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  #1  
Old 06-24-2015
segressel54 segressel54 is offline
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segressel54
Default Technique or Conditioning?

I am going through an issue where I cannot get past two lengths without stopping for air and getting my hr down. This morning I did two lengths, rested, did two lengths, rested, etc. This is an improvement for me, but it is far from the 400m Sprint swim that I need to do in Sept as part of my Sprint triathlon. Do I just have to invest time in the pool until I am (1) past the "panic breathing", (2) have learned to relax more in the water, (3) and have increased my conditioning? Right now it is frustrating because I don't know if this is what every beginner swimmer experiences or if there is something that I am doing wrong. I have followed the directions in your TI book and in your book for Triathletes. There is just this wall I am hitting with laps and breathing.

I am feeling like I am panicked at the end of the second or third set of a two lap (25m) swim. I try to focus on relaxing and letting the water support my body, my head, my arms. It seems that my hr goes up and I am struggling to get enough air.

I would appreciate any insights that you have. I am all in on this and will not give up. I have talked to people that have opted for duathlons rather than tri's because they couldn't get past this hurdle. That's not what I want. My latest mantra has been a quote from Yoda..."Do or do not. There is no try".
Kinda corny...but it defines my resolve. Either I am going to do this or not.

Thanks.
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Old 06-24-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by segressel54 View Post
I am going through an issue where I cannot get past two lengths without stopping for air and getting my hr down. This morning I did two lengths, rested, did two lengths, rested, etc. This is an improvement for me, but it is far from the 400m Sprint swim that I need to do in Sept as part of my Sprint triathlon. Do I just have to invest time in the pool until I am (1) past the "panic breathing", (2) have learned to relax more in the water, (3) and have increased my conditioning? Right now it is frustrating because I don't know if this is what every beginner swimmer experiences or if there is something that I am doing wrong. I have followed the directions in your TI book and in your book for Triathletes. There is just this wall I am hitting with laps and breathing.

I am feeling like I am panicked at the end of the second or third set of a two lap (25m) swim. I try to focus on relaxing and letting the water support my body, my head, my arms. It seems that my hr goes up and I am struggling to get enough air.

I would appreciate any insights that you have. I am all in on this and will not give up. I have talked to people that have opted for duathlons rather than tri's because they couldn't get past this hurdle. That's not what I want. My latest mantra has been a quote from Yoda..."Do or do not. There is no try".
Kinda corny...but it defines my resolve. Either I am going to do this or not.

Thanks.
It is not clear from your description whether the problem is conditioning, efficiency, panic breathing /tightness or more than one thing. Only a process of elimination will tell. I am a relative beginner swimmer, fit runner having similar difficulty and worry leading up to a Half Ironman. See recent entries in the thread "Rest Intervals and Heart Rate" for what happened to me and a favourable outcome.

Good for you by not taking the safe way out! Acknowledging the wall and figuring it out, not avoiding the issue.
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2015
Penguin Penguin is offline
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Well, I can tell you what helped me get started. I slowed down until I found a pace that was sustainable. I found I could go about ten minutes, then take a rest, a few dives off the board, whatever, then back into the lanes for another ten minutes of back and forth.

One other thing (assuming you are not trying flip turns at this stage), exhale deeply just before touching the end. Then a big inhale as you turn.
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Old 06-24-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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I am on thin ice here (no pun intended) because I have been swimming TI for a long time and don't really have these problems any more, but I seem to see a lot of beginners who do. There are probably multiple ways to "break through" this barrier, but I would like to suggest one that is perhaps a little bit heretical. I sometimes wonder if people get tense because they are so focussed on maintaining proper technique that just the effort to do that exhausts them. So here is my proposal: If it helps to raise your head when breathing, then go ahead and do it! Look for some form of lousy technique that allows you to relax. If you get to the point where you can swim some distance in a relaxed fashion, THEN it might be a good time to start improving your technique, but always with the mantra that relaxing is pre-requisite to improving your technique. TI people say that the first most important thing to teach is balance. I might suggest that the first most important thing to teach is relaxation, no matter how bad the technique. Then comes balance and the rest. After swimming TI for years and years, I am still painfully aware of multiple technique problems, but I don't think I can make progress on them without relaxing...
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Old 06-26-2015
segressel54 segressel54 is offline
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segressel54
Default Thanks

Thank you all for your insights. Actually, Danny, what you are suggesting is what I have most recently concluded. That seems to be where I am with this at the moment...relaxing in the water. There are a couple old gents that swim in the mornings at the pool that make me jealous of their swimming stamina. Neither one of them have a TI technique...but they swim relaxed and for 15-2@ minutes at a time.
Thanks for sharing.
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  #6  
Old 06-26-2015
segressel54 segressel54 is offline
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segressel54
Default 6/26 Update

All,
I went to the pool, this morning, and focused solely on relaxing and fully exhaling/inhaling in and out of the water. It went better. I found that I tensed my neck and head muscles. If I consciously relaxed my head, along with the rest of my body, I seemed to relax more emotionally and did not panic for air as much. I was able to do my 2 lengths and rest pattern more rapidly and I seemed to recover quicker. I am labeling this as progress.

I am kind of concluding that I just need to stick-it-out and put in time in the pool to build-up my endurance in the water. It's a whole new level of cardio and breath control...unrelated to biking or running. There is a correlation to running only in that when I started running I also had to build-up my endurance and cardio/breath control to sustain a long run. I guess this is the same thing only different.
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  #7  
Old 06-26-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by segressel54 View Post
All,
I went to the pool, this morning, and focused solely on relaxing and fully exhaling/inhaling in and out of the water. It went better. I found that I tensed my neck and head muscles. If I consciously relaxed my head, along with the rest of my body, I seemed to relax more emotionally and did not panic for air as much. I was able to do my 2 lengths and rest pattern more rapidly and I seemed to recover quicker. I am labeling this as progress.

I am kind of concluding that I just need to stick-it-out and put in time in the pool to build-up my endurance in the water. It's a whole new level of cardio and breath control...unrelated to biking or running. There is a correlation to running only in that when I started running I also had to build-up my endurance and cardio/breath control to sustain a long run. I guess this is the same thing only different.
I think that even with running, relaxation can play as much or even a more important role than conditioning. So here is a story to try to prove my point. Years ago I tried to convince my wife to jog and she always refused, saying that after 100 m she's out of breath. I said to her "that's because you're going too fast." She said no, it didn't matter how fast she went, it always happened. So I went jogging with her and told her right at the start that our goal was to continue jogging for at least 15 min. no matter how slow we went. While we were jogging, I watched her closely and paid attention to the first signs of getting out of breath. As soon as I saw it, I said you've got to slow down and I slowed down to force her to do the same. At the end of 15 minutes of jogging, she was estatic, and it was the start of a new hobby for her, although, for a while, I had to go with her and keep telling her to slow down before she learned how to pace herself.

I think swimming is a very different activity, and the fear of not being able to breath introduces an additional stress element into the process, but the same rules about relaxation still apply. Good luck!
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