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View Full Version : Novice Swimmer: Training (endurance) Thoughts...



LateBloomer
January 16th, 2015, 07:48 PM
Will try to keep short....

53 year old geezer in good physical shape. currently completed one of two (stroke lessons) as I've not had a swim lesson in 40plus years.

I've been in the pool working out for about 6 weeks now....here's where I am:

- have recently treaded water for 30 mins,
- can do 2 mins hands above water tread,
- swam a mile continuous (little wall push) earlier this week via breast/side/free/back stroke sets (each 50 yards) for 1750 yards. super casual pace and felt good at end - not completely fatigued.

- today's swim: 250yds breast 7 mins, rest 2 mins, 250yds side 6 mins, rest 2 mins, 205 yards free 5 mins.

I'm not getting muscle fatigue in the 250 free...but finish winded - other strokes I could have gone farther. I continually exhale when face down, but am only good breathing (inhale) on right side...I tried to bilateral breath today - crazy difficult for me. and I'm trying to continuously exhale whenever face down.

My goal is to be able to swim continuously for a mile or so (freestyle stroke) without stopping....I think my biggest problem is breathing rhythm(??) Any thoughts/exercises to try? When I practice breathing to left I can't barely do a 50!

Thanks

LateBloomer
January 17th, 2015, 08:47 PM
All: A bit surprised no one has responded given two days since I posted my question.....I'm guessing because this is my first post(??)

If I need to provide more info or background on my swim ability I'd be more than happy too....

Thanks in Advance,

__steve__
January 18th, 2015, 02:51 PM
When starting out, swimming is more a technical activity (proper form, streamline, position, etc). Once the basics are met and your swimming efficiently it becomes more a conditioning activity.

Swimosaur
January 18th, 2015, 03:32 PM
... am only good breathing (inhale) on right side...I tried to bilateral breath today - crazy difficult for me ... When I practice breathing to left I can't barely do a 50!

Stop trying to breathe to the left. I've been swimming 47 years & have never once taken a breath to the left. IMHO, bilateral breathing is overrated (until you get to fairly high levels of the sport).

gobears
January 18th, 2015, 06:10 PM
I'd recommend you join a coached masters program if you really want to see improvement. It sounds like you could use some more instruction to make breathing easier and the best way to improve your endurance would probably be to do some structured interval work outs. Just my 2 cents... :)

FindingMyInnerFish
January 18th, 2015, 06:54 PM
Re bilateral breathing... I'm in my 60s--started masters swimming 10 years ago. Have good endurance, no speed but can swim for a long time (5+ mile open water swim in Aug. for instance).

A few years before starting masters swimming, I decided to try an open water mile swim--I was an injured runner, swimming while rehabbing, so I gradually developed more endurance and gradually replaced my very slow breaststroke with less slow freestyle so I could finish the race before the officials took up the finish line and went home. :) That went okay--I didn't even finish last (second to last, but not last).

After a few years of letting swimming slide, I joined a masters' group out of curiosity. The coach kept pushing me to learn to bilateral breathe--it was VERY hard for quite a while. I typically breathed to the left side, and attempts to breathe to the right resulted in a lot of sputtering and choking. But now it's such second-nature to bilateral breathe that I don't even think about it.

While viewpoints differ on the value of bilateral breathing, I'm glad I do it easily now b/c it helps in open water--it allows me to get a view on both sides and recover quickly if a wave smacks me while I'm breathing to one side or another. But that's me--YMMV.

Good luck and enjoy!

Sid
January 18th, 2015, 11:16 PM
In the beginning, I had trouble breathing to my left as well. In my case, I had less range of motion with turning my head to the left. After a few months of stretching, my left was as good as my right. Once, I got the hang of body rotation, I didn't have to turn my head very far at all. I'm glad that I worked on bilateral breathing, because it made me address some assymmetry issues. Good luck!

LateBloomer
January 19th, 2015, 08:06 AM
All: Thanks for the input thus far...very encouraging. I had my second and final (for now) lesson yesterday and we worked a number of drills yesterday to include swimming with a kick board/face down/breathe left. Towards the very end of the hour I donned my swim fins and did a lap of free breathing to the left....the fins help with body position and as a result a bit more effective breathing left.

My plan is to continue swimming 3x's/per week and practice back/side/breast, and free while continuing to work bilateral breathing....I'm thinking my next swim will be only breathing to my left.....My goal is to become equally proficient left and right as I REALLY want to work towards a 1 mile open water swim within the next year or so!

I've intrigued with the comment about joining a Maters swim team......aren't these guys/gals who have a loooong history of swimming and very accomplished? I envision they jump in the pool and swim 500 and 1000's like nobodies business. I'm concerned my current endurance as laid out in my orig post isn't quite enough(???)

gobears
January 19th, 2015, 09:03 AM
I've intrigued with the comment about joining a Maters swim team......aren't these guys/gals who have a loooong history of swimming and very accomplished? I envision they jump in the pool and swim 500 and 1000's like nobodies business. I'm concerned my current endurance as laid out in my orig post isn't quite enough(???)

The term "Masters" isn't meant to mean anything more than 18 and over. This forum is composed of masters swimmers of all backgrounds and ability levels. I coach a team in Houston with a wide variety of swimmers. We have fitness swimmers (like yourself) who have no formal swimming background and are just learning how to correctly do their strokes and how to train. Working with a coach and teammates is probably the best way to improve your strokes and your endurance. I don't know where you live, but you can look on the USMS site for a team near you to get more information :)

FindingMyInnerFish
January 19th, 2015, 09:14 AM
I had similar hesitation about joining a masters swim group when I saw that one was forming at my Y. At first, I figured it would be young studs who had been at it since 6 years old. But I figured it would do no harm to call the coach and present my situation (yes, I knew how to swim, having learned as a child, but hadn't done any competitive swimming except for the aforementioned mile open water swim). I have a running background, so I'm fit from that. But I wasn't sure whether that would be enough.

However, I was pleasantly surprised by how welcoming the coach was--sure, he said, come join us--you'll be fine! And while I was definitely not fast, he was wonderful with everyone, working with newbies like me as well as the advanced people, encouraging, pushing, teaching.... I learned a lot from him. After a while he had to drop the masters group b/c of starting grad school in physical therapy, but he definitely got me started and helped build confidence.

I was in other masters' groups on and off, some a better fit for me than others, but mostly good groups each in their own way. My current group is great and the two coaches have a similar enthusiasm and willingness to work with newcomers and slower swimmers that I experienced in my first group. They've definitely rekindled my ambitions (both of them have marathon swimming experience, and have gotten me excited to try some longer swims).

So my thought is, if the first group you find isn't a fit, try others. Each group has its own dynamic, but don't give up if if the first one you try isn't what you're looking for. And if you find a coach like my first one--or like the two I have now--stay with them and learn all you can from them.

Another thing I realized: not to go too much by a coach's age. The first coach I had was maybe a year out of college. And he was AWESOME! He told me he'd started coaching when he was in high school, and he had a gift for it.

It sounds as if you got some good instruction and should be ready to try the masters' team. And as my first coach used to say, "Do the best you can--don't worry about what the others are doing." I sometimes forget this, so I have to keep reminding myself of it.

Betsy
January 19th, 2015, 09:33 AM
About breathing...
I read a good article that stated the biggest problem with breathing is not getting in air, it is getting rid of the air. It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. If you breathe in a big gulp and exhale only a small amount, before too long you have no room for more new air. Make a consious effort to exhale fully with your face in the water. I have this reminder to be a big help when I am coaching.

__steve__
January 19th, 2015, 12:09 PM
a Maters swim team......aren't these guys/gals who have a loooong history of swimming and very accomplished? Masters swimming is about encouraging all adults to have a swimming background.

orca1946
January 19th, 2015, 12:21 PM
It sounds as if you have found a group that you feel good being a part of for swimming. Stick with it.

lv2swim
January 19th, 2015, 12:47 PM
Just curious, is it better to exhale through the nose or through the mouth?

ElaineK
January 19th, 2015, 01:00 PM
Just curious, is it better to exhale through the nose or through the mouth?

Both. :)

LateBloomer
January 19th, 2015, 02:29 PM
I was exhaling just thru my month when I started a month or so ago....then I started exhaling thru both nose and mouth. Lately it seems I'm primarily exhaling thru nose although I think I'll doing both (nose and month) if I feel I need to exhale a little more right before rotating to breathe. I know my instructor told me to just exhale thru my nose.

ElaineK: curious as to your reco'd "both" comment...can you expand as to why?

Thanks!

Allen Stark
January 19th, 2015, 03:58 PM
If you exhale only through your nose you can't exhale as fast to get a complete exhalation.If you exhale only through your mouth you tend to get water in your nose.

LateBloomer
January 19th, 2015, 07:33 PM
AllenS: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! That's EXACTLY what I've been experiencing! I've been finding that if I just exhale only through my nose that once I get upwards of 3 or 4 laps (of free) I start finding myself more or less gasping on the inhale and delaying the start of my exhale once face down...a combination that results in "fighting" my breathing rhythm (if that makes sense).

So, I think that I'm finding I must also exhale thru nose to not only allow for complete exhalation but also to aid in not allowing air to enter in through my nose which throws my rhythm off...I hope that makes sense!

ElaineK
January 19th, 2015, 10:14 PM
I was exhaling just thru my month when I started a month or so ago....then I started exhaling thru both nose and mouth. Lately it seems I'm primarily exhaling thru nose although I think I'll doing both (nose and month) if I feel I need to exhale a little more right before rotating to breathe. I know my instructor told me to just exhale thru my nose.

ElaineK: curious as to your reco'd "both" comment...can you expand as to why?

Thanks!


If you exhale only through your nose you can't exhale as fast to get a complete exhalation.If you exhale only through your mouth you tend to get water in your nose.

As always, King Frog is the FROG! :banana: Thanks, K.F.! :applaud:

'Bloomer, although King Frog came through with the perfect explanation, I was just going to say that it's the most natural way for me to breathe. Actually, I don't even think about breathing anymore, because I feel so comfortable in the water. Every once in awhile, when I'm very relaxed during a cooldown :bed:, I'll focus on how I'm breathing to see just what I'm doing. It always seems to be just an even flow of bubbles coming from both my nose and mouth.