If you feel breathless, or lose form when breathing, it’s hard to swim any distance without tiring. I posted a stepwise series of 5 “stroke thoughts” designed to help you breathe easier in crawl in my blog post Free Air: How to Breathe Easier.
My Blog: http://www.swimwellblog.com/
My Swimming (Perpetual Motion Free) in video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQ-jaWKjHus&fmt=18
My thoughts on Open Water http://www.totalimmersion.net/myblog-admin/Perpetual-Motion-Freestyle---MIT-Presentation-.html
Free excerpts from my e-books http://www.totalimmersion.net/free-stuff
Some good advice. If you are training for a tri it is unlikely that you don't have the condition - especially if you are finding it hard to breath over one length. The advice to exhale when your face is in the water is absolutely correct. Blow gently and consistently (create a small hole with your lips) rather than exhaling at once. I wouldn't try to hold your breath, except maybe for the occasional set, and don't train on4-5 strokes per breath - stick to 2-3.
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THANK YOU for this post. I signed up for Ironman Cozumel in November 2010. I have never done a triathlon. I haven't been in a swimming pool since I was 12. And then had no formal training. I have taken one swim lesson and was told I had good form. So now the breathing! I have only practiced a couple of times and hope that I will improve in 9 months. I sound like I am gasping for my last breath every time my head pops out of the water. I have told my friends....worse case scenario, I will dog paddle the 2.4 miles! I am so glad to hear that others swim on their sides and backs.
I see the swim forum is kind of slow, but I wanted to post here. I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon in August. This will be my first one. I started running 5 weeks ago and just started swimming in a pool last week. The first thing I noticed was how out of breath I was. I went to all the sites and videos that I saw posted in these swim forums and I am so thankful. I started this week practicing on breathing from both sides, I was always a right side only breather. I also started practicing rotating my body in the water as if on a pole as was mentioned. This makes for a much more fluid movement and stroke. I also noticed that when I breath from both sides, I automatically rotate my body better. It's amazing how all this works together. I still have a long ways to go before I am moving the way I want in the water but I wanted to say thank you for the information that I got on this site. I hope to be swimming in the lakes around me by July, to get ready for my Sprint Tri.
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Results from 5K races back in 2005, I want to get there again and then improve.
Crim 5K 39:21
All Women's 5K 34:59
Genesys Hospice 5K 36:30
Thats a wondeful article about breathing. I normally practise a lot on my Used Stationary Bikes then i go to swim. Hopefully your tips will greatly improve my swimming.
Your instructor is wrong. You do not need to condition your lungs. You are having difficulty because of your technique. Once you have corrected your technique you should not have difficulty with the breathing. I have never heard of "conditioning" your lungs. If you can run and breathe and your are not on oxygen then you should be just fine. Been teaching all levels of swimming (incliuding the instructor level) and helping triathletes train. It sounds to be like your instructor isn't sure what is wrong so its easier to state you need conditioning.
You are probably pulling too deep in the water which is what is causing your triceps to tire easily.