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Old 06-10-2009
gatoruss gatoruss is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2
Default My First Experience Getting to A mile (and I Want Back)

About a year ago, I took up swimming after many, many years out of the pool. My endurance was after doing some research online I came across this workout designed to get you swimming one mile in a pool in 6 weeks (It took me about 7 weeks):

After reaching 1 mile, I swam 1 mile per week and did about 2000 to 2200 meters of various intervals 2-3 times per week. My SPL counts was around 24 when I started my workout, and up to 30 toward the end. My breathing was every other stroke - every time I stroked with my left arm I took a breath; I dropped my right arm when I took a breath; I lift my head out of the water; and I kicked like a banshee. I kept at this for several months. Eventually, my right shoulder began to ache.

I wanted to swim an open water event and knew I needed to increase my distance but was afraid that my shoulder would not hold up. So, I decided to improve my form and efficiency and took some lessons. My first set of lessons (not TI) were "okay." I was able to do rudimentary breathing on both sides, but my endurance plummeted. I still dropped my non-stroking arm during breathing.

So, I signed up for some one-on-one TI lessons. Things have been going much better, but I am still trying to get things down. I can swim almost 75 meters before I become so oxygen hungry that my form/stroke totally falls apart (but a few weeks ago, my "fall apart" point was just short of 50 meters); and my SPL is around 17.

I am thinking of working thru the process in the link above again in order to get back to a mile. Does that seem like a sound plan? I welcome input.
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Old 06-13-2009
ernewill ernewill is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 70
Default Getting to a Mile & sore shoulder

I assume you mean that you are breathing to the left. My experience may be similar to yours. I started swimming actively a year and a half ago. When I started I was dying. Then slowly built endurance and worked on technique via Race Club camp and TI DVDs. As I succeeded at longer workouts, my left shoulder became very sore (I breath to my right). Physical therapy helped but the therapists knew nothing about swimming. Eventually, I found a post on this website about arm and hand positioning related to injured shoulders. I followed the advice and sore shoulder (I am 56). What I was doing wrong was keeping my left hand flat and parallel to the pool bottom as if I was trying to lean on the water to provide support as I lifted my head to the right to breath. You really torque the little muscles in your shoulder when you do this. And, it isn't necessary. If you learn to properly roll your body (TI style) your head should easily roll into breathing position with little effort. Assuming you are breathing to your left, as you move your right arm/hand forward and pull with your left arm/hand, make sure your right hand rolls with the body and is in the same plane as your chest. Don't leave it parallel to the pool bottom. Then start the stroke with the right arm. This may relieve the pressure on the shoulder.
As to your SPL, 17 is pretty good and would indicate to me that the TI training was right on and you became very efficient. But the time to breathing may be too much at the moment. My SPL is around 19 and only after a year and a half of swimming have I started becoming less winded.
Look into some breathing advice too. I recently borrowed the TI Breathing DVD from a friend. It helped a lot. Biggest thing for me was that I wasn't breathing out enough into the water in between inhales.
Don't know if any of this helps. Good luck!
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Old 06-14-2009
CoachBrian CoachBrian is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 138

The workout you linked to (for the most) part is backwards of what I would recommend.

Each workout starts with the longest interval. I like to start with the shortest interval. From that point, I extend the distance I can carry my best form.

There are occasions, however, when I'll start with the longest distance I can complete with good form, and then go to shorter intervals as I tire.

I also like to use pyramids - start short, build up, and then decrease.

The workout also works on two variables at once - increasing distance, and decreasing rest. You might consider breaking the workout into two sets, one with distance as the variable, the other with rest as the variable. Or repeating a workout, holding one variable as a constant, and altering the other.

The author doesn't appear to be terribly concerned about technique. Seem like a pretty big blunder to me.
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Old 08-09-2009
Nicodemus Nicodemus is offline
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 50
Default Learn to breathe properly!

I would say that the advice on that website is the opposite of what you need - and the opposite of TI principles. It says on there that if you put in enough hours and yards of swimming, your technique will just sort itself out automatically. This is NOT TRUE.

Your swimming technique will only improve through mindful practice. Swimming is like golf, tennis etc in this respect - it is technical. It is not like running, cycling etc which are pretty simple technique-wise, and where stamina is key.

You say you are oxygen-starved (or CO2 overloaded?) after 75 yards, which you have managed to build up from 50 yards. Let's assume you swim a 25 yard length in a very relaxed 60 seconds. That means you are exhausted after 3 minutes exercise, which you have managed to build up from 2 minutes. I guess you could jog, cycle or row for a lot longer than this!

Your problem lies in your breathing technique. (I say this with confidence because I was the same). Before you start working on any kind of endurance program, my advice would be to fix your breathing problem.

Aim to swim just one length without feeling out of breath at the end. Swim almost in slow motion, really relaxed, and breathe as normally as possible. Then try to analyse anything that is preventing you from breathing easily, and start eliminating the problems. I would recommend the first question you ask yourself is are you breathing OUT enough, before you breathe in? Holding too much air causes tense, shallow, gasping breaths. You feel like you can't get enough air in - but actually you need to let it out!!!
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Old 08-09-2009
atreides atreides is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 293

Originally Posted by gatoruss View Post
So, I signed up for some one-on-one TI lessons. Things have been going much better, but I am still trying to get things down. I can swim almost 75 meters before I become so oxygen hungry that my form/stroke totally falls apart (but a few weeks ago, my "fall apart" point was just short of 50 meters); and my SPL is around 17.

I am thinking of working thru the process in the link above again in order to get back to a mile. Does that seem like a sound plan? I welcome input.
I had so many false starts on building endurance I hesitate to comment. But I might offer some insights since I have had some of the symptons that you have had. I have wondered why that I can run 6 miles but have absolutely no endurance in the pool. I have known for some time that it was all in my breathing but I was at a loss at what to do. Today I think I might have a found a solution. And it might be the same reason why you lost your endurance practicing TI technique. I have noticed when I try to maximize SPL, that I go into oxygen debt. That's because pulling and gliding interrupts the oxygen flow that I am used to getting like when I run. Today I noticed that when I ramped it up a bit I actually felt better. I reasoned that I was breathing more like when I run. The other thing that happened when I ramped it up was that I engaged hip drive better. I had purposely tried to do this but only found success by increasing my SPL and making sure I felt as little pull on my pull. In other words I wanted my core to assume more of the load instead of my arms. I also had developed a sore right shoulder because I was raising my shoulder too far out of the water and pulling too hard to breathe. Going to wider tracks and turning over the pull effort to my core seems to remedied my shoulder problem. So I think that the solution might be to put your TI technique to use at a higher turnover in order to breathe more like you use to. Make sure you're spearing wide especially on the sore shoulder. I think I almost point 1:00 even thought it probably ends up straighter than I think. Over the next few days I'm going to test this little theory out. I may start out gliding along but the minute I start feeling a little oxygen deprived I will ramp up the stroke count and see if i can start putting some laps together.
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