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  #1  
Old 10-19-2009
woodbldr woodbldr is offline
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woodbldr
Default Beginning swimmer and breathing

Hello all,

A brief history about myself, I am 45 and began swimming 4 months ago as part of a triathlon class. I have good fitness overall, I am able to comfortably complete 7 mile runs and 35 mile bike rides. However, I had no prior swimming experience before my tri class. In fact the first pool lesson was the first time I had been in a pool in 40 years. I am still learning TI techniques but have been having issues with breathing. I do not have any trouble when I do drills, only when I begin to put everything together. I watched the breathing lessons in the Easy Freestyle video and I read the recent thread by Nicodemus. I employed some of the techniques mentioned in both, even taking my time to stroke and exhale to keep from being rushed, but I still run out of breath after a lap. I also seem to get out of rhythm when I breathe on the second stroke. I have better rhythm when I breathe on the third or fourth stroke, but then I run out of air more quickly. I have made some progress, I have gotten to the point of taking only one breath on the second stroke instead of needing two or three breaths. My questions are if this is "normal" for a beginning swimmer, or am I expecting too much too soon? Would the O2 in H2O video provide any insight that the Easy Freestyle video doesn't in terms of breathing? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Danny
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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It's normal. Breathing on land just happens. Breathing in water is a technique. It will take a little time to develop good technique.
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  #3  
Old 10-19-2009
deepsinker deepsinker is offline
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Default Similar Problem to woodbldr

My problems are very similar. Once I go for the a (especially the second) breath, I lose all focus and struggle. In addition, I have a difficult time regaining my breath and experience extreme bloating. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm allergic to chlorine or some other chemical in the water. I am a very good athlete and am indeed frustrated with my lack of progress when I see so many others "get it". Any thoughts?
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  #4  
Old 10-19-2009
Mike from NS Mike from NS is offline
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Default easy does it ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepsinker View Post
My problems are very similar. Once I go for the a (especially the second) breath, I lose all focus and struggle. In addition, I have a difficult time regaining my breath and experience extreme bloating. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm allergic to chlorine or some other chemical in the water. I am a very good athlete and am indeed frustrated with my lack of progress when I see so many others "get it". Any thoughts?
Some things come more easily to some people than to others. Look at Naj in the Open Water thread. She started swimming a year ago and now is loving the cold open waters and looking at great distances. Others, myself especially, take a lot longer. I'd like to suggest that we may try too hard, expect greater results too soon and refuse to or can't relax -- as all who have mastered swimming to some degree tell us to. We just have to take things really slowly and get used to what happens as the results of our various "learning" movements. Thus the value of the drills. Balance and breathing seem to go hand in hand. When we learn to control our balance the breathing becomes more easily grasped... but it takes some of us longer than others. Be patient and keep Gloria Gaynor's song in your mind ..."I will survive". Positive thinking !! Nicodemus's suggestions gave me a solid push to a higher plateau than I was before reading his words. And when we learn to balance and find the breathing easier we will relax more and then the fun factor increases. And don't forget or sell short the benefits of deep Yoga breaths.

Mike
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2009
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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The beauty of this forum is you find out you are not alone. I urge you to read the posts I have put up over the last couple of months in reference to breathing. I am 63 have always been physically active with a good aerobic capacity running and biking. Step back two years and take a TI workshop Jan of 07. First is was a great experience then came the realization that I needed to completely reprogram my swimming. Balance what is that? It takes time, patience, practice and commitment. Those moments when I get it (Bingo) moments, this is what I want and have worked for. It is often most difficult for accomplished athletes to watch others and become frustrated because they don't get it. The bloated feeling that you experience may very well be the result of the need to get rid of the air, we have a tendency to breathe deeply and not exhale when struggling. You may want to try some breathing bobs focusing on the exhalation. Good luck, stick with it and you are by no means alone.

Westy
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Old 10-19-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepsinker View Post
My problems are very similar. Once I go for the a (especially the second) breath, I lose all focus and struggle. In addition, I have a difficult time regaining my breath and experience extreme bloating. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm allergic to chlorine or some other chemical in the water. I am a very good athlete and am indeed frustrated with my lack of progress when I see so many others "get it". Any thoughts?
Many people do have inefficient breathing. Some do even on land. What you seem to be experiencing is the final-breathe syndrome--inhaling and holding onto air like you will never get another breath. Well, it might be a little more subtle than that. Simply, you not exhaling as much as you need to. (Sound familiar?) That little bit of remaining air continues to build until you have nothing but stale air.

Keep in mind that the need to breathe is controlled by CO2, not O2. Without CO2 you would pass out and die before your body had a clue that you were low on O2. In the same way, excess CO2 will make you feel more desperate to breathe.

Try this: Lie on your bed and relax. Notice the movement of your belly as you breathe. Allow the belly to remain soft as it moves. Now focus on the belly falling as you exhale. Try exhaling a little more than usual without building too much tension. Then just relax and let the air flow back in on it's own. I guess this is just the opposite of taking a deep breath then letting it rush out as you relax.

When you swim, try taking in a smaller amount of air so you won't over-inflate. Then work on getting rid of the excess CO2 by exhaling more. Ultimately you will relax into balanced breathing. (Or you will sink to the bottom and die. But let's think positive!)
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  #7  
Old 10-19-2009
atreides atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodbldr View Post
Hello all,

A brief history about myself, I am 45 and began swimming 4 months ago as part of a triathlon class. I have good fitness overall, I am able to comfortably complete 7 mile runs and 35 mile bike rides. However, I had no prior swimming experience before my tri class. In fact the first pool lesson was the first time I had been in a pool in 40 years. I am still learning TI techniques but have been having issues with breathing. I do not have any trouble when I do drills, only when I begin to put everything together. I watched the breathing lessons in the Easy Freestyle video and I read the recent thread by Nicodemus. I employed some of the techniques mentioned in both, even taking my time to stroke and exhale to keep from being rushed, but I still run out of breath after a lap. I also seem to get out of rhythm when I breathe on the second stroke. I have better rhythm when I breathe on the third or fourth stroke, but then I run out of air more quickly. I have made some progress, I have gotten to the point of taking only one breath on the second stroke instead of needing two or three breaths. My questions are if this is "normal" for a beginning swimmer, or am I expecting too much too soon? Would the O2 in H2O video provide any insight that the Easy Freestyle video doesn't in terms of breathing? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Danny
I have a similar background to you and have a theory as to the nature of the problem. I run 3 10K's a week plus a light run of 2 to 3 miles. I think some runners including myself develop bad breathing habits. We're used to gulping air when we tire and breathe shallower as opposed to deeper. When we swim, our bodies behave the same way under stress as when we run. It wants lots of air, regularly.

Now there are lots of little things that you must do to change this. The main thing is to clear your lungs before you breathe. If you don't, you'll build CO2 which leads to that panickly "I got breathe now or else feeling". I "learned" to clear mine by (believe it or not) increasing my tempo. Now no matter what tempo I swim, I no longer do the tell tell "puh" before I breathe.

Assuming you're exhaling through the nose and inhaling through the mouth, you are at same place I am. Except I think I read that you felt better waiting three or four strokes to breathe. I used to think the same thing. What was happening is that I was more efficient when I didn't breathe regularly because I was no doubt committing many of the cardinal sins that create additional drag (raising my head causing my hips to lower, bad kick, bad mail slot entry,etc). When I fixed those things, breathing every other stroke practically cost me nothing and so I prefer it to waiting to breathe. Another thing to remember. When you're trying to get that low SPL, there is a tendency to glide face down and that leads to oxygen debt.

So what's the answer? I think it is breathe more frequently and constantly work the efficiencies. Right now my balance is much better and I have been working on smaller head movements to get air. But I think I still have some kinks to work out in my stroke. I still get a considerable amount of body fatigue after I swim which means I'm still working too hard. I think it is hip drive/ catch mechanics. Being a rather big fellow with long legs, I believe it will take getting over the efficiency hump where I "feel" like I'm moving with little effort. Its the psychological benefit that will ultimately allow me to relax and swim as long as I want to.
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  #8  
Old 10-19-2009
shuumai shuumai is offline
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I thought this might be of interest considering the topic. I just ordered a pulse oximeter for my father. It measures oxygen concentration in the blood as well as heart rate. I read about coaches using them with swimmers.

I got a good deal on a meter, maybe because it's pink. heh Only 35.15 USD after using a 5% off coupon code. Free shipping. I doubt that it's water-proof though.

Pulse oximeter: http://www.clinicalguard.com/fingert...dlp-p-161.html

The coupon codes are listed here: http://www.tjoos.com/Coupon/113822/ClinicalGuard.com

BTW, the word "pulse" doesn't refer to heart rate. It has to do with the way that the meter reads arterial blood flow.

I'd really like to play with one, but I can't even afford $35. T_T
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2009
woodbldr woodbldr is offline
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My experience is similar to what Atreides describes. In retrospect, working the efficiencies is actually what I have been doing. I have gotten more efficient but still need to work on various parts of stroke mechanics as well as getting rid of as much CO2 as possible. Thanks to everyone, your input has been great.

Danny
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2009
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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Splashungpat

Ain't it great to be a part of a group of imperfect people just trying to improve. I have done a great deal of teaching blue collar skills through my life finding great joy in watching others find knowledge and skills. I had some of the most fantastic mentors from teenager through military and fire service, a lifetime of wonderfull people sharing without expecting some tangible reward. I was shown how to always learn something from others learning, through their struggles and success.

Thats what is great about this forum. I had to take a step back on the whole breathing issue and do not consider it a failure but progress. With the help of many I will get it but also feel so strongly that only those who are comfortable in their own sking can share struggles.

Don't know if any of this makes sense, hope so, and what is the Belly Dance stuff been following post and wonder? Is it a passion or reference to something else.

Have a great day

Westy
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