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derek73
January 22nd, 2012, 10:32 AM
Hello,

first of all thanks in advance for having a peek at this...

I'm 'only' 38 and I've had very severe asthma until my mid-twenties. I only managed to swim back then in small doses, and in recent decade or so, after my asthma 'left me' finally, I managed to get my swimming up to the (maybe puny but for me never before thought) level of being able to do 1Km breaststroke in 26-28 minutes depending on whether I'm having a good or bad day... This with just a couple of short stops only, trying to keep going as much as I can.

Now due to my back, last summer I was adviced to switch to freestyle, which before I only used for maybe 50m or so as 'fun' for speed. I manage almost exactly 17 seconds on 25m, but then I'm dead :)

I found the transition extremely difficult, although I have tuned it with expert help, made it much more relaxed & optimal than before. I also cycle a lot, with some weight training, did martial arts and I'm quite toned, people think I must be at quite some performance level... but I really am not:

Please be gentle, but since August 'til now, swimming 3-4 times a week, I find it basically impossible to get past a 100-150m barrier (sometimes even worse, whether it is in 25m or 50m pool that I can use locally). Then I have to stop and really catch my breath. This even at slow speed of doing 100m in about 2 minutes, which I know is... very slow. I breathe on every 3 strokes, can change to every 2 on same side when I get really tired but I try to sustain every 3. I watch in amazement much older people who continuously manage huge distances I can't get imagine doing.

Being out of breath and heart pumping triggers, admittedly, old panics and fears, it used to continue with extremely bad things when I was a kid.

But if one assumes my current freestyle is not completely inefficient (I'm told it really isn't)... I just can't tell whether I carry some legacy from asthma days and simply I am never going to be able to increase my stamina AND I might do myself damage... or I simply have a mental block around the 'barrier'.

But that barrier, as per above, comes so early it makes me almost cry with frustration sometimes. I set out with realistic goals and I just can't seem to progress, my fear being that I just don't know beyond what point I really give myself a heart attack or something :)

But seriously, I tried to work on stamina by doing 100m-150m chunks with increasing intensity, after a proper warm-up, but by 2nd 'dose' I get so knackered I need to either stop or switch to breastroke after 50m...

Due to my past, I never managed to do any stamina-based sports, and I just don't know what a serious barrier feels like in swimming either, or one that can be just ignored and try and soldier through it.

It just can't be this bad physically... have you encountered such 'cases'? IF based on the above it is even possible to give advice, and if it's just a heck of a mental block, not sure how to get past it.

Any thoughts much appreciated, thanks in advance,
D.

Allen Stark
January 22nd, 2012, 03:46 PM
First I'd say start off at breathing every stroke(same side breathing.)You have a history of breathing problems so you want to make sure you have plenty of oxygen early.I expect when you get a little short of breath you tighten up and get tired faster.
You might even try breathing every pull.I find that clumsy,but I understand some can do that just fine.
Most elite swimmers are doing same side breathing on distance over 200 and many on 100s and up.

derek73
January 22nd, 2012, 04:05 PM
many thanks for already looking at this - indeed, admittedly I've been really trying to keep the ideal every 3rd stroke symmetric breathing, but I start to wonder whether I can do it at all for longer. I have been in a way revisiting my childhood frustrations, where physically I feel perfectly OK and could go on and on, but simply lungs don't let me continue...
I received very firm but conflicting teaching (namely, must breathe out slowly vs. must exhale explosively), and to be honest for me slow gradual exhaling works best somehow. But then as you say, I just end up progressively going low on oxygen somehow, even if I give myself a chance to inhale slowly and properly.
I'll definitely try switching after a short while to what you just described, do that on one side for a length of a few, then switch to other side just to balance it out.
Thanks again and to everybody who might look at this - as I really had despair and embarrassment fighting each other for months :)

philoswimmer
January 22nd, 2012, 04:12 PM
Nothing to be embarrassed about here... you're working hard and trying to deal with your situation. I have asthma myself (although not severe asthma) and know what it's like to face that fear.

You say that others say your stroke is efficient. Who has looked at it? I'd be sure that the person looking at it is a trained coach. This seems to me to be a likely culprit.

I'd also echo the suggestion to breathe every stroke. You can breathe on your right side going down and your left side going back to keep things balanced. And yes, blow your air out slowly -- you definitely don't want to blow it out all at once!

FlyQueen
January 22nd, 2012, 05:10 PM
Are you exhaling under water? I find a lot of people don't realize or don't. Exhale SLOWLY while your face is under water.

orca1946
January 22nd, 2012, 06:30 PM
What works for others m ay not work for you. I would try breathing more often to forestall the problems.Keep at it, many give up !

__steve__
January 22nd, 2012, 08:58 PM
Fix your form:)

Celestial
January 22nd, 2012, 09:56 PM
Everyone is right about having someone look at your form. But one thing I have to say (I have serious asthma too, so bad that one time my O2 sat went down to 78%!!) anyway, when I know I'm not wheezing, but I still feel really out of breath, I talk to myself, and tell myself "you're ok, you're ok" - after a while, my breathing calms down, and I kinda get past that "wall". Maybe that will help you too.

Sojerz
January 22nd, 2012, 11:10 PM
You might try a short pair of swim fins to ease the load, to provide propulsion, and depending on your current form, to pick your body up in the water and allow you to swim more efficiently. Swim at a relaxed pace with the swim fins, breathing every stroke on your natural side, and thinking about glide and distance per stroke. This should ease the load and help you go past the 150-200m barrier. The fins are a great tool to build confidence. Once you're feeling comfortable, you can pick up the pace with the fins to help build aerobic capacity. Also swim some of your reps (25s and 50s) without the fins breathing every stroke on your natural side. Knowledgeable coaching from time to time will help progress too. And, have you tried swimming some backstroke? Breathing is less of an issue.

derek73
January 23rd, 2012, 04:00 AM
thanks to all - definitely would try changing the breathing.
In terms of form, I have taken 2 months of 1on1 coaching from someone professional who also trains for thriathlon, as I was more interested in the endurance side than building up some speed technique.

So to a degree I must trust his 'tuning' of my technique/form, it all certainly felt radically different compared to what I started with, that was not sustainable in his words by anybody :), not just because of how tense I was, but also too much leg work, breathing was a mess, I was also going past center line often on hand entry etc. -- so quite a mess as it was never 'my style' before and had to then reprogram a lot of my brain, he went back to drills with me etc.

This then (i.e. ending up with some faith in my resulting form) contributed to my frustration, because until then I thought: fine, it doesn't work because I am really not doing front crawl properly and I'm wasting much more energy etc.

You're all quite right I think, just 'mechanically' sticking to ideal symmetric breathing every 3 might be too ideal for me...

Also with regard to question on exhaling: indeed, I found that by 'accident' I was always (and still do it that way) exhaling slowly progressively under water, rather than a big explosive push just before inhaling. This wasn't conscious, just felt more normal and didn't have to put in extra effort for the exhaling part this way.

Thanks again and will experiment in coming weeks-

ande
January 23rd, 2012, 10:46 AM
Hello,
first of all thanks in advance for having a peek at this...
I'm 'only' 38 and I've had very severe asthma until my mid-twenties. I only managed to swim back then in small doses, and in recent decade or so, after my asthma 'left me' finally, I managed to get my swimming up to the (maybe puny but for me never before thought) level of being able to do 1Km breaststroke in 26-28 minutes depending on whether I'm having a good or bad day... This with just a couple of short stops only, trying to keep going as much as I can.
Now due to my back, last summer I was adviced to switch to freestyle, which before I only used for maybe 50m or so as 'fun' for speed. I manage almost exactly 17 seconds on 25m, but then I'm dead :)
I found the transition extremely difficult, although I have tuned it with expert help, made it much more relaxed & optimal than before. I also cycle a lot, with some weight training, did martial arts and I'm quite toned, people think I must be at quite some performance level... but I really am not:
Please be gentle, but since August 'til now, swimming 3-4 times a week, I find it basically impossible to get past a 100-150m barrier (sometimes even worse, whether it is in 25m or 50m pool that I can use locally). Then I have to stop and really catch my breath. This even at slow speed of doing 100m in about 2 minutes, which I know is... very slow. I breathe on every 3 strokes, can change to every 2 on same side when I get really tired but I try to sustain every 3. I watch in amazement much older people who continuously manage huge distances I can't get imagine doing.
Being out of breath and heart pumping triggers, admittedly, old panics and fears, it used to continue with extremely bad things when I was a kid.
But if one assumes my current freestyle is not completely inefficient (I'm told it really isn't)... I just can't tell whether I carry some legacy from asthma days and simply I am never going to be able to increase my stamina AND I might do myself damage... or I simply have a mental block around the 'barrier'.
But that barrier, as per above, comes so early it makes me almost cry with frustration sometimes. I set out with realistic goals and I just can't seem to progress, my fear being that I just don't know beyond what point I really give myself a heart attack or something :)
But seriously, I tried to work on stamina by doing 100m-150m chunks with increasing intensity, after a proper warm-up, but by 2nd 'dose' I get so knackered I need to either stop or switch to breastroke after 50m...
Due to my past, I never managed to do any stamina-based sports, and I just don't know what a serious barrier feels like in swimming either, or one that can be just ignored and try and soldier through it.
It just can't be this bad physically... have you encountered such 'cases'? IF based on the above it is even possible to give advice, and if it's just a heck of a mental block, not sure how to get past it.
Any thoughts much appreciated, thanks in advance,D.

First, what's your goal?

Sounds like you're trying too hard

be more relaxed and efficient when you swim
check out
Total Immersion Swimming Freestyle Demo by Shinji Takeuchi - YouTube

Learn proper pacing, you want to even or negative split your swims,
hold the same times
if you work too hard, you'll go slower

Train 5 - 6x/wk instead of 3 or 4

Train with a team, get coaching

On longer swims, Breathe every 2 instead of 3


Follow your progress with test sets that you do every other week: do
5 or 10
50's or 100's
taking 5, 10, 15, or 20 seconds rest at the end of each one,
what pace can you hold?

Improve on your push offs and streamlines, push off harder and glide further

What suit are you wearing?
Wear a faster suit in practice.

Be patient, it takes weeks and months to get in better shape

derek73
January 23rd, 2012, 04:22 PM
many thanks, extremely useful - realistically my goal is to be able to get up to 1Km and beyond in front crawl, so going back to what I used to do in terms of distance in breaststroke.
Time/speed as such doesn't bother me, never imagined myself working on speed, I'm glad to use swim as my main exercise and just get some proper distances covered as continuous nice long workout.
Thanks for the recipe, too, I find it realistic to do as you wrote, in reasonable chunks with small break in-between, then work up intensity hopefully. I'll try and see progress, very grateful for your time & understanding--

philoswimmer
January 23rd, 2012, 04:39 PM
thanks to all - definitely would try changing the breathing.
In terms of form, I have taken 2 months of 1on1 coaching from someone professional who also trains for thriathlon, as I was more interested in the endurance side than building up some speed technique.

So to a degree I must trust his 'tuning' of my technique/form, it all certainly felt radically different compared to what I started with, that was not sustainable in his words by anybody :), not just because of how tense I was, but also too much leg work, breathing was a mess, I was also going past center line often on hand entry etc. -- so quite a mess as it was never 'my style' before and had to then reprogram a lot of my brain, he went back to drills with me etc.



Not to sound biased, but I think I'm not the only one on the discussion forum who is a bit skeptical of triathlete swimmers on the whole (this is obviously a generalization -- some are really great). In a less biased vein, if you hang around these forums long enough, you learn that working on form is never finished; people continually strive to improve their form. So, as a suggestion, you might have someone film you swimming and then post it to the Forums for feedback. Sometimes it's helpful to have different eyes/different opinions taking a look.

derek73
January 24th, 2012, 03:57 AM
I probably (definitely) repeat myself in saying thanks, really -

Regarding the issue with triathlonists, I agree and appreciate the opinion very much, it also represents quite a different world from where I (to some level) would eventually like to end up in. So for now I think the most useful was that he switched me from high-intensity , tense (and quite wrong) technique elements to something more sustainable, but on even some technique details I had to object (e.g. thumb first entry, which even my Dad very firmly counter-recommended - but maybe this is just due to what 'school' one emerged from). I wasn't sure about the very 'mandatory' every 3rd stroke breathing either and already from all your valuable replies, it seems that it is normal to switch to something that in essence stays bilateral, just that I alternate one side with another over e.g. pool length. I just can't imagine, from what I feel, that I could sustain with my lungs that kind of ideal breathing pattern.

And sorry if I created the impression that I believe my form is perfect :), far from me -- I just mean that I have come from an extremely bad place to something that at least partially puts my mind at rest about my limitations being purely due to hugely inefficient form. I used to joke last year that my mid-life crisis kicked in the form of trying to re-train myself for better technique, so I definitely intend to work on it.

Thanks for the video idea, I might have the courage to embarrass myself :), but it will be extremely useful.

Kind regards,
D.

derek73
February 7th, 2012, 09:09 AM
As a quick update, I have experimented with not rigidly sticking to breathing on every 3rd.

To see if without any change in form (apart from the obvious breathing pattern change itself) I can feel some difference, now tried in three sessions doing first 60-80m (in 20m pool) or 50-75m (in 25m pool) with breathing on every 3, then switch to every 2. Then started alternating sides on each length, also tried every 5-6 strokes changing sides.

The result surprised me, first of all I managed in last two sessions, starting at usual warm-up tempo so that I can get some comparison, 20 lengths in 20m pool - and then stopped, without being totally dead as before, just kinda tired :) and then short break, and I could carry on again.

I never in my life managed 400m without stopping, at any speed :) since I "re-trained" to try using front crawl as main style. Might be laughable, it's OK, I can't hear it from here :) but I was over the moon considering how frustrated I was last few months. I can't tell you what it felt like just not stopping for 'ages' and being able to carry on keeping pace.

So thanks for getting me away from rigid obsession with 'must do every 3rd breathing'.

Then for times, as advised, tried to do 100m then short break and again and again.

Now the times are with open turns (I can't do flip turns, well, yet...) and if laughable, so be it :) but it looks like this, on my last attempt:

after the 400m warmup I tried as relaxed as possible --> 5 x 20m with open turns, 1:56 --> then same , cranked it up a bit and ended up with 1:48 (but was quite dead at the end) --> rest, 3rd 100m went back to 1:53 ah well...

So will keep doing sets of 100m and push it, see if there is any chance of getting faster (although my main aim was to be able to do distance, not too obsessed with time... but I'm getting a bit excited now at my grand old age of 38... and breast stroker all my recent life since I could do any swimming to speak of).

Thanks again, let's see how it goes - when I'm not totally knackered, I manage still 17 - 18 seconds on 25m in the other pool (then I die...), so speed technique is something I anyway don't have but will have more fun trying...

Karl_S
February 7th, 2012, 12:05 PM
... first of all I managed in last two sessions, starting at usual warm-up tempo so that I can get some comparison, 20 lengths in 20m pool - and then stopped, without being totally dead as before, just kinda tired :) and then short break, and I could carry on again.

...after the 400m warmup I tried as relaxed as possible --> 5 x 20m with open turns, 1:56 --> then same , cranked it up a bit and ended up with 1:48 (but was quite dead at the end) --> rest, 3rd 100m went back to 1:53 ...

:applaud:
This is great. Real progress, and now you have a starting point to gauge your progress on nx100.

philoswimmer
February 7th, 2012, 12:16 PM
Yes! So glad to hear that you've gotten over your hurdle! Well done.

haffathot
February 7th, 2012, 03:22 PM
I am glad to hear of your progress!

However, I thought I could add a few points:

(1) Exhalation Rate: I tell all my swimmers to think of your lung capacity as a gas tank. You want to refuel with air before you get to Empty, preferably when you are about 1/8th of a tank. You can, like with your gas pedal in a car, control the rate at which you use up your lung contents. You need to gauge your exhalation rate to reach that 1/8th of a tank right about when you plan on breathing. Thus, if you are breathing every three strokes, you should reach 1/8th tank right before you turn for air. If you are breathing every second stroke, you should reach 1/8th tank right before you turn for your breath on your second stroke. This keeps enough air in your lungs at all times to sustain your lungs, keeps you from triggering the breathing reflex feeling of urgency too soon, and allows for you to maximize your inhalation intake when you turn your head to breathe.

(2) Blood Oxygen Levels: If you have not swam for a while, you may not yet have the blood oxygen levels necessary for short-course or long-course sets, or even for every third stroke breathing. A lot of one's initial progress in a swim practice, and almost all of one's progress in a swim meet race, is due to high blood oxygen levels built up over time. As mentioned above, even experienced long-distance swimmers will revert to breathing every other stroke at times, and this is because, eventually, they are relying on aerobic production, which is not nearly as comfortable a proposition as the anaerobic benefit you get from your high blood oxygen levels at the outset of the workout. The good news is that this can be built up over time, but only so long as you continue to push your body to build up those stores.

(3) Type of Asthma: What type of asthma do you have? If it is not exercise-induced, then swimming may help with your recovery, so long as you are careful. Many asthma-sufferers that I have known have benefited greatly from swimming. Now, if it is exercise-induced asthma, that's a harder road, and you have to proceed at a slower, safer, pace, and that is to be expected. However, you will still progress with a bit of dedication.

(4) Second-Stroke Breathing: One reason why I always tend to recommend breathing every third stroke is because it encourage symmetry of the right and left sides. When you consistently breathe on only one side, you begin to subconsciously specialize and tailor each side to breathing or non-breathing, which can create unevenness in the stroke. So, while it seems that breathing every second stroke is the right course of action for now, you probably should eventually work back to an every third stroke style.

(5) Streamlining: Related to that note is the importance of streamline position in all competitive strokes. You may be wasting too much energy with an inefficient stroke. Sprinters tend to have a different stroke style than distance swimmers, and that is due to the balance between efficiency and power. Longer strokes emphasizing a half-streamline position with every extension before the catch tend to be more energy-efficient, whereas shorter strokes are less efficient but provide a higher power output. Again, think of a car. Driving at 55mph is highly efficient for fuel usage, but not super fast. Driving at 110mph is very fast, but burns gas. Both have their uses. For the time being, until your blood oxygen levels and lung tolerance builds, though, you should probably drive 55, meaning practice longer, gliding strokes. As a drill, you should count the number of strokes you use to cross the pool and then drop it by 1 stroke for each of three remaining length in a 100yd set. It will get you a feel for longer strokes capitalizing on inertial movement.

I hope that helps.

--Sean

derek73
February 7th, 2012, 05:18 PM
Thanks all and seriously useful advice, I should have tried this forum earlier :) - really, thanks guys.

On the asthma question: I had triple allergy (dust, pollen, feathers) but thankfully that went away and what remained was physical effort-induced 'part' - however, in recent years managed to at least push this into the background. So while I don't manage to trigger attacks any more, my lung capacity is, well, not ideal but at least lets me do things I couldn't dream of before. And for swimming, since I changed to front crawl, I think main problem was my becoming very tense as soon as I felt that I am running out of air.

So I agree, breathing on every 3rd, on top of everything else, felt and feels most comfortable - I just can't sustain it beyond some puny distances, so kept hitting a panic wall. I much agree that probably now, until I get to some distances that I can sustain without 'dying' every 100m or so, breathing every 2 will help in progressing then would try changing back to really bilateral breathing.

Brill idea on strokes, I'd so try that, I kept always just doing faster shorter rushed strokes as soon as I tried to speed up even a little. I guess need to be more self-conscious about long strokes but never thought of the trick of reducing the counts.

Thanks heaps, really - off to pool tomorrow once again :)

Allen Stark
February 7th, 2012, 05:19 PM
I am glad to hear of your progress!

However, I thought I could add a few points:

(1) Exhalation Rate: I tell all my swimmers to think of your lung capacity as a gas tank. You want to refuel with air before you get to Empty, preferably when you are about 1/8th of a tank. You can, like with your gas pedal in a car, control the rate at which you use up your lung contents. You need to gauge your exhalation rate to reach that 1/8th of a tank right about when you plan on breathing. Thus, if you are breathing every three strokes, you should reach 1/8th tank right before you turn for air. If you are breathing every second stroke, you should reach 1/8th tank right before you turn for your breath on your second stroke. This keeps enough air in your lungs at all times to sustain your lungs, keeps you from triggering the breathing reflex feeling of urgency too soon, and allows for you to maximize your inhalation intake when you turn your head to breathe.

(2) Blood Oxygen Levels: If you have not swam for a while, you may not yet have the blood oxygen levels necessary for short-course or long-course sets, or even for every third stroke breathing. A lot of one's initial progress in a swim practice, and almost all of one's progress in a swim meet race, is due to high blood oxygen levels built up over time. As mentioned above, even experienced long-distance swimmers will revert to breathing every other stroke at times, and this is because, eventually, they are relying on aerobic production, which is not nearly as comfortable a proposition as the anaerobic benefit you get from your high blood oxygen levels at the outset of the workout. The good news is that this can be built up over time, but only so long as you continue to push your body to build up those stores.

(3) Type of Asthma: What type of asthma do you have? If it is not exercise-induced, then swimming may help with your recovery, so long as you are careful. Many asthma-sufferers that I have known have benefited greatly from swimming. Now, if it is exercise-induced asthma, that's a harder road, and you have to proceed at a slower, safer, pace, and that is to be expected. However, you will still progress with a bit of dedication.

(4) Second-Stroke Breathing: One reason why I always tend to recommend breathing every third stroke is because it encourage symmetry of the right and left sides. When you consistently breathe on only one side, you begin to subconsciously specialize and tailor each side to breathing or non-breathing, which can create unevenness in the stroke. So, while it seems that breathing every second stroke is the right course of action for now, you probably should eventually work back to an every third stroke style.

(5) Streamlining: Related to that note is the importance of streamline position in all competitive strokes. You may be wasting too much energy with an inefficient stroke. Sprinters tend to have a different stroke style than distance swimmers, and that is due to the balance between efficiency and power. Longer strokes emphasizing a half-streamline position with every extension before the catch tend to be more energy-efficient, whereas shorter strokes are less efficient but provide a higher power output. Again, think of a car. Driving at 55mph is highly efficient for fuel usage, but not super fast. Driving at 110mph is very fast, but burns gas. Both have their uses. For the time being, until your blood oxygen levels and lung tolerance builds, though, you should probably drive 55, meaning practice longer, gliding strokes. As a drill, you should count the number of strokes you use to cross the pool and then drop it by 1 stroke for each of three remaining length in a 100yd set. It will get you a feel for longer strokes capitalizing on inertial movement.

I hope that helps.

--Sean

I am confused about what you mean by blood oxygen level.I am not familiar with research of O2 saturation while swimming,but that would be really interesting.I would think that O2 sat. might decrease slightly during sprints.The body's urge to breath is not related to O2 sat but to CO2 sat.
While breathing every third stroke helps symmetry it must not be very efficient as there are very few elite male distance swimmers who use it.

haffathot
February 8th, 2012, 10:23 AM
Derek:

So, with the state of you asthma being exercise-induced, progress may be a bit slow, but, so long as you haven't suffered any alveolar damage, should still consistently progress to a normal level.

Allen:

Blood oxygen levels decrease as you swim, forcing the body to burn more ATP to help supply more oxygen to the blood. You are correct about CO2 build-up creating the breathing urgency feeling, but I believe that a relative balance of O2 to CO2 that favors the CO2 more than is normal would similarly create the urgency. So, a decrease in O2 would adversely effect that ratio. I'm not a doctor, though, so this may be a bit beyond my learning. A good blurb can be found here: http://express.howstuffworks.com/web-quest-exercise.htm

In races, you breathe when you must. Breathing every three is great for practice, but, in short races, you try to keep the number of breaths to an absolute minimum, and, in long distances, you try to do the same but hit a wall, eventually, with regard to the limits of your body. Distance swimmers don't breathe every other stroke at the end of their races because it's more efficient, because it's far more efficient to not breathe at all, they do it because they must to keep conscious and moving.

Allen Stark
February 8th, 2012, 12:01 PM
Actually you need O2 to create ATP from ADP and ATP powers the muscles.(I am a Dr. but Med School was 40 yr ago so I don't remember all the details.) The basic point is that you need O2 to power your muscles after 30-40 sec(anaerobic metabolism can handle that long) and the more you breathe, the more O2 you have.That balances against the fact that most swimmers lose a little of their streamline when they breathe so from that point of view the less you breathe the faster.There is a balance for everyone at each distance between the needs for breathing and for streamlining.

haffathot
February 8th, 2012, 01:47 PM
ah, well, that certainly helps. as i mentioned, i'm not a doctor at all, so the finer points of these relations are a bit fuzzy for me. but, the gist of it remains that it takes training to elevate the levels of oxygen in your blood, and when you deplete the oxygen levels in your blood, you rely increasingly on breathing.

but, as to your point about streamline, that's exactly the point to which i was alluding when mentioning that, ideally, it would be better to not breathe at all. as you mentioned, breathing wrecks the streamline a bit, so the more you breathe, the worse your streamline effect.

I appreciate the clarification, though, as it's been quite a bit since I studied up on the Krebs Cycle.

derek73
March 21st, 2012, 04:47 AM
Hi,
just a quick update, and whilst laughter noises may not reach me over the huge distance :), I'm still painfully aware I must give this 'update' in the context of the initial posting.

So... the time is far from astounding (but noteworthy speed wasn't the objective), however yesterday for the first time in my life did a non-interrupted 1km front-crawl in 50m pool with open turns. So with warm-up included (after which I just didn't stop), managed 20:53.

After this did 5 x 100m and saw that with that 'settled' pace that feels like I could just go on forever (which is fantastic feeling for me considering the depths of despair I had few months ago) ends up being ~1.2s per metre (so I get about 1:55 - 2:00 or so per 100m chunks).

So... it's far from any amazing stuff but I've NEVER in my life managed 1/5th of this even as per initial posting -- and in medium speed lane in the pool I had the satisfaction of 'blending in' without slowing anyone down.

AND: afterwards felt normal, when got out of pool, breathing and everything was such that, instead of my previous absolute nightmares, it felt like I could just go back in :)

I can't express how good it felt to break through this barrier. Mental but also, with changing after 100m to every 2nd stroke breathing, things now feel right and can just continue instead of the absolute panic and breathlessness that set in.

Now the question: in order to crank this up length and speed-wise... should I just do longer and longer distances continuously?

Or try the chunks of 100-200m and clock myself and push harder? Again any notable speed is not an aim here but I hope not to have a setback by doing the wrong thing.

Thanks for all your previous advice and help. One of Murphy's laws (I'm showing my age...) says never try to reproduce a successful experiment, but this feels very reproducible :)

robertsrobson
March 21st, 2012, 06:42 AM
I am confused about what you mean by blood oxygen level.I am not familiar with research of O2 saturation while swimming,but that would be really interesting.I would think that O2 sat. might decrease slightly during sprints.The body's urge to breath is not related to O2 sat but to CO2 sat.
While breathing every third stroke helps symmetry it must not be very efficient as there are very few elite male distance swimmers who use it.

I'm with Ande, in that I wonder if you are trying too hard. I've been back in the water for 5 years now and am pretty fit, but a few hard 100s and I'm also done!

Of course, being able to swim easy requires technique, breathing etc to be right!

haffathot
March 21st, 2012, 08:38 AM
I think you probably need to build yourself up again. Sure, continue your distance work, but also try to push for improvement of your times in smaller distances.

Figure out what time you reasonably want to achieve for the distance you seek, and then break it down into 100 times, factoring gradually increasing fatigue.

Then, try to consistently achieve the first 100 time. Once you have that, move on to your projected 200 time goal. From there, 300... etc. Eventually, with some skill, resolve, and, perhaps a few adjustments in your expectations, you will build up to where you want to be.

--Sean

ande
March 21st, 2012, 11:16 AM
Hi,
just a quick update, and whilst laughter noises may not reach me over the huge distance :), I'm still painfully aware I must give this 'update' in the context of the initial posting.
So... the time is far from astounding (but noteworthy speed wasn't the objective), however yesterday for the first time in my life did a non-interrupted 1km front-crawl in 50m pool with open turns. So with warm-up included (after which I just didn't stop), managed 20:53.
After this did 5 x 100m and saw that with that 'settled' pace that feels like I could just go on forever (which is fantastic feeling for me considering the depths of despair I had few months ago) ends up being ~1.2s per metre (so I get about 1:55 - 2:00 or so per 100m chunks).
So... it's far from any amazing stuff but I've NEVER in my life managed 1/5th of this even as per initial posting -- and in medium speed lane in the pool I had the satisfaction of 'blending in' without slowing anyone down.
AND: afterwards felt normal, when got out of pool, breathing and everything was such that, instead of my previous absolute nightmares, it felt like I could just go back in :)
I can't express how good it felt to break through this barrier. Mental but also, with changing after 100m to every 2nd stroke breathing, things now feel right and can just continue instead of the absolute panic and breathlessness that set in.
Now the question: in order to crank this up length and speed-wise... should I just do longer and longer distances continuously?
Or try the chunks of 100-200m and clock myself and push harder? Again any notable speed is not an aim here but I hope not to have a setback by doing the wrong thing.
Thanks for all your previous advice and help. One of Murphy's laws (I'm showing my age...) says never try to reproduce a successful experiment, but this feels very reproducible :)

Now the question: in order to crank this up length and speed-wise... should I just do longer and longer distances continuously?

Maybe, what are your swimming goals?

you said you swam: "1km front-crawl in 50m pool with open turns." in 20:53

It's great you did a continuous 1k & held 62.65 per 50. I suggest you work on everything: Technique, conditioning, strength & speed

Learn how to do flip turns and do them
Improve your pushoffs and glide

What sort of suit did you wear when you swam the 1k?
Get a speedy suit.

WORK ON YOUR SPEED
62.65 is pretty pokey and you could greatly improve by being much faster at 25, 50 & 100. What are your times for 25, 50 & 100?

Test them soon, post your results here, then Train to improve them & Retest

What is your sex, age, height & weight?

How many times a week do you swim?
How far do you go per practice?
What sort of paces can you hold?
Do you train with a coach and a team or alone?
any injuries?

Bump up your training.. Doing TIP 265 is likely to help you the most

Train for SPEED:
do Help my Speed is Horrible
Help My Speed is Horrible! - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums

Train for Speed endurance

Train to swim longer faster

Whatever you do and measure improves.

Have a friend video you swimming,
POVs: straight ahead, from the side, & ideally underwater
put your vids on youtube and
post a link here and ask for feedback

watch videos of great swimmers and copy their technique.
there's plenty on youtube
start with: Michael Phelps freestyle multi angle camera - YouTube

Read Swim Faster Faster
apply a few ideas to your training.


You've got a lot of low hanging fruit to pick
you can swim much much faster
keep us posted,

Ande

derek73
March 21st, 2012, 04:51 PM
wow thanks guys- obviously a bit intimidated especially as speed was so far far down on my list until managed to even do some distances I never did in front-crawl in my life :)
My 25m which so far only measured twice as curiosity was with breathing every 3 (overkill of course, just accelerated whatever I did normally) - ended up as best time 17 secs on the dot (before that did a 17:80).
So I must decide whether speed beyond some improvement is really an aim - to put this in context, the fact that I can now do 1K continuously in front-crawl in a way that feels like "I could just keep going" and I'm not spitting my lungs out after every 100 or so, well, puts me mood-wise over the Moon. I've never been at this point and I'm of some 'age' :)... weird feeling to have a physical first at this point of my life...
So I'm quite stunned by the science behind speed and real speed, so I must check what realistic expectations I could have for myself - will get again 'external' pairs of eyes to make sure after a very tedious re-programming of my brain for a much improved technique I'm not re-enforcing some remaining mistakes. So let's see :), once excitement goes away, I bet I'll start peeking at the watch and obsessing about it :)
Thanks for all tips and encouragement,
D.

derek73
March 21st, 2012, 05:01 PM
... and apologies, so some key questions finally answered :)...:

What is your sex, age, height & weight? 39, M, 172cm, 65Kg

How many times a week do you swim? 3, last 2 weeks went up to 4

How far do you go per practice? used to do 500 at start then 100s, now my total is 1500m or so, I know it's nothing compared to the million kms serious people do per session...

What sort of paces can you hold? I'm averaging seemingly around 1.2 per m, as my 100m is 1:50 to 2mins when getting into the sustainable 'relaxed' pace. 50m chunks in that rhythms seems consistent as it's just under a minute, unless I go nuts but then I can't sustain it. My main conundrum is what rhythm to keep that I can do lengths with (my original and still main aim) and not just die half-way through :)

Do you train with a coach and a team or alone? solo, only had input for re-training completely from breaststroke, re-done frontcrawl virtually completely from scratch.

any injuries? left shoulder used to really bother me, but amazing enough, not since I stopped breast stroke - otherwise all OK. Touch wood.