Archive for February 11th, 2010

Horton Hurt My Hoo Hoo

Last night I did the legs and back workout.  It was a tough workout, just like all the rest of them.  This morning, however, I felt the workout in an area that I really wasn’t expecting.  I have just one question.  Mr. Tony Horton, what have you done to my butt?

I could barely sit down today.  When I did, I struggled to stand up.  Ouchy!  I muddled through the day, but man, that was unexpected!

I then went for a swim tonight.  I realized the last few times that I have been in the pool that I think I am getting winded because I am not fully exhaling underwater.  That is an issue because, if you don’t get all the air out, you can’t get enough fresh air in your lungs to help fuel your muscles.  Before long you are gasping for air.  So, tonight, I threw my form to the wind and focused exclusively on breathing.  I let my body do what it wanted, and just made sure to exhale out and get a good breath in.  I also focused on turning my head just enough.  I tried to make sure that I always left one goggle in the water.  Guess what happened?  Before I knew it I was at the other side of the pool and headed back.  I was trucking along like a well oiled machine.  Breathing like I was on dry land!  I finished the first lap, finished the second lap, and before I knew it I had finished 5 laps.  I didn’t time myself, but I’m pretty sure I was really trucking along!

I do have to make a slight disclaimer here.  When I say I go straight through, that isn’t exactly true.  I do cling to the edge of the pool, and take a few breaths, maybe 5 seconds worth, before heading back.  However, compared to my previous 30-60 seconds of standing stop, this is close enough for me to consider a non-stop lap.  Even with those pauses I am doing sub 1 minute laps.  I think that is fabulous, especially if I can get to the point where I am doing all of them like that.  I could get my 9 laps in 9 minutes which is my goal!!

All in all I’m proud of my progress.  I am hoping to continue concentrating on breathing until it becomes rote, and then go back to working on my form.

Breathing while swimming, or Why is it so hard to breathe when I swim?


A couple of things about breathing while swimming.  I think this is the most difficult part of learning how to swim.  It took me some time to figure out how to breathe at all while I swum.  It took tons and tons of research and effort to finally get to a point where I am more comfortable with it.  But like the rest of the swim, there are so many moving parts to think about that it can get overwhelming.

The first part to remember is that you need to stay balanced in the water.  If you raise your head to get air, your legs will fall back into the water causing you to kick to get back into balance.  That makes you inefficient, and in triathlon it also tires your legs before you get out of the pool.  Your goal in the water is to reserve your legs for later, so these are both trouble.

Therefore, the best way to  keep yourself balanced is to just turn your head as little as possible and let your body roll bring you up to the water.  There are a couple of tips for that.  One is to put your chin on the shoulder that is rolling up.  That way you can control how far your head turns and let your body do the work.  The other option is to put the back of your head against the shoulder of the opposite arm.  Same effect different focus.

This is how I started, and now I don’t even think about it.

The other issue that I have been working on lately is exhaling.  I have realized that I haven’t been exhaling completely underwater.  It seems counter-intuitive,  but that is really key.  If you don’t get all of the air out of your lungs, when you turn for air, you will either stay up too long, or not get enough air.  If you stay up too long your balance and efficiency is effected, if you don’t get enough air you get winded prematurely.

Lately I have been focusing exclusively on breathing.  I focus on exhaling while underwater, and then on rotating up leaving one goggle in the water.  I forget about form, and I focus on rhythm.  Almost automatically, my stroke began matching my breath.  Before I knew it I had finished a length, then a lap and then 5 laps.  Nice easy strokes with a focus on breathing.  It is really the key.

Once this becomes second nature I will focus on perfecting my form.  Until then, slow steady breathing.  Phew!

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