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Old 07-24-07, 08:36 PM   #1
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Winded in the pool

I'll try to make this short. I can bike and run forever without getting tired. However swimming always makes me winded. I have tried breathing every 2 strokes.. 3 strokes and up to 6 strokes.. I feel most natural at 3 but i'm always winded after about 200m. I don't think my technique is too terrible. Has any of you ever felt like this when you began to "really" swim? What helped you overcome? Yes I've only been trying to swim for about 2 months.. and I have only had a slight improvement. It's kind of frustrating.
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Old 07-25-07, 06:09 AM   #2
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i'm like you. I seemed to get short of breath all too soon.

Good thing i had a friend with me in the pool and she commented that it's to do with my breathing and she helped me with some exercises.

Did further research in the library, and discovered just as spinning on the bike pedals is essential to effective cycling, breathing properly is essential to good swimming.

Maybe can google for good instructional sites and/or also check out bookstores/libraries on this.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07-25-07, 06:49 AM   #3
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I have some advice given to me by my TI instructor that changed my swim and my entire triathlon experience.

Stop kicking.

I was just like you exhausted in the pool after a few hundred yards. Your legs do not provide much propulsion unless you are an elite swimmer, they only provide balance. I used to try to kick harder to stay afloat, but kicking more or harder was making me sink and causing more drag.

When you are thinking not to kick you will actually flick your feet as your turn which is all you need. But more importantly, you are now using only 1/2 your body in the pool, thus using less energy, thus keeping your heart rate down, thus requiring less oxygen. Plus now you are saving your legs for the bike and run. I'm telling you just try it, since my TI instructor told me to stop using my legs, it has made an amazing differnce in my swim times and stamina
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Old 07-25-07, 07:23 AM   #4
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Pace.
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Old 07-25-07, 07:27 AM   #5
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Kicking was the biggest thing for me too. And when doing tri's I find that if I save my legs during the swim I more than make up that time on the bike.
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Old 07-25-07, 08:52 AM   #6
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I was holding my breath when my head was underwater. That caused me to have oxygen debt quickly due to excess CO2 that comes with holding your breath. I gradually practiced and got used to releasing air (exhaling) under water, that helped tremendously in my case. I am now able to go consistently with slow pace (100 m in 1min) for almost 3000 yards non-stop.

Also I should say that my VO2 max gained from running now translates to my long distance swim performance. I am building swim base now and next I should try to work on speed. Hope this helps.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:02 AM   #7
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Wait, 100M in 1 min is slow? Crap.... Maybe you should just not listen to my advice then.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:10 AM   #8
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Yeah, not sure how 100m in 1min is slow.....
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Old 07-25-07, 09:15 AM   #9
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Sorry to threadjack but just how fast do you swim when you aren't taking it easy Long Legs?
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Old 07-25-07, 09:26 AM   #10
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Correction, my fault, 50 m in 1 minute. (I wish I could do 100m in 1 min)
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Old 07-25-07, 10:01 AM   #11
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I do exhale almost the entire time my mouth/nose are in the water. I learned that one myself a few weeks ago. I'll try not kicking as it makes sense that it's mostly wasting energy and i am definitely not an elite swimmer. Right now I'm swimming at that slow pace of 50yrds/1min. Any other comments on my breathing? Anyone find if breathing more often or less often helps them? Just for more info.. I have also learned to breathe on both sides. That was kind of a pain when I first started...
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Old 07-25-07, 10:10 AM   #12
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I am a bilateral breather for right or wrong reasons, but I personally prefer bilateral in TRIs to keep things at sight.

You may try bilateral, however I do not know if it will help you in breathing. You may give it a try.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:07 AM   #13
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Oh, 50y/min, that is about what I do when I'm pacing myself also. Good to know I'm not too far off the pace.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:12 AM   #14
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i was a competetive swimmer before i even thought of triathlons...so when i first started my swimming it was all about trying to blow the guy beside me out of the water. when i started i was like you and the swim totally drained me and it was because i simply aws not getting a large enough breath when i went to take one. just make sure your exhaling and don't be afraid to take a breath after 1-2 strokes for now and slowly move up in your stroke/breath ratio. also there is a drill we do that our coach taught us...for increasing lung capacity push of and swim for as long as you can without taking a breath and then when you do take your breath make it huge and then do it again. i can do like a lap on a breath now and i only swam for 4 months i think....but anyway hope that helps you.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:34 AM   #15
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Oh, 50y/min, that is about what I do when I'm pacing myself also. Good to know I'm not too far off the pace.
All,

I do not want to digress here, but as I recently figured out how to go relativley long (~3000 yards at 50m/1min pace), am I on right track? Just like running, I thought it would be good to build base and get into speed specific training later. As I was not able to swim this long like a month ago, I am getting a lot of satisfaction out of this, however I am not sure if this is smart training though.

I thought I can do 3000 yards in each session for 3-4 of weeks every other day (with running/bike in between), then I could get into 100 reps, 200 reps etc.

Does this seem like a correct approach? Any comments appreciated.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:11 PM   #16
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Not kicking is probably good advice, especially as you're coming from a running/cycling background. Many runners do not have enough flexibility in their feet to kick effectively, and in some cases may actually go backwards if they're just kicking.

Other than that, I'd say slow down. 50y/min isn't fast for a competitive swimmer, but if you're not a swimmer it may be too fast for you right now. Find a pace that you CAN sustain for whatever distance you're trying for.
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Old 07-25-07, 10:15 PM   #17
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Check out the instructional materials available from "Total Immersion" by Terry Laughlin.

I have one of his books, and one of his DVD's, and have found them very helpful.

Bottom line...water is 800 times denser than air. You can *not* out-muscle it. It's all about technique, and once you get the technique down you won't get winded, or you'll be a lot faster, or both.

Oh, and not kicking is good advice too...most of your movement through the water is generated by hip rotation and gliding. Kicking, for most of us, only helps to keep the legs level.
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Old 07-26-07, 06:54 AM   #18
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i was a competetive swimmer before i even thought of triathlons...so when i first started my swimming it was all about trying to blow the guy beside me out of the water. when i started i was like you and the swim totally drained me and it was because i simply aws not getting a large enough breath when i went to take one. just make sure your exhaling and don't be afraid to take a breath after 1-2 strokes for now and slowly move up in your stroke/breath ratio. also there is a drill we do that our coach taught us...for increasing lung capacity push of and swim for as long as you can without taking a breath and then when you do take your breath make it huge and then do it again. i can do like a lap on a breath now and i only swam for 4 months i think....but anyway hope that helps you.
That's a good drill you mentioned. Thanks for this bit of good advice; i'll try it on my next swim session.
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Old 07-26-07, 09:59 AM   #19
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I was a competitive swimmer for a very long time and now coach at the University and club team level. When reading this advice I was cringing in pain however that is simply because I am coming from a competitive background. 1min for a 100m swim would be VERY slow for my guys, we regularly hit these speeds in practice...however they are training specifically for swimming so that is a little different.

As far as swimming for tri's go it is a different type of philosophy. The advice for not kicking depends on the person. Most non swimmers tend to kick to hard. In tri's you really want to have a 2 or 4 beat kick (kicks per stroke) which will save your legs. Technique is the biggest thing you can work on. The TI (Total Immersion) work mentioned above is a great and there are many many books and dvds out there on the subject.

My best advice for getting better at swimming is finding a Masters Team. A lot of YMCA's have them and other club programs will also run masters programs. These are show and go practices with a professional coach. Sometimes there is a fee however normally it isn't to bad. If you cant find one of these programs, building base miles is great. However when you run/bike do you just run/ride for the sake of riding? No! (well hopefully). Intervals are your friend. Intervals will increase your endurance, vo2, and your speed. Also you need to evaluate your goal, are you only doing sprint tris, half, or full? These are all things to consider cause you need to know what distance you are training for.
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Old 07-26-07, 10:15 AM   #20
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I was a competitive swimmer for a very long time and now coach at the University and club team level. When reading this advice I was cringing in pain however that is simply because I am coming from a competitive background. 1min for a 100m swim would be VERY slow for my guys, we regularly hit these speeds in practice...however they are training specifically for swimming so that is a little different.
1 minute for a 100m is one thing (although it's still quite fast for anyone but competitive swimmers), sustaining 100m/min over a triathlon distance is something else.
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Old 07-28-07, 08:11 PM   #21
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I did my tri today and did the 500m in 10:23. I would have done better but I looked at my watch at about 350m and got too excited and messed up my rhythm. I would have done sub 10... next time I won't look at the damn watch. here is the thread about the tri... Super Sprint Race Report
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Old 07-28-07, 08:24 PM   #22
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1 minute for a 100m is one thing (although it's still quite fast for anyone but competitive swimmers), sustaining 100m/min over a triathlon distance is something else.
You also have the advantage of flip turn kicks in the pool, with each turn you end up going almost 1/3 of short course pool, if you are swimming in short course. Open water long distance have no such advantage, you just keep hammering.

I find these 1 min/100m times etc quite confusing, those who can flip-turn better usually wins swimming races, so these times are not benchmark at all for triathlon.
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Old 07-28-07, 08:35 PM   #23
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I don't do the flipturns.. I'm a newbie to swimming. I've tried and i either end up doing it perfectly or i get water up my nose... so i just don't do them.. maybe i should practice them.. i'm sure it would have improved my time..
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Old 07-28-07, 08:42 PM   #24
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I don't either and the last time I did 750 m for a tri it was in about 13:30. You will improve and get under 10 pretty soon if you keep up the work. I'm about to move and have a pool everyday so I'm excited to be able to get wet again.
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Old 07-29-07, 08:47 PM   #25
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I've found a couple things have helped me enormously: First I learned the bilateral breathing and now it feels so normal I don't know which side I use to use exclusively; second the interval training has not only built up my speed and stamina, its also increased my self-confidence that I can handle the intensity of the water; and third I use a pull-bouy, which helps me ignore my lower body and just focus on the upper, and also gives me a bit of the feel of being in my wetsuit.
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