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  #131  
Old 11-29-2014
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Originally Posted by sclim View Post
@Talvi: I guess nowadays we'd call it a LGBT cat. I'm so behind the times the first time I heard that acronym I thought it must be some kind of lettuce bacon and tomato sandwich variant. Maybe calling him Rainbow would make him/her happy.
THAT is funny.

Also wanted to bump this thread for review for anyone looking for breathing tips.
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
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  #132  
Old 11-30-2014
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Haa Suzanne - "bump the thread", perfect. I'll bump it a bit too with this recent video posted by Coach Tracey, SwimSolutionS, UK. Sneaky Breathing - not interrupting the rhythm and flow of your stroke.

Stuart
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  #133  
Old 11-30-2014
sclim sclim is offline
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Originally Posted by Lawrence View Post
I think the whole breathing thing is a red herring. Breathing occurs properly when you do other things properly, and in particular when you let the head go and spear fully on wide tracks.

One can spend an indefinite amount of time analysing breathing but I have never seen anyone struggle with it when they are already doing the other things well.
Well, as a struggling TI beginner, I think I have the principle of the wide tracks and spear fully well integrated into my stroke, but my breathing doesn't just come naturally, as would be your expectation. In fact, every time I think I'm improving rapidly, I only realise in retrospect that I've merely come up to another plateau of improvement, and there's a huge more I have to cover.

You might argue that I'm probably not doing the other things well, and this must be partially true, but I have found that breathing efficiently just doesn't happen for me naturally -- it appears that I need a lot of specific direction.

Perhaps I am atypical; for one thing, I am a particularly severe "sinker", so that the best I can achieve is horizontal balance a couple of inches below the surface, so there is a lot of distance to come up for air. At present I am also suffering from an over-exuberant head dive that accompanies my arm spear which helps my body alignment but at the cost of an extra distance to cover for air; and this corrective action (to get air) then drops my torso until I dip my head once again... you get the picture... I didn't realise I was doing it until recently, and I am now exploring different strategies to help me heighten my awareness of head position so that I may correct this.

My other problem is, I think, a common one, a lifetime habit driven by the instinctive fear of not getting enough air, so indeed I was lunging for air when I first came to TI. I can't believe that for other people with this problem it just disappears when you get the wide tracking and spearing right.

So, having explained all this, I find that the various TI strategies for breathing are all incrementally helpful. In particular, I have found the nod and breathe progression especially helpful, I think because it takes away the "all or nothing" situation that usually accompanies the exploration for the perfect timing and positioning for breathing (i.e. with a commitment to breathe at every new try for the perfect position), with all it's attendant stress and hurriedness. Through this opportunity for safe exploration I believe I'm inching, ever slowly, towards the ideal breathing time, place and sequence.

Last edited by sclim : 11-30-2014 at 04:30 AM.
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  #134  
Old 02-01-2016
sachintha sachintha is offline
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Hi,
Few questions regarding the nod drill:
1. does the rotation of the head by 90 degrees follow (be in sync with) the shoulder?
2. does the counter rotation (back to the streamline position) happen also in sync with the shoulder or independent of it?
3. is there a video of someone performing this drill?

Regards,
Sachintha.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
This is a combination of some breathing advice I've given in two recent threads over at beginnertriathlete.com

I decided to put them in their own thread for easy finding, and for specific comment or questions. I use these breathing descriptions and progressions not only in my own personal practice, but also in my four week triathlon swimming clinics.

(I'm especially intrested in how feedback differs from the TI peeps vs. the BT peeps).

Please let me know if this is helpful or not once you try it out in a pool. Also, there is a LOT of information here, every focal point mentioned could be used for it's own session for anywhere from 5 to 15 mintues of dedicated practice. Don't expect to work all the points well the first time you try. I use a similar progression in my swim workouts about once per week if not more often, or anytime I feel my breathing stroke is starting to break down.

Also, if you have additional breathing focal points, please post & share

Enjoy.

-----------
The most common breathing flaw is lifting the head, either partially or all the way out of the water. IN order to lift the head, another part of the body must compensate...your arm. The hand pushes straignt down to the bottom of the pool in order to "buoy" the head upwards. This robs your stroke the opportunity for a good catch and forward propulsion is lost while drag soars. You have at most 2-3 strokes to regain your balance & streamline before it's time to breath again.

Achieving a well balanced, streamlined breathing stroke starts with a "weightless" head. A weightless head is one that is entirely supported by the buoyant force of the water. if your head is fully supported, then your arms are freed of the duty to push down on the water to support your head. A weightless head enables weightless arms.

Weightless arms can float forward to part the water like a torpedo, (I often visualize the water parting for me like the Red Sea parted for moses!) and slowly create a hook shape (EVF) to catch the water in front of you. Introducing a moment of glide at the front extension of the stroke allows your palm/wrist/forearm to find the thickness of hte water and face towards your feet. This is the catch and will allow you to anchor your body in the water. The spearing of the opposite arm entering the water along with the core rotation supplied by your hips and 2 beat kcik is what will allow your body to sail forward over your arm in the catch position

The following drill can help you find this streamlined, balanced stroke during the breathing stroke as well. The progressoin here will help you find the weightless head, weightless arm combination. When I do the "nod" drill, I look for a sensation of having my head supported as if laying on a pillow...never lifting my head, but letting it "rest" on the support that the water itself provides. All tension should be gone from the neck as the head remains weightless both when looking strainght down at the bottom of the pool as well as during the "nod" and by extension, the breath.

The breathing pattern here is every 4th stroke, ie same side breathing, alternating between a "nod" (described below) and a "breath". Aim to have the same sensations described during the nod as during the breath. During the nod, it si much easier to relax since you are not also focused on getting air. You'll need to slow down your pace just a hair so that you are comfortable breathing every 4th stroke. The more relaxed you are the easier it is.

The "NOD".
While swimming in your STREAMLINED position, simply rotate your head 90 degrees towards the side of the pool, but don't breath. Just "nod" your head to the side. You should be able to do this without lifting your head out of the water, without changing the tempo of your stroke & without losign either your side to side or front to back balance.

Practice alternating a nod with a breath (you obvioulsly still need to breath).

As you practice your nod, pay attention to the following focal points (i.e. do 25 yd repetitions, choose one focus for each, and practice each focal point on both right side & left side)

#1) "I SPY" - what do you "spy" (see) when you turn your head to the side? Focus on the visual information that comes to you when you turn your head. Note that you don't have to linger to the side to gather information and process it in your mind. This is a good skill to hone for sighting as well.

#2) "SHIMMER" - focus on the shimmering underside of the water. it's just a hair further of a head turn than the "I SPY" focus you just did. Look at the underside of the water and enjoy it.

#3) "SO NEAR" - this time, look at the AIR just above the surface of the water. Look how near it is to your face...it's just a tiny bit further away (or it should be). It won't take much more rotation to just sip a little bite of air.

#4) "WAVES" - as you swim in a streamlined position, your head will form a bow wave, even when swimming slowly. The bow wave will not be there if you are lifting your head out of hte water to breath. Well, it will, but you'll be putting your face right into it. With this repetition, turn your head just a littel further and look for the wave that forms around your head & face. Don't try to breath with this nod, just LOOK at the wave

THere are half a dozen more focal points you could work on while practicing breathing, but the above four should really help you "tune in" to what a proper streamlined breath should feel like.

Inevitably when I've done a progression like the one above, my next few 100s have seamless breathing. My fastest 25s have come breathing every 2 strokes after doing a progression like this. Keep practicing the "NOD", and soon your breathing stroke will feel just as streamlined, long and fast as your non-breathing stroke.
-----
"Be fabulous just as you are..." - Sunny S
"Let it snow, Let us run." -Tri42
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  #135  
Old 02-01-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sachintha View Post
Hi,
Few questions regarding the nod drill:
1. does the rotation of the head by 90 degrees follow (be in sync with) the shoulder?
2. does the counter rotation (back to the streamline position) happen also in sync with the shoulder or independent of it?
3. is there a video of someone performing this drill?

Regards,
Sachintha.
Hi Sachintha,

1. Yes, chin follows shoulder. 2. Head rotates back to neutral (goggles down) after nod (or getting air). 3. Nod demo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBuJwTPdM_w

Stuart
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  #136  
Old 02-01-2016
sachintha sachintha is offline
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Thanks Stuart. Will give it a try tonight.
Just one more question. Is the head rotation in the breathing stroke, same as the in the nod stroke except you rotate further? Is that additional bit of head (chin) rotation for air still happen in sync with the shoulder or does the head (chin) lead the shoulder at the final stage after being in sync with it most of the time?

Regards,
Sachintha.
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  #137  
Old 02-02-2016
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Sachintha,

Yes, chin follows shoulder a bit more until nose/mouth breach surface, but you don't need to rotate body more. Start with the nod at 90 degs as shown in video. When you are comfortable with that timing, follow shoulder until one goggle is above surface and one below. In TI this is called the "Whale Eye". When comfy with "whale eye" with maintaining shoulder timing and and head/spine alignment (you are not lifting/tilting head). Then try to inhale when mouth breaches surface. If you you find only water, just return head back to neutral (goggle down) like you did in nod and "whale eye" and try again. Here's a blog that also has the nod progression and illustration breathing in the bow wave: Breathing It's Overrated.

Be patient with the breathing process and practice, before you know it - you will find air easily without interrupting stroke or rotating body more to get it.

Stuart
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  #138  
Old 02-02-2016
sachintha sachintha is offline
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Thanks Stuart. Yesterday I did the nod drill prior to doing lesson 8 of the self coached perpetual motion video series. I can confirm that it is a super cool drill that I reaped immediate benefit. I still need to reduce the amount of water I take on in each breath. Perhaps Popeye breathing can help a bit?

P.S: I started to rebuild my stroke after a not so good swim in my first sprint distance triathlon just few weeks back. During the process I stopped swimming laps to fade away my muscle memory of my poor technique. Just by technique along I managed to reduce almost 1 min in my 100m time within about 3 weeks (anyway to begin with I had a very slow pace of 3:30 per 100m. But I never swallowed water while breathing mostly because of head lifting which I paid back the price by dropping the hips). My next goal is to minimise water swallowing which is only going to get worse in open water :) and that is one reason why I started looking into breathing drills
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  #139  
Old 02-03-2016
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sachintha View Post
Thanks Stuart. Yesterday I did the nod drill prior to doing lesson 8 of the self coached perpetual motion video series. I can confirm that it is a super cool drill that I reaped immediate benefit. I still need to reduce the amount of water I take on in each breath. Perhaps Popeye breathing can help a bit?

P.S: I started to rebuild my stroke after a not so good swim in my first sprint distance triathlon just few weeks back. During the process I stopped swimming laps to fade away my muscle memory of my poor technique. Just by technique along I managed to reduce almost 1 min in my 100m time within about 3 weeks (anyway to begin with I had a very slow pace of 3:30 per 100m. But I never swallowed water while breathing mostly because of head lifting which I paid back the price by dropping the hips). My next goal is to minimise water swallowing which is only going to get worse in open water :) and that is one reason why I started looking into breathing drills
Sachintha: I don't think there is any other way around it. As a water phobic guy who used to lurch his mouth out of the water, it has taken me a good year to get comfortable breathing on my good side without lurching or bobbing up. I am now working on my bad side, after thinking I had it solved, when actually I hadn't really even come close. Especially on my bad side there was and is still a lot of water ingestion, and I think there will be for a long time to come. Funny, on my good side (my right side), I got the water sorting out in my mouth pretty quickly (as I remember), and I am now super confident on that side, not even a hint of water/air confusion.

You just gotta put your mouth at the waterline and work at it until you get it.
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