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  #1  
Old 08-26-2016
sixtiesguy
 
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Default Newbie in TI, Veteran Spin Class, Out of Breath

First post!: I was taught in Red Cross style in my younger days in the 1960s, so TI is still a process. I have decided recently to include within my exercise regimen at my local gym almost daily "sessions" in the gym's indoor saltwater 25 yard length pool. I thought my aerobics/lungs were in great shape, I am a strong participant in 50 minute spinning classes, for example, walk vigorously for miles, and thought these activities would translate well to freestyle swimming...

...so, after only a short period of time swimming lengths freestyle and perfecting TI form, 3 switches per breath, what I find is that after every 25 yard length, I'm out of breath. I must do Yoga breathing for as many as 15 breaths. I figure it's best to catch my breath because when tired, my TI form is going to suffer. But I also thought I was aerobically very fit. I think I could swim a length without taking a breath, but I'd need a serious time out after doing that.

Any thoughts on why being aerobic-fit in terms of the spin bike and vigorous walking doesn't translate to being aerobic-fit for freestyle lengths, I'm all ears. In spinning, we're taught to inhale through the nose, and vigorously exhale through the mouth. I do the same when freestyle swimming, it's really noisy when I'm exhaling.

Thanks for your comments/observations!
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2016
Grant Grant is offline
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Your experience is exactly like mine 20 years ago. I ran road races for 30 years and some marathons. Had to stop running as a knee injury from my football days was causing me to lose cartilage in my right knee. Was advised to stop running by my Dr. A friend suggested to me to take up swimming. I found I could only swim one length and then have to rest because I was puffing like crazy. It took about a year before I gained some cardio swimming conditioning. My upper body was trash while the legs were in great shape. In that year my neck collar size increased by a half inch and the garbage got lighter carrying it out to the trash can.
Another surprise awareness was that swimming is so technical one can always tweak something so one never gets bored. TI has been a good friend for at least 18 years. Very grateful for Terry's insights and program. Am almost 81 and looking forward to many more years of tweaking things.
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May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
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Last edited by Grant : 08-27-2016 at 02:55 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-27-2016
sixtiesguy
 
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Thanks Grant. Yikes, "almost a year" you recall? Although 65, I still spin 3x a week, and shadowbox/shadow kickbox 2x a week, plus TRX....I understand Terry's thinking that for us non-triathletes, swimming is a practice art, akin to yoga. But being winded after each length is a condition I hope is just what "can" happen after only 2 weeks of TI style lap swimming in indoor saltwater pool, but that it is "normal" and merely short term...I can spend 30-40 minutes in pool and basically can't swim a freestyle lap (2 consecutive lengths), (breast stroke is easier for me) .nothing in TI books or DVDs that I've seen address this issue....
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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As Grant has noted, swimming relies primarily on upper body strength rather than lower body strength, as biking and walking do.

Another factor is that water is a relatively dense medium, so drag becomes a very significant factor. Because of this, it is possible for a swimmer whose technique is inefficient to waste so much energy moving through the water that all the fitness in the world won't make up for it.

Obviously, it's hard for us to say exactly what is causing you trouble without actually seeing your stroke. Is there a way you send us a video of your stroke?


Bob
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2016
sixtiesguy
 
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THX Bob. I appreciate your reply, and welcome a further response, here's some more facts: as you know, I haven't swum much in the past decade (ha, just bought my first pair of goggles and jammers) and was taught originally all strokes ---- crawl, breast, side stroke--- in the "Red Cross style" in the early 1960s. I'm only 2 weeks into learning TI through the TI DVD (Freestyle: Made Easy; Outside the Box) and the TI book (Total Immersion) and Terry's blogs and TI Community Forum.

To your point: yes, the exertion for swimming is so much greater than it is for spinning---my spinning teacher admitted to me that being aerobically fit for spinning was "nothing" compared to the exertion required for swimming freestyle and since I'm lean and not muscular, my spinning teacher wasn't surprised I was unable to swim more than a length at a time at this point. BUT, there is not much about building core or upper body strength in the (older) TI DVD (Freestyle: Made Easy) and TI book (Total Immersion"). Perhaps the thought is that building core and upper body strength is a byproduct of practice swimming. So many Catch 22s in swimming...can't improve kick without improving stroke, can't improve stroke without building strong core/ upper body, etc etc. YOUR THINKING?

As for form and reducing drag, what can I say, I'm swimming with A LOT of mindfulness, thinking about my TI form while I swim lengths....remember the young Yogi Berra reacting to his hitting coach's continuous advice and saying "I can't think and hit at the same time"....everything about TI swimming is new to me, and yes, the continuous hip rotation, and the zipper form for the arm rotation really tires me out.... after only a length I give myself 15 good long Yoga breaths. THOUGHTS?

Many THX/ Sixties Guy
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2016
novaswimmer novaswimmer is offline
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Your comment ...' the exertion for swimming is so much greater than it is for spinning'... I'm not sure I agree with that. Maybe if you are sprinting. Not sure what your goal is.

Swimming is extremely technique-oriented. My guess is that your body position is off, legs and hips are dropping, maybe knees bending too much, perhaps head coming up too high for breath... all this creating too much drag and you are fighting at it by over-working your legs and arms to make progress...and getting super-winded in the process. Or perhaps you are not breathing often enough. Again, without a video showing your technique and body position, it would be hard to say exactly. If you look at some other swimmers in lanes around you, you will find people who are likely a LOT less aerobically-conditioned than you, but swim effortlessly.

'inhale through the nose, and vigorously exhale through the mouth. I do the same when freestyle swimming'

When breathing in freestyle, typically one inhales quickly through the mouth, and exhales slowly underwater, more or less continuously through the nose...the opposite of what you describe. We'd need to know more about your breathing to help. How often do you breathe? Do you breathe on both sides? One side? Are you lifting your head to breathe? or rotating to breathe?

Others can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of the TI approach, is to first learn the correct body position in the water through a series of lessons, then incorporate aspects of the stroke, usually one piece at a time, slowing building on what you've learned until you have a seemless, whole-body-coordinated stroke. Usually TI has you incorporating breathing after all that has been learned. For some, incorporating breathing can take the longest time! It took me about two years to go from 'winded after one lap' to swimming non-stop for about a 1/2 hour.

Last edited by novaswimmer : 08-29-2016 at 04:56 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2016
sixtiesguy
 
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THX, Nova Swimmer. I was quoting my spinning teacher re: aerobics. Frankly, I thought that due to many gym classes per week in spinning (3x/wk), as well as kickboxing and shadowboxing (2x), that breathing would not be a problem in the indoor saltwater pool. *Maybe* I tire due to just having beginner's muscle tension getting used to the TI mindfulness swimming as well as the *atmospheric warmth and smells* of indoor pools. Frankly, you're the second responder who mentioned a 2 year period for getting the breathing right....how long did it take you to swim 100 yards non-stop?

To your point: No video yet.....I usually have 3 switches before I take a breath, I use the Popeye mouth so that I don't have my head come out of the water too much, and I generally can do the 25 yard length in 17-22 strokes. I am *not* comfortable yet with bi-lateral breathing, I never did that before, it will take time. I'll try your suggestion of breathing out through the nose, thanks much. Yes, my kick needs improvement, I recognize that, but as you know TI de-emphasizes kick (while others, such as the late swim coach Doug Stern, advocated the 6 kick).

I think that TI can be self-taught if you have had prior swimming training and understand cognitively what the TI strategies and goals are. A swim coach would be nice luxury, I don't rule it out, as long as they subscribe to TI. I have read the "Total Immersion" book through and through, and I have watched the TI Freestyle DVD more than a few times, and the TI Open Water DVD as well. Swimming will be just one (frequent) part of my exercise regimen, I will continue with gym time on land, esp. aerobics, flexibility and strength training.

I recognize that Terry's mantra is that swimming is a life practice, and to be mindful of the form...this is why I would prefer to stop when out of breath, I know my form will suffer if I insist on swimming a lap non-stop (maybe as early as next week this will change, and a lap will be no problem!).....I'm not interested in racing, but am not eligible to join a Masters Swim program at the gym until I swim at least 100 yards non stop. Meanwhile, do provide your reactions to this post, and do tell about how long it took for you to swim 100 yards non-stop....many thanks!
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2016
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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How far can you go without stopping if, instead of doing regular breathing, you roll to your interrupted breathing position (also known as hand-lead sweet spot) every third switch?

Bob
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  #9  
Old 09-01-2016
sixtiesguy
 
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Will let you know!
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  #10  
Old 09-02-2016
sixtiesguy
 
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Coach Bob,

To your question, and more:

Your question: using hand-lead sweet spot, and about 3 Yoga breaths per spot, I swam 100 yards, and maybe could have done more but for the unwanted sensation of rolling. So, that was about 4x the swim when I use regular breathing.

I'm interested in your response to that, let me also add the following, since I do want to become a good swimmer and consider this a practice art:

The pool: I am currently swimming in the gym's 6 lane indoor pool, using the salt filtration system instead of chlorinated water, and the water temp is about 84 degrees, I'm told. What is potentially a problem for me is the high humidity in this space: air temp is about 86 or so, but it's humid. You wouldn't want to sit poolside wearing a t-shirt.

The stroke: I know my form is far from perfecto, so I also did some core exercises prior to swimming today. My dominant stroke side is the arm I use for throwing a ball, or serving in tennis (left arm). The stroke from my other arm tends to be more of a "Red Cross circa 1962" style reach and spear, rather than a high elbow progression and spear, and I cannot yet breathe on that side, for bi-lateral breathing. I just don't have the same lateral flexibility from the right shoulder, even with "decent" hip rotation. No arthritis, no prior rotator cuff problems, just never "using"/ "needing" that high elbow from that shoulder arm on a consistent basis.

Sixties Guy
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