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dgk2009 07-23-2012 01:26 PM

Breaking through the wall.
I feel my biggest issue now is pushing myself past the point of feeling out of breath to where my breathing will start to relax,I know T.I says swimming is'nt about endurance but dont you need a certain amount to keep going,I've been doing drills,drills,drills for about 5-6 months now,feel like it's time to start doing laps again but still get out of breath,how can I break through the wall??

tony0000 07-23-2012 01:56 PM

I'm not sure about "pushing yourself" to where your breathing is "relaxed." That seems slightly misguided . . . .

Of course, without seeing you, it's difficult to diagnose your problem. Is it that you're not getting enough oxygen or that you're needing too much oxygen? So how about trying this experiment. Try swimming with a Finnis swimming snorkel and see whether you're still running out of breath. If you now can swim laps consistently, your problem is your breathing. You have to work on turning to breathe in a manner and tempo that allows you to get more oxygen. If you can't swim laps consistently with the snorkel, the problem is your stroke. You're working too hard. Try slowing down, using less kick, and pulling slower.

If you try the snorkel, let me know how it works!

Good luck,


WFEGb 07-23-2012 02:18 PM

Hi dgk2009,
  • You're not allone with that issue. Many of us do know it actually or from former times.
  • Have a tight look at RobM77's thread "Getting out of breath". Sure you'll find nearly every breathing facette there.
  • Get the O2toH2O DVD. You'll find many tips. Some will be helpful for you.
  • Ask the forum if special hints needed.
  • Last but not least: Stay patient with yourself (and TI....). Many of us needed several hours and km before finding our personal breathing pattern. And for most of us there is plenty improvement left.

Joy and success,

dgk2009 07-23-2012 04:17 PM

some of it is I know I have a bad habit of holding my breath to a certain extent,I dont mean completly holding my breath,I'm exaling out my nose but not like I should and I can tell the more tense I am the more I tend to do it,one thing I do is blow out all my air and sink to the bottom of the pool to get used to letting my air out,but I dont know if this helps or not,but less than 2 weeks till my T.I swim clinic so a lot of issues will be addressed I hope.

ian mac 07-24-2012 02:24 AM

Who says you can't do laps?
Go ahead and do laps. Just do them mindfully. Set a short term goal and share it with us, we will help and encourage. Every time that I go to practice this beautiful art and sport, I have a focus and a workout either written down or revised several times in my mind before entering the water.

Depending on my goal I will do a variety of drills and laps. Look at my posts in "Formula to a faster 1500" - I usually swim between 3,00-5,000 metres (about 120 -200 laps). Each lap has a purpose, each stroke is mindful and I am ALWAYS thinking about technique.

If you look at Terry's posts in " Terry's practices summer 2012" you will see detailed, rigorous sets that surely constitute laps.

So lap away to your heart's content. Just have a purpose and execute it mindfully. Don't be hard on yourself, rest is an integral part of swim practice. When you get fatigued, take a break - this too is part of learning to become a better swimmer. Please give us an idea of your goals, and we can make helpful suggestions.
ian mac

andyinnorway 07-24-2012 06:24 AM


Originally Posted by dgk2009 (Post 29618)
I feel my biggest issue now is pushing myself past the point of feeling out of breath to where my breathing will start to relax,I know T.I says swimming is'nt about endurance but dont you need a certain amount to keep going,I've been doing drills,drills,drills for about 5-6 months now,feel like it's time to start doing laps again but still get out of breath,how can I break through the wall??

You are right that there is an imaginary wall with regards to perpetual swimming. I remember the first few times I pushed past 400m was a mental challenge.

There is a settling in period where you will feel out of breath and then it passes as your body relaxes into the task.

This gets less each time you get past this mark.

I am 18 months into my swimming and this week I did a 3K 4 laps 750m race. The hardest part was the back straight of lap 2 (circa 1100m) which is where the wall you talk about came from, but you can relax and focus your way through it.

Another thing that helped me was to think of the turn to air as a relaxing moment, don't push the air out, just focus on the relaxing. Think how a long jumper looks before they start their run. There's always a big exhale but its the relaxation that comes with it that's key.

good luck.

dgk2009 07-24-2012 07:41 AM

relaxing is my number one problem.

hippo 07-24-2012 08:33 AM


Originally Posted by dgk2009 (Post 29659)
relaxing is my number one problem.

Me too!! Something which helped me was to try and swim wth as little effort as possible. I mean really consciously forget about making forward motion at all. Slow, relaxed and breathing whenever you need.
It helps me, I do as a part of my warm ups almost every time I swim.
Do not time yourself
Do not count strokes

Just swim a length with absolutely no power or effort.

Then gradually add a little tension in again- I put it in my wrists to stop my hands being overcome by water resistance.
Try adding the minimal ammount to get moving.

Hope this helps a bit!

dgk2009 07-24-2012 01:32 PM

yeah the lifeguards tell me I swim fast which is a shock to me because I'm not trying to,I think it's cause I tend to go balls to the walls with my running and cycling and so my mind thinks I need to swim that way,gotta slow down and relax.

talisker 07-25-2012 06:01 PM

Making a breakthrough however small
I too sympathize with your frustration and share your feeling that if I could just truly relax the freestyle breathing should be surmountable. I have only been swimming for ten months. Always comfortable in water but never learned freestyle so never had to deal with being comfortable with having my face in the water for prolonged periods. So I started with the SS dvd which got me going and their forums are very good,too. Tried TI's breathing dvd but did not seem to get much from that. The TI forum has been very helpful especially as newbies like me attempt to absorb all that is needed. I have used a teacher here at our pool and that has been very helpful for instant feedback. But as others have said, sounds so trite, there is just no substitute for swim, swim and then swim again. I go 5-6 days a week at 5:00am but can only swim 30 minutes due to having to get to my work, so the number of hours I have put in over ten months is not that large---who said you needed 10,000 hours to get competent at this kind of task?

Well, last Saturday I had a bit of a breakthrough, for me anyway. I have been struggling for weeks at being unable to push myself beyond 3 maybe 4 laps without having to stop...not really tired but just a bit panicky that my stroke was falling apart and I wouldn't be able to get the air I wanted. last Saturday, it was afternoon, the sun was streaming through the skylights and was shimmering off the bottom--just beautiful so unlike my usual 5:00am swim in harsh lighting. I practiced 20-30 dunks trying to get as relaxed as I could, then pushed off and stroking as slowly as I could, almost 'catch-up' drill and focusing on inhaling just a 'bite' of air, not huge gulps, and exhaling gently but continuously---I did six laps and stopped only because I was so surprised that I was actually keeping it all together!! I don't think I ever swam that relaxed and as others here have said, that is a large portion of what you have to learn to do. Alas, I have not been able to re-produce that same relaxed session but at least I know it is possible for me and just have to keep at it.

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