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  #1  
Old 04-12-2012
efdoucette efdoucette is offline
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efdoucette
Default My breathing sucks

Well, 1.5 years into self taught TI and in the pool 3 to 4 times per week over the last 5 months and my breathing still sucks. It limits me to 50 meters, have done 75 and the odd 100 but rarely.

I've focused on exhale gently, forcefully, and in between. I've tried breathing every 2 strokes, 3 strokes and 4 strokes. I've tried to temper by inhale gasping problem but to little success. I work on nodding with some success, I think.

I am concerned that I will soon lose motivation as I can't get a handle on breathing. Had a very discouraging swim today.

Does anyone have "the magic bullet"?

Eric
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  #2  
Old 04-12-2012
grandall grandall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efdoucette View Post
Well, 1.5 years into self taught TI and in the pool 3 to 4 times per week over the last 5 months and my breathing still sucks. It limits me to 50 meters, have done 75 and the odd 100 but rarely.

I've focused on exhale gently, forcefully, and in between. I've tried breathing every 2 strokes, 3 strokes and 4 strokes. I've tried to temper by inhale gasping problem but to little success. I work on nodding with some success, I think.

I am concerned that I will soon lose motivation as I can't get a handle on breathing. Had a very discouraging swim today.

Does anyone have "the magic bullet"?

Eric
Hi Eric,

Don't give up.

Breathing issues has been discussed many times in this forum perhaps reviewing some of them might offer some feedback for you.

Another thing you might consider is uploading a swim video of yourself to this forum. As there are many talented coaches/students who can analyze the video and and offer help.

Part of the learning process is working through obstacles. Keep practing the nodding drill with time and pateince your breathing will improve.

Are you having breathing issues because your not getting enough air because your not rotating enough(from the core)? Are your head /spine in alignment when you rotate to breath. For now try doing repeats of 25 or 50 rather than increasing the distance in one set.

keep at it!.. I been swimming for a 1.5 as well I love working/learning through problems (must be the engineer in me).
Enjoy the process and have fun!
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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by efdoucette View Post
Well, 1.5 years into self taught TI and in the pool 3 to 4 times per week over the last 5 months and my breathing still sucks. It limits me to 50 meters, have done 75 and the odd 100 but rarely.

I've focused on exhale gently, forcefully, and in between. I've tried breathing every 2 strokes, 3 strokes and 4 strokes. I've tried to temper by inhale gasping problem but to little success. I work on nodding with some success, I think.

I am concerned that I will soon lose motivation as I can't get a handle on breathing. Had a very discouraging swim today.

Does anyone have "the magic bullet"?

Eric
Just one thought, it is possible to breathe out slowly or hard whilst retaining tension in the chest, and both will cause you to tire.

think of your lungs as a dinghy that a kid has put a small slit in with a knife, the air comes out because the aperture is open, the only thing you control is how 'big' the hole is. Don't breath out, allow air to escape. (maybe a bit like trying to encourage a small fire to get bigger, if you blow on the fire it goes out but if you supply it with a gentle stream it develops)

A flute player can breathe quite slowly to make a soft sound but it isn't relaxed there is a lot of pressure control, with swimming it is different you need to lose the tension.

Also once the chest is very relaxed it is easier to empty the lungs almost instantaneously as you rotate to breath.

Its hard because the difference between right and wrong is very subtle. let your focus be your muscle tension

hope it comes soon
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2012
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Default Struggling

I to this day have difficulty catching air on my left side.

My one suggestion for you is get a swimmers snorkel. It will give you several benefits. The first being you can just enjoy the swim and work on good streamline and balance, which I doubt is happening if you are so struggling with breaths.

Secondly swim and enjoy without the sense of starving and struggling. Do not consider it a crutch. Use it as a learning tool, swim snorkels provide tremendous benefits for refining the stroke.

It also sounds as if you are doing self analysis. Have you ever had a coach observe. If not try it or post a video if you have not done so.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2012
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Mike from NS
Default giving up -- not an option

Eric,

Some people may catch onto breathing patterns quickly, and others may not. I'm in the later group. Maybe you are as well? Magic bullet is called patience.

What has worked somewhat for me is practice and more practice with a lot of patience thrown into the mix. However something worked today better than I expected. I read a note from Andy or maybe from Suzanne recently that indicated a likely reason why my breathing sucks too. So basic a thing it is almost embarrassing to mention. Timing ! Simple fact .... turn the head towards the breath side just before your spearing hand enters the water. This way you are ready for the air when the time is right. If your hand enters the water and then you start to turn for air, you will breathe water .... you have missed the time to breathe. One other item that Suzanne suggested, and has helped me, is to not try for a huge lung full of air. Just breath for the exertion level you're using. Sitting at your desk your breathing is shallow -- because that's all you need. If you imagine that you need to breathe more and take in huge amounts of air, I think you will soon find this is not necessary and discomfort will take over. Her comment was basically; " breathe what you need - no more" I think she added: take small breaths and maybe take them often until you find what works for you. Terry's "bites of air".

Don't forget - it is the frustrating days that make the good days become the great days!

Do you swim at the Canada Games Centre Pool in Halifax? Maybe I'll meet you there one day.
Mike
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2012
efdoucette efdoucette is offline
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efdoucette
Default

Thanks George, Andy, Westy and Mike for your suggestions and support.

I probably won't give up, at 57 I'm finally able to swim some lengths more comfortable than I have ever been able to do, it's cool.

Andy, I think you hit the nail on the head for me. Your suggestion that I have tension in my chest / lungs makes so much sense. I'm sure with the focus I've been giving to the inhale / exhale that I bring tension on, I feel a relief just to acknowledge it.

Mike, I try to breath in small amounts, know that I should but still I gasp. I think with releasing tension as Andy says, the smaller (right size) breaths will come. And isn't timing just everything. I swim in Milford as I live in Oakfield. I haven't been to the new pool, thinking it was a little pricey, but maybe we should do a swim together sometime.

Thanks again everyone,
Eric
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2012
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Eric,

The new pool is pricey ~ but a very reasonable cost of $3.00 applies to Friday morning: 8 - 10 am, and 8 - 10pm on Tuesday and Thursday. (These evening swims are often a zoo!) Otherwise the facility cost is $11.50. Not bad by some standards, I suppose, as long as you have time for the holistic approach. But you have one of the best open water venues in NS practically at your doorstep ~ in Grand Lake. No ?

Mike
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  #8  
Old 04-14-2012
rtstewart rtstewart is offline
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rtstewart
Default Heavens - Don't Give Up!

I also have difficulty with comfortable rhythmic breathing. I have been at this about as long as you and seem to have similar distance limits imposed on my swimming because of the breathing difficulties. I don't think there is a silver bullet for anything that is not really simple - and swimming efficiently is not simple. In my case, I am off to the swim studio in New Paltz tomorrow to address this very thing and hope to leave there with some helpful diagnosis. I am quite sure there will be a number of considerations and things to work on that realistically will not likely be cured by one visit. Have you gotten together with a coach for a personal evaluation? Probably would be worth it if you're having that much difficulty and frustration - as I am. We all have such different background with swimming and I think alot depends on where you've come from with it. Sorry I can't be more helpful right now, I wanted to be encouraging you to NOT give up though and do seek assistance. I'm sure we'll both be posting again on this subject.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2012
efdoucette efdoucette is offline
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efdoucette
Default

Hello rtstewart, nice to hear from you.

I don't have a TI coach in the area although I did just connect with a local swimmer. Good luck with your session tomorrow, if you find any "silver bullets" or "golden nuggets" please let us know. I'm sure I'll resolve my issues with more practice, more relaxation and comfort in the water.

Cheers
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2012
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Default Breathing is FUNN!

Quote:
Originally Posted by efdoucette View Post
Well, 1.5 years into self taught TI and in the pool 3 to 4 times per week over the last 5 months and my breathing still sucks. It limits me to 50 meters, have done 75 and the odd 100 but rarely.

I've focused on exhale gently, forcefully, and in between. I've tried breathing every 2 strokes, 3 strokes and 4 strokes. I've tried to temper by inhale gasping problem but to little success. I work on nodding with some success, I think.

I am concerned that I will soon lose motivation as I can't get a handle on breathing. Had a very discouraging swim today.

Does anyone have "the magic bullet"?

Eric
Hey Eric,

I didn't read all the responses but most seem to be spot on. First don't give up as most have noted, keep trying. I suspect (and have seen this a lot), and may have already been mentioned, is head postion on non breathing stroke. If you're looking even slightly forward, when you rotate for breath, head and spine will continue to be out of alignment. That is, your forehead will be higher than your chin when breaching surface due to neck being engaged, neck is bent at 20-30degs. This makes it even tougher to get the breath and often lead hand will trigger too soon pushing down to lift head higher - causing everything to fall apart and body to sink. Disengage the neck (neutral head), get breath early at end of body roll (timing is everything), try to keep forehead lower than your chin(at least feel it's lower). This position, as a consequence, head and spine will be in alignment on breathing stroke. No more bending neck to raise top of head to get breath - that's hard; mouth's not on your forehead :-). I see lots of bent necks when breathing in the pool, and huge bow waves. Don't need a bow wave to get your breath, just an alignend head/spine to easily get your o2. Forehead low, chin high - get all the air you need. Happy Swimming! Stuart
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