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  #1  
Old 04-26-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Near Basingstoke, England.
Posts: 137
RobM77
Default Getting out of breath

I'm after some advice and thoughts if that's ok.

Until this time last year I couldn't swim more than 25 metres without feeling completely out of breath and needing to rest for a minute or two before continuing. As a keen (and reasonably competent) runner and cyclist, I wanted to do triathlon, and even if I limited myself to sprint events I still had to swim 750 metres, so I knew I really needed to work on my swimming!

At that point, I'd had one to one lessons and group lessons at my local pool, but other than teaching me the basics of front crawl they weren't helping, as I couldn't get past 25 metres without feeling exhausted, so I searched for a better, independant coach, online and the first person I found taught TI!

The coach I found turned out to be really good, and since then, I've been having lessons with her for an hour every two or three weeks and practising three times a week. Sure enough, when I started my technique was very poor - balance all wrong (very "leg heavy"), kicking too much etc, and now after a year of learning TI, my stroke has transformed. I'm not Shinji-smooth yet, but I'm an awful lot better than I was a year ago! However, my endurance is now up to just 50 metres, after which I am gasping for air and can't continue until i've rested for a few minutes and got my breath back. I think it might be the breathing pattern I'm struggling with - I can't even walk by breathing out....in..out.....in, let alone jog or run (or swim!).

So, a year later I'm nowhere near the standard where I can enter a triathlon or even just swim for fitness. Can anyone suggest anything? As it is, I plan to just continue having lessons and practising my TI, but given the huge gulf between 50 metres and 750 metres I'm beginning to wonder if it's actually possible.
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  #2  
Old 04-26-2011
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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RobM77

Your situation is not unusual. The first question which you need to answer is, how relaxed are you in the water? One can practice till hell freezes over and if there is not comfort in the water, good breathing technique won't happen.

How do you feel doing the basic balance drills? Superman Glide, skating, underswitches? These are the basis for good balance and in fact do not rely on breathing other than continual exhalation while your face is in the water. When one becomes more skilled in skate and switch drill you can roll to air and back.

I for one still have a tendency to not exhale properly especially when I focus on specific new areas. Not exhaling properly leads to CO2 build up and will quickly lead to that gassed feeling.

In closing there has been a great deal of discussion on this forum, do a search of the threads regarding out of breath and breathing difficulties. I am sure others will contribute much more than I have.

If you have the ability to shoot a video and post it will be most helpful also.
Do not give up it can be a very slow journey but more than doable.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy
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  #3  
Old 04-26-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Thanks Westy. I have exactly the same issue with the drills, even if performed really slowly. When I roll to the air I relish the opportunity to mouth breathe for a bit, but then at the end of the length I normally need a rest. In fact I can't even follow a swimming breathing pattern right now, just sat at my desk, without getting out of breath.

I'd say I'm very relaxed in the water. The endless pool feels a bit weird to me (I never liked treadmills either), but down the pool I find it very relaxing and that's part of what I love about swimming.

I'll post a video next week and link to it on this thread.
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  #4  
Old 04-26-2011
robedon robedon is offline
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robedon
Default I was the same story as you

I was in the same boat. I felt fit in other disciplines, and put in a lot of time practicing, lessons, and TI class.

the thing that helped was I started swimming with a buddy in January. In January, we were doing 200 yard sets. then 2 weeks later we went to 300 as our long set, then the next week 400, then 600, then 800, fast forward to today, we do 1500 yard sets with some shorter sets with speed work in them.

so the thing that changed was I learned how to swim through the out of breath feeling.. you said you run, don't you get that out of breath feeling when you get started on a run, and then get into a rhythm and your breathing stabilizes? same thing, with the exception of your face being in the water.

just about every swim, around that 200-300 yard point, I get the out of breath feeling, and then forget about it a few laps later.

good luck..
you can shoot me an email if you want to talk about it more.. I really was in the same boat as you until recently..
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2011
RobM77 RobM77 is offline
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Thanks Rob, that's encouraging. My coach assumed I just needed to push past the barrier, but I tried and I literally feel like I'm about to burst - I simply have to breathe properly after 30-60 seconds, regardless of the speed I'm swimming; I feel like I've been holding my breath (even though I'm not).

I know what you mean with running - usually about five minutes into a run I'll feel like stopping, but I push on anyway and the feeling passes. I don't get it with cycling, but that's because with cycling you can start slow and work up to maximum effort for a ride, whereas with swimming and running you're either going or you're not. Swimming is a different feeling though, in that I'm not physically tired at all, just breath starved. I get the same issue breathing with a swimming pattern at my desk now - I feel like I have to open my mouth and breathe properly after just 30-60 seconds.

Do you (and others) breathe out through your nose under the water, and then in through the mouth when turning your head? It's the nose/mouth thing that's getting me - I never use my nose to breath and in doing so it just doesn't work.
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Old 04-26-2011
daveblt daveblt is offline
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You know something , even after swimming TI for over 15 years and even after giving lots of advice over the years to others about breathing I still can't understand why I still feel as if I also get out of breath to easy .I tried swimming every other stroke instead of every third and it seemed a little better but not great . On top of that I tried increasing my stroke rate a little from 11 to 12 or 13 strokes for 25 yds which seemed a little better but still not great . I have also seen some conflicting advice on this forum that suggests it's not necessary exhale fully on each exhale if you are only swimming at low speeds vs the usual exhale fully to clear your lungs .Now even I'm getting confused . Some people just seem to swim forever but I have to stop every so often . Even though it may help I really don't feel like increasing my stroke rate any more than I already have because then my lead arm will probably no longer feel patient and I may feel as if I'll feel as if my arms will be windmilling too fast . I'd like to hear some more advice from others so we can try to get this breathing issue solved .

Dave
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  #7  
Old 04-26-2011
triall55 triall55 is offline
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triall55
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I also feel better when I increase my stroke rate,my breathing becomes more relaxed and I swim faster.The problem is keeping a patience lead hand,I tend to get quicker with the pull. I have been working on it and there are times when I really feel relaxed and the breathing comes easier.I glide much better to my none breathing side. I just started TI in Jan. and have really improved my swimming but I still struggle with the breathing. I can only breath comfortly on my right side but keep working on breathing left as well.I think that breathing is the biggest issue for a lot of swimmers. It is hard to add it to TI but keep working it into the drills and you will get better.Some days I can take a bite of air on skate and switch drills,on others I roll to sweet spot and take 3 breaths.Keep at the drills and the distance swimming will come.
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  #8  
Old 04-26-2011
jeetkevdo jeetkevdo is offline
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jeetkevdo
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From my experience, I find that being able to swim for distance (after you achieve a certain level of competency and are to control pace*) is largely mental. I was stuck at about 150 yds for a few months... then one day I doubled that distance... the next week I swam for 45 minutes. Then.... I couldn't exceed 150 yds for another two weeks. Then I swam for a continuous hour last Wednesday.

The difference? I was able to relax and get into a rhythm. I also play the game where I shoot for 25 min. Then I say I can go another 5 minutes... then anther five, and so forth and so forth.

When I'm not able to relax, I can't get my distance. I suspect the more I practice relaxing, the more I'll be able to relax.


*Pacing... I think starting at a very relaxed pace and building from there is useful. But even that is largely mental... being able to control your speed... fighting the urge to get to the wall asap.

-Kevin
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  #9  
Old 04-27-2011
tab tab is offline
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tab
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I have a fright of water background. It has been difficult to get over that hump, I am still climbing. I keep realizing that the longer I stay in the pool the more comfortable I am. Drills help and even more I find if I do something different, bob up and down in the deep end pushing off the bottom of the pool exhaling through the bob and gulping a nice breath a few times will calm me down and relieve the out of breath feeling I get after a 50 yard swim. I also will dive a few times from the edge of the pool and or the block if the guard is not too busy with a lot of people in the pool. Different strokes will help, I am trying to mix them up. I also think it is helpful to swim with company, the added push you get from other swimmers helps me. I swim mostly by myself, though so I have to try to keep up with the swimmer 2 lanes over, in some cased ahead of, but there is not a lot of that.

There are more walls in the pool than just the ones at the end of the pool. The breathing wall mentioned above is another. I am getting excited to see what open water feels like with out the hard tiled walls. Will the breathing wall still be present at the same distance? Or will it fade away into the mirky depths? Water temp still a breath taking 44 degrees in the local pond, even found a leach while taking the water temp the other day, it was not moving very fast.
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  #10  
Old 04-27-2011
foxjohng foxjohng is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
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foxjohng
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A weird thing that helps me get a good breathing rhythm is to exhale audibly under water. Hearing the breathing cycle seems to help me keep it regular.
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