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Old 09-19-2010
dylan20 dylan20 is offline
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dylan20
Default Open water training advice?

I've been practicing in open water, in a shallow and usually very calm part of the San Francisco Bay. (Coyote Point in San Mateo, for those of you who know the area).

My goal is to be able to swim any distance with relaxation. A mile would be great -- that would be two big loops around the pilings that mark out the swimming area here.

I've done many drills both in the bay and in a local pool, and they have helped a lot.

My problem is, like many people, with breathing. After reading two TI books and watching some videos and doing lots of drills, I think my form has improved a lot -- I'm much more streamlined and relaxed. But I'm still getting out of breath after 50-100 meters, and once I start getting very out of breath I get panicky and my form goes to pieces.

As a result I've been very nervous about swimming very far from shore. I like to stick close to shore where I can stand up and catch my breath if I need to.

Today I did about 1/4 mile in 15 minutes and was completely winded to the point where I felt like I couldn't continue working out effectively. It was totally, glassy calm water and a beautiful, warm morning, so the weather/waves weren't the problem.

Any advice for me?

Dylan.
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2010
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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Hi Dylan

For what it's worth, my advice would be to carry on doing what you are doing, trying to relax as you swim and trying to breathe easily. The main secret of breathing in swimming, I believe is to breathe out while your face is in the water. Stay in the shallow water for the time being and work on your relaxation and breathing. It isn't possible to relax properly if you are worried or afraid. It probably won't be long before you find yourself more at home in the ocean, but keep an eye out for some of that aquatic wildlife you have in those parts!
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Old 09-19-2010
madvet madvet is offline
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First, it is total baloney that this is a conditioning issue -- I am overweight, unfit, and asthmatic, and I can swim 2 miles without getting out of breath.

Either you are holding your breath, or you are holding tension in your chest.

For #1 -- immediately after inhaling, exhale continuously but relatively gently. For a long time, I would hold my breath after the inhalation. Don't do that. On the other hand, don't force the air out too fast, or try to get more air out of your lungs than is comfortable.

For #2 -- don't try to "tone" your body, or "extend your bodyline" -- imagine your body floating like a lily pad on top of the water. To generate your inhalation, as you bring your recovering arm forward it will open up your ribcage automatically -- if you are relaxed. If you feel tension holding your ribs down (or your shoulder hunched up, or your arm not moving freely forward) relax that tension, until ... the movement of your recovering arm opens up your ribcage for the inhalation.

Then, go back to #1.
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2010
dylan20 dylan20 is offline
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Thanks for the pointers, guys. Richard, I appreciate the encouragement.

John, I'm going to try that relaxed "floating like a lily pad" approach next time I swim! I've definitely been trying to stretch myself out to "spear" through the water, and maybe that has been making me too tense & inflexible.
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Old 01-23-2012
GretchenT GretchenT is offline
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I'm an asthmatic too and actually started to get interested in open water swimming because I don't like the chlorinated water in pools too much. It tends to bother my asthma a little and makes it more difficult to breathe. As far as training, have you thought about getting one of those safety buoys for swimming in open water? They might make you less nervous knowing there's something to hold onto if you freak out or start panicking. I've been swimming since I was three and it kind of comes natural after a while. I wouldn't worry about speed but focus more on technique and relaxing. You need to feel comfortable in the water and it will be much easier. The more you panic or stress, the more difficult breathing will be and the quicker you're arms and legs will get tired out.
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  #6  
Old 01-24-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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andyinnorway
Default Breathlessness

There is probably a meter marker for breathlessness too. I thought I was a sufferer but around 350,000m of freestyle it just went away in a sort of gradual but accelerated way?


36 weeks x 5 times a week x 2000m per day = 360,000m
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