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  1. #1
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    Low Endurance while swimming

    I'm training for a sprint triathlon at the end of August, and I'm not at the point where my biking is excellent, my running is getting much better, but my swimming still needs desperate help. I've come from not being able to really swim at all and afriad of drowning to now having a pretty good freestyle technique however it's obviously not good enough. I was having trouble breathing particularly because water was keep going up my nose and made me keep choking on the water, I have sinus issues so I'm not able to push out enough air through my nose so I breathe through my mouth. I since have gotten a nose clip which has helped a TON and have allowed me to work on my technique more. I can now swim a few laps but I have one of two things happening...either my nose clip comes loose and I suck up water again or it feels like my HR is too high and I can't seem to get enough air. Assuming that my HR was my main issue I decided to take my HR monitor in the pool today and I was amazed at how low my HR actually was when swimming, it was only around 135 or 140 if not lower however it feels like my HR is at 170-180. I have tried to slow down my swimming and breathing on different amount of strokes and I still haven't had a huge amount of success with it.

    I'm a cyclist whom races already so I knew that the running and cycling wouldn't be an issue however I knew that the swimming would be quite a challenge. I have no idea what else to do, I have some people helping me with my technique and gave me some things to practice on to help with my endurance but with only a month to go I'm not seeing the results I want to. With a 1/3 mile swim ahead of me which I believe is about 23 laps in the pool I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to do it, maybe if I freestyle a little, then float on my back, and doggy paddle, maybe even a little underwater swimming....but my goal is to do it with as much ease as I can and without resorting to these not so efficient swimming methods.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Dave
    '02 Bianchi XL Boron (Training/Crit Bike)-'06 Specialized Stumpjumper (MTB)
    '05 Orbea Lobular 100 (RR/CR Bike)------'05 Colnago MIX (RR/CR Bike)
    '07 Redline Conquest Pro (CX Bike)------'05 Alan Ultral Cross (CX Pit/Backup Bike)

  2. #2
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    Hi DRLski,

    With you already being comfortable with your bike and run, and your Sprint Tri being about a month away, it sounds like you need to increase your training to include some extra swims before your Tri. I would suggest getting out of the pool and trying swimming the actual Tri course. Depending on how you do, you may want to get in touch with a local swim coach for a few lessons, or decide you just need to increase your swim training to several times a week. You may also want to check out http//www.trinewbies.com for some suggested swim workouts.

  3. #3
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    You might also want to check out www.beginnertriathlete.com

  4. #4
    One day at a time H2OChick's Avatar
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    As for the feeling of your heartrate being high, I'd say that has more to do with your breathing than what your heart is actually doing. Here are some things to think about.

    Try to breathe every 3rd stroke. Hold your breath while you're swimming along. On your last pull, before you turn your head to breathe, exhale. Immediately thereafter, you'll turn your head to breathe - inhale, put your face back down and hold your breath. You should never feel like you're panting and you should feel like your breathing is rhythmical. Even when I run or cycle, I keep a pattern to my breathing, according to my pedal strokes or strides. The same is true for swimming, with the only difference being that you should be holding your breath right up until you're about to turn to inhale. This also helps with buoyancy.

    As for the nose clip, I'm not sure what to say about that. My instincts say anything that restricts your breathing isn't good, but if you have sinus issues... I just don't know. You should be breathing out of your nose and mouth when you exhale - this prevents water from going up your nose.

    I'd say put on a pull buoy (your legs, being the big muscles, use the most oxygen) and work on getting a real rhythm to your breathing, and work on the timing of your exhale.

  5. #5
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    You might try an actual nose-covering mask instead of goggles until you get your breathing issues down. When I was learning how to do flip-turns, the mask saved me from snarfing the pool. Also, I know that until you get your endurance up in the pool, a snorkel might be helpful. That way you can concentrate on your form instead of your breathing. Once you get your buoyancy stuff settled, you can get rid of the snorkel.

    I suggest you eventually learn how to breathe on both sides of your freestyle. Maybe not for this upcoming first triathlon, but in the future it is most helpful.

    Fast swimmers who are slow on the bike & run don't win triathlons, anyway (me). There are a lot of people who freak on the swim portion, so you're not alone. You'll get it down. It just takes time in the pool.

  6. #6
    ???What??? barleyrocket's Avatar
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    Just like all things related to Tri.....how do you get better at biking.....go out and ride alot......how do I get better at running......run alot, and how do I get better at swimming....swim alot. Yes there are certain drills that might help in all 3 sports but the thing that will get us the furthest along is to go out and do each sport as much as possible.
    And like anything on the internet it's pretty hard to critique form without being able to see it. as Gordo Byrn (coachgordo.com) would say JFT (just f'n train).
    ???Huh???

  7. #7
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    ACtually, it sounds as if much of your problem is panic. Try to relax. You should be blowing bubbles the entire time your face is in the water. Not only will it prevent you from taking in water, the rhythm will help you relax and empty your lungs completely so you get more air in with each breath.

    The sinuses shouldn't be a problem if you are exhaling the whole time. Mine are pretty bad (actually very bad as I will have surgery to clear them in the fall) and I don't end up with water in my nose. If you are exhaling, even if your sinues are bad the pressure from the little bit of air escaping through your clogged sinus will hold off the water.

    Good luck.

  8. #8
    Ono! sestivers's Avatar
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    I was thinking that you're panicking a little bit also. Maybe some exercises to make you embrace your panicking would help. Get one of those plastic slates with a pencil attached to it from a diving store. Have your friends put a scrambled word or a simple math problem on it. Then have them throw it to the bottom of the pool. You have to go get it and answer the problem before you can come back up to the surface. After you can handle that, have your friends attack you on your way to retrieving it for 10-15 sec. It's going to feel like a lot longer than that at first, but the point is to learn to concentrate and understand that you will survive.When you can handle that, let them rip off your mask while attacking you, and you can also learn to put your mask back on while underwater then answer the problem. When you can handle all that, then I think you'll have a pretty good advantage over the other swimmers when you get bumped and be better at keeping the water out of your nose and lungs.
    Steve

  9. #9
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    for people new to swimming, panicing is probably the largest hurdle to overcome. being comfortable in the water will help you technique, training and mentality and thus will improve your ability by leaps and bounds. i will have to agree with the posts that mentioned panic as the culprit here and ill try to add to their info as well. i also think that water getting in your nose can be attributed to panic as well. if this helps at first, use it but as you become more relaxed, i would drop it because you will need the extra o2 that breathing from both mouth and nose provides. like h2ogirl said, swimming is all about rhythm and pace. the stroke should be smooth and efficient and how much and when you breath has everything to do with it. if you breath to your right, your opposite should will tend to drop down towards the bottom. in effect, this will make you sink and will throw your rhythm off. get into the habit of bilateral breathing early (breathing to both sides as opposed to just one). it will help your rhythm and you will conserve more energy. the biggest thing that helps is practice!!! if you want to improve, you are going to have to put in the time. being in aerobic shape is a great start, but there is nothing else that will help more than swimming. when i swam competitively, it would take me 2 months with 9 2hr practices a week so get in shape. if you put the time in, you will improve. let me know if you need any more info. i miss coaching

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