have found a solution to the problem. What I do now is breathe later and longer. Previously, I started my breath at the start of the catch and ended it just about the time my hand passed my shoulder. I now START my breath at the time my hand passes my shoulder and finish it just prior to my recovering arm entering the water.

Last edited by lemur : 08-31-2011 at 03:13 PM.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Ah, I understand now. I think our timing is completely different. I start the catch when my recovering hand (the one in the air), passes the "trigger point", which is the elbow of the spearing hand. As the recovering hand touches the water, the spearing hand bends at the elbow, and then as I spear forward with the recovering hand, the bent arm pulls back, and I simultaneously twist my body. The breathing is in sync with the recovering hand, so whenever that's the air my mouth is.

Last edited by RobM77 : 08-31-2011 at 04:25 PM.
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  #10  
Old 12-09-2011
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madvet View Post
3) Inhale when your arms aren't actively pulling -- you can't open your chest, while your back and chest muscles are working to close your chest.
Except that a) you can and b) breathing is primarily driven by the diaphragm...I think this is a red herring that just cropped up last week when someone linked to another site and wondered if the diaphragm was the answer?

The reason not to breath while pulling is that the timing is wrong. When breathing, the lead arm should still be extended, and the opposite arm in some phase of recovery...no contaction of back or chest muscles is needed adn the body should be relaxed.
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