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  #41  
Old 06-03-2016
descending descending is offline
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Originally Posted by sclim View Post
Oh, descending, I forgot to ask, what is the rationale of the directive "never breathe bilaterally"? Is it always slower to do so when you're sprinting?
For his interests with endurance based open water swimming I would have to believe it's the same rationale as pool based. It's an aerobic sport if you are pushing yourself and oxygen exchange is a good thing. Measure your respiration rate walking down the sidewalk today at an easy effort and take note. Now divide your stroke rate by 3 and see what number you come up with. Does it scan? I am sitting at the airport waiting on a flight at 21 breaths per minute typing on a computer. With most of the stroke rates I read about in here I wouldn't even be getting typing air exchange at bilateral. I need at least 63 SPM to get 21 breaths per minute with bilateral. Now it just so happens that I race around low 70's so in theory that could fit in if I wanted to stay at sitting typing exertion levels, but I do not I work harder than that. Alas even for my 2.4 mile IM relay swim I was around low 60's probably, but I breathed same side every stroke so about 30-ish breaths per minute. Go figure that is what I need at a solid run pace ~ 32!

The only way you will know is if you allow yourself to sip some more air and if you feel better and your workload potential goes up it's pretty safe to say your body wanted more O2. I'm not saying I don't hurt still I do, but the net result is I can do a lot more work at 30+ breaths per minute as opposed to 20 or so. 20 is warm up pace and I often do a little bilat warming up, but by the time the warm up set is on I'm unilateral.
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  #42  
Old 06-03-2016
descending descending is offline
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I've been following this back and forth with some interest. Obviously I have learned a lot from Stuart, not the least being (last week) that my long-standing catch problem was really a lack of adequate core rotation, and the catch fixed itself once I fixed the core rotation deficit.

But desc has some good points; I wonder all the time how much they apply to me, and should I be doing more anaerobic sets, or more rapid cadence practice and ignore my already high SPL and just allow it to get even higher. I am an adult onset swimmer who, despite all my efforts and regular practice am amazingly slow considering the time and concentration I have put in. I know I have a high cardio-reparatory capacity for my age, and I know I have good upper body strength, and sometimes it seems like a mystery why it's taking so long. But I have utter respect for the very specific skills and particular strengths that swimming demands, and I have to allow some time for them to be developed -- fortunately I think it's finally starting to come to me.

I have resisted the knee jerk idea of "just pull harder" that seemed so attractive 2 years ago. In retrospect that was a good idea resolutely not to imprint struggle, because I think the improvements of the last few weeks would not have been possible had I not carefully avoided continuing whenever I was slipping out of whatever good technique level I had come to be capable of. As a result, now I'm increasingly able to hold on to reasonable form despite some fatigue stress from longer distance repeats. Consequently, I think I can start to go a little more in the direction that desc suggests in terms of intensity, but only because and as long as my technique holds up reasonably.

As Stuart has alluded to, being able to train fast is as important as being able to train less fast but with insight as to how long your pace will let you go for. Also some insight as to being able to independently parse your stroke rate and stroke distance can be very valuable. Keep in mind that both of you recognise that the end goal is the same -- to end up with the capability to complete the given event in the shortest amount of time. For myself, although I'm training for an event where I will do 1.9k or 3.8k in the water and the race is only 1/8th over, I do see the merit in sometimes training (swimming) at faster paces than I will be racing at, strictly to put on strength (the rationale being that having developed the strength to do the prescribed distance at quite a fast pace, I can back off a little in a tri race, and finish the swim leg in a faster time than I would have been able to had I not practiced intense swim sets, but still with lots of gas left in the tank for the rest of the race.).
Hi sclim. I think Stuart and I are on the same page a lot more than I thought we were. Probably still off a bit on things like bilateral, kick pattern, 'symmetry' etc. One thing I totally agree on 'pulling harder' is a waste. Anchor that arm, lock on to the water and leverage your body over that point. Arm yankers always tire out and it's crazy inefficient. Don't ever lose that anchor and leap over that point. If your arms are tired chances are great you are not on the right track. If your core is tired you are probably on the right path.

As fas as great cardiovascular potential. I can't say what's best for you that is a personal choice. It's not a fun thing for a lot of people to have their lungs searing, but I'm just into that kind of thing the buzz I get is almost as good as a Heineken and pizza after Monday night swim practice. Almost;) I would never suggest substituting slipping on the water to add stroke rate if it's very much. Most of us in the non super hero realm will lose a little stroke length as the rate comes up. For some they abort and slow right down until their SPL is at that magic number. This is where testing your currrent fitness at different stroke rates is invaluable. Your magic number might be 60, 65, maybe 75. Here's the catch on increasing SR though. If you are stuck in bilateral it may feel awful b/c you are not getting enough exchange so don't be afraid to add in some unilateral. Breathing more often slows you down if you have a mechanics problem, but if it's in line and timed right all it should do is give your lungs more ability to produce ATP. I literally cannot count how many times I've see people have huge eureka moments when they try adding more air an instant boost in workload and speed. When they tried to add SR on bilateral they'd gas out b/f they got started. Don't be afraid to try it. In general the shorter the person the faster that number happens to be and of course it's distance dependent in most cases. There is a super fast woman on our team barely over 5' tall who races at over 90 up to 5k's. Little arms. She warms up at a pace way faster than my race pace for a 200! Is it wrong for her? The podium and her medal/trophy collection says no. She is so darn fast when I try to get on her toes on my rare OW swims it's a real chore to stay there she is a bullet! All I can suggest is you do some testing that's how I found my number. It was feel based and verifying against the clock. Am I faster and can I sustain it? The rest will figure itself out.

Swimming as you know can be analysis paralysis and it can also be very simple. The general rule of thumb on our teams seems to be once glaring body position and recovery issues are worked on get people swimming asap so they can get over that initial fitness hump for a month or so it can be longer too b/c you don't want to ramp up yardage too quickly you need time to recover. I personally feel learning how to get comfortable being uncomfortable(thanks Bob Bowman great phrase)is a fantastic and valuable tool. Its' a given if you come to Masters you are willing to work hard no one shows up ready to get wet at 530 unless they are looking for serious swimming results typically. So the sooner that is addressed the sooner the icing on the cake can be addressed: catch and pull. You can yank as hard as you want, but if the body is a water parachute you ain't goin nowhere! Get that sorted out and the world is your oyster: focus on streamline and maintaining stroke length at all costs? Or maybe your fitness abilities are so good you can find a way to go even faster if you train to that new stroke rate even though you lose a little length? Test it in a controlled environment we call it 'the speed bump test'. Bump up fractionally the SR and have someone taking splits and stroke rate counts for at least a 50 and long course is best IMO. Notice perceived effort and you will figure it out. Have fun!

Last edited by descending : 06-03-2016 at 12:05 PM.
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  #43  
Old 06-03-2016
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Get that sorted out and the world is your oyster: focus on streamline and maintaining stroke length at all costs? Or maybe your fitness abilities are so good you can find a way to go even faster if you train to that new stroke rate even though you lose a little length? Test it in a controlled environment we call it 'the speed bump test'. Bump up fractionally the SR and have someone taking splits and stroke rate counts for at least a 50 and long course is best IMO. Notice perceived effort and you will figure it out. Have fun!
This paragraph is perfectly in line with TI training as I understand it; it all boils down to one truth: SPEED = SR x SL. There is no prescribed "correct" solution to that equation in TI, just the awareness that SR and SL are different aspects of swimming speed. So I think perhaps that some of the differences you are seeing are not TI vs. non-TI, but short pool racing priorities vs. other priorities.

Descending, I'd be very interested in hearing your reaction to THIS THREAD that I started to compare a higher-intensity traditional set I swam with a couple of very fit triathletes with a TI session I swam the next day.

My general take on this is, mindless intensity is no better (and probably worse) than non-intense mindfulness. But to really improve, you need both intensity and mindfulness. TI is great for mindfulness, and says nothing to limit people training with intensity. Although I can see how it may seem like TI does not push the idea of intensity, there are certainly LOTS of threads here about how to train in a TI/purposeful/mindful way that incorporates both TI priorities AND lots of aerobic/anaerobic intensity.
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  #44  
Old 06-03-2016
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I am sitting at the airport waiting on a flight at 21 breaths per minute typing on a computer. With most of the stroke rates I read about in here I wouldn't even be getting typing air exchange at bilateral. I need at least 63 SPM to get 21 breaths per minute with bilateral.
21 rpm? must be shallow breaths.....average is maybe 12 rpm at rest
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  #45  
Old 06-03-2016
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Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
My general take on this is, mindless intensity is no better (and probably worse) than non-intense mindfulness. But to really improve, you need both intensity and mindfulness. TI is great for mindfulness, and says nothing to limit people training with intensity. Although I can see how it may seem like TI does not push the idea of intensity, there are certainly LOTS of threads here about how to train in a TI/purposeful/mindful way that incorporates both TI priorities AND lots of aerobic/anaerobic intensity.
Mindless intensity is a loser no matter what I don't know of any swim coaches who push that mind set. Pure mindfulness would be better than that. To be your fastest though there needs to be a little bit of the total wreckless abandon where you just say 'I'm going to finish this set'. I even think it's beneficial to persist for even just a few hundred after you 'lose it' so you can really concentrate and feel what is amiss and focus in on it. One thing I will guarantee you if you aspire to racing at some point you will find a scenario where pushing through a tough set or workout pays off b/c you have suffered there before.
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  #46  
Old 06-03-2016
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I'll chime in a bit. Bilateral and unilateral breathing is a bit too broad and can easily be easily misunderstood. Bilateral is often understood as only breathing on every 3rd stroke or "on three's", alternating breathing left and right. Unilateral breathing is often understood as breathing every 2nd stroke toward the same shoulder.

Open water swimmers should be able to get air easily on both left and right sides (bilateral). You can even breath on one's, every stroke, which is breathe off one shoulder then breathe off opposite shoulder on very next stroke (bilateral). Sun Yang breathes on one's going into the wall (two breaths on last two strokes) and coming off the wall (first two strokes). Being able to do this in open water is critical since if you didn't quite get a full tank of air due to chop, piranha, or you just need it - then get air off opposite shoulder on next stroke. To say 'don't bilateral breathe' is a bit misleading and can be easily interpreted to breath off one side only.

Get air when you need it. I need the air and breathe mostly on two's, but will switch sides after 10 strokes or so, i.e. 2-2-2-2-1-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-1.... or same side in clean conditions, 2-2-4-2-2-4-2-2-4... and so on. Breathing on four's allows me to focus a bit more, but still get plenty of air to support the effort.

I know some very quick swimmers that breathe mostly on three's and seem to get enough air. So it's really personal to each swimmer, but the main thing is don't starve yourself of air, get it when you need it, even if that means breathing on one's when necessary.

Stuart

Last edited by CoachStuartMcDougal : 06-03-2016 at 03:52 PM.
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  #47  
Old 06-03-2016
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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To be your fastest though there needs to be a little bit of the total wreckless abandon where you just say 'I'm going to finish this set'. I even think it's beneficial to persist for even just a few hundred after you 'lose it' so you can really concentrate and feel what is amiss and focus in on it. One thing I will guarantee you if you aspire to racing at some point you will find a scenario where pushing through a tough set or workout pays off b/c you have suffered there before.
Thanks for this--I think that I have LOTS of room to gain in pushing hard in swimming like you say. I've done that in running and enjoyed HUGE successes, so I don't disagree with you at all. I am heading in that direction in my training this summer, and it'll be fun (in a weird, suffery kind of way).
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  #48  
Old 06-03-2016
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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On the breathing issue, I've concluded that I want to keep my stroke as symmetrical as possible, so I don't like to hold 2-stroke breathing pattern for very long. At the same time, a 3-stroke pattern makes my effort level go up in long open water races.

Last year I had good success experimenting with breathing patterns that mixed 2-and 3-stroke patterns. My favorite for long races was:

2 strokes (breathe on 2nd), 2 strokes (breathe on 2nd), 3 strokes (breathe on 3rd)
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  #49  
Old 06-03-2016
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Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
I'll chime in a bit. Bilateral and unilateral breathing is a bit too broad and can easily be easily misunderstood. Bilateral is often understood as only breathing on every 3rd stroke or "on three's", alternating breathing left and right. Unilateral breathing is often understood as breathing every 2nd stroke toward the same shoulder.

Open water swimmers should be able to get air easily on both left and right sides (bilateral). You can even breath on one's, every stroke, which is breathe off one shoulder then breathe off opposite shoulder on very next stroke (bilateral). Sun Yang breathes on one's going into the wall (two breaths on last two strokes) and coming off the wall (first two strokes). Being able to do this in open water is critical since if you didn't quite get a full tank of air due to chop, piranha, or you just need it - then get air off opposite shoulder on next stroke. To say 'don't bilateral breathe' is a bit misleading and can be easily interpreted to breath off one side only.

Get air when you need it. I need the air and breathe mostly on two's, but will switch sides after 10 strokes or so, i.e. 2-2-2-2-1-2-2-2-2-3-2-2-2-2-1.... or same side in clean conditions, 2-2-4-2-2-4-2-2-4... and so on. Breathing on four's allows me to focus a bit more, but still get plenty of air to support the effort.

I know some very quick swimmers that breathe mostly on three's and seem to get enough air. So it's really personal to each swimmer, but the main thing is don't starve yourself of air, get it when you need it, even if that means breathing on one's when necessary.

Stuart
That's fantastic you teach that b/c the vast majority of swimmers I run across who like 'bilateral' limit themselves to 1 breath every 3 as a steadfast rule and that can be a massive limiter to anyone. Going 5 or 6 to one side and switching to 5 or 6 to the other is just as good. Get air when you need it and try to keep some type of mix to both sides. As long as I'm not going full tilt I go left side odds right side evens. Full gas sets it's all left.
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  #50  
Old 06-03-2016
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Thanks for this--I think that I have LOTS of room to gain in pushing hard in swimming like you say. I've done that in running and enjoyed HUGE successes, so I don't disagree with you at all. I am heading in that direction in my training this summer, and it'll be fun (in a weird, suffery kind of way).
I think it will pay off for you. As long as you can assess and say ok my shoulders aren't saying 'bad pain' just make it happen. 'Ok we know this sucks, but the payoff will come.' Be aware of where you are losing it so you can sense it coming on next time and nip it in the hiney b/f it destroys everything. Funny thing happens every time you push that bar up from a really challenging day it's at a higher point the next time. Uh oh, I'm swimming faster!
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