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View Full Version : Stroke dillema, what should I do?



sarge
July 22nd, 2007, 09:19 PM
I've recently returned to swimming after about a year and a half absence. It all started when I ruptured a disc between my C6 and C7 vertibrae, causing severe nerve impingement (perhaps damage) in my right arm.

Before my injury, I would warm up with a 400 which would hover around 7 minutes. Of late, my time for this benchmark has been around 7:30. Also, my PB for the 100 free was 1:22. My most recent best in that event has been 1:30. Yes, I know I'm not that fast but I don't race (except for occaisional open water swims) and my only competitor is myself.

All in all, I've been pretty happy with my progress.

Then recently, I started alternating my breathing. Two things happened. I went faster and I also got horrible side stitches.

Yesterday, I tried doing a 100 breathing entirely on the left (my "alternate" side). I couldn't complete it due to the side stitches.

Today, I switched sides (from right to left) halfway down the 25 yard pool. My 400 yard warmup came in at 7:06! But my side hurt a little.

I discovered that my pull count is way lower when I breath on the left.

I basically have found that I'm faster if I breath on the left if I can keep my side from hurting. But it's very hard to keep my side from hurting. If I could, I might even break 7:00 for 400 yards. I have no problem doing a 100 in less than 1:45 breathing on the left.

Has anyone else had this problem where they get side stitches (aka Exercise-related Transient Abdominal Pain or ETAP) when they switch breathing sides?

Has anyone switched their dominant side for breathing?

Will training or conditioning overcome the side stitches? Is it worth it to try?

ALM
July 22nd, 2007, 11:46 PM
Has anyone else had this problem where they get side stitches (aka Exercise-related Transient Abdominal Pain or ETAP) when they switch breathing sides?

Will training or conditioning overcome the side stitches? Is it worth it to try?

I used to get very painful side stitches. In my case I think it had to do with timing my eating relative to when I swam. If I ate too much, or too soon before practice, I'd end up with side stitches.

I had one coach who told me that when you get a side stitch, if you apply firm pressure to the area it will help it to go away. That never worked for me.

Sometimes it would help if I hung on the side of the pool, took deep breaths, and really tried to relax.

Since you're only getting the stitches when you swim on your non-dominant side, it sounds like you must not be as relaxed when you're swimming on that side. Pay close attention to how you breathe on your right side (how much do you exhale under water? Do you exhale more after you turn your head to breathe?), then do the same while you breathe on your left. Perhaps you're doing something different on the left side.

I found that using pull buoys helped me when I was learning to breathe on both sides.

Anna Lea

Syd
July 23rd, 2007, 03:05 AM
Well, thank god it is only side stitches. When I read the title I thought it was much more serious (like your docotor had warned you of an imminent stroke and you wanted to know whether it was safe to continue swimming or not)!!

Have to agree with Anna Lea on this one. Now that you have changed your breathing you have probably lost your breathing rhythm to a certain degree and are not inhaling and exhaling as completely as you should be. Slow down. Don't worry about speed for the time being. Just concentrate on the inhale and the exhale with your new bilateral breathing pattern. It could take as long as a month or two to get used to. (It took me 2 months to get used to changing from breathing every other stroke to every fourth stroke). Then slowly, you can introduce more speed as you feel comfortable with the change and find your rhythm.

Syd

sarge
July 24th, 2007, 12:12 AM
Today I swam a lot on my left side and didn't get any side stitches. I swam in the morning, and hadn't ate anything. That might be the trick.

JennyS
July 24th, 2007, 01:00 PM
Hi, Sarge. If you're still getting stitches in your side, you may want to concentrate on fully exhaling before taking your next breath. Maybe breathe every 5th stroke instead of every 3rd. Don't leave any of that old air in your lungs. I get side stitches now and then, and I know it helps if I concentrate on getting all the air out before my next breath. Good luck!