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56320 Views 81 Replies Latest reply: May 27, 2009 8:35 PM by Beamrs RSS Go to original post 1 2 3 4 ... 6 Previous Next
  • tarrow Rookie 2 posts since
    Nov 16, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    15. May 7, 2008 10:53 AM (in response to mndrs538)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

    I'm in the Houston area and joined Houston Race Triathlon Club.  From what I can tell, the membership is pretty substantial and the fitness levels vary from very amateur, like myself, to very, very experienced.  We'll see how it goes.  Surely there is something similar in your area.

  • Jeri Sullivan Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 29, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    16. May 7, 2008 1:24 PM (in response to mndrs538)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    The previous posts are correct, also a couple of other things: if the water is cold, its ok to give yourself permission to swim with your head out for a little while until you acclimatize.  I have found that helps prevent that sudden inhalation gasp that you get when you put your head into cold water!  Also, be sure you dont have exercise induced asthma--this is one of the times that you will notice it is in the swim.  also at fast paced runs or serious bike hill climbs.  Good luck!  

     

     

  • richfire Rookie 4 posts since
    Apr 11, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    18. May 7, 2008 9:30 PM (in response to mndrs538)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

    After having done several triathlons I was doing the Donner Lake exterra triathlon and the water was really cold, so I decided not to take a warm up swim. The worst mistake I ever made in a triathlon. As soon as my face hit the cold water I started to hyperventilate and just could not catch my breath. I switched to the breast stroke and finally the elementary back stroke just to recover. Since that day, I always do a 5 minute warn up swim and have never had any more trouble with the swim.:(  :DRich.

  • nfadling@apple.com Rookie 2 posts since
    May 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    19. May 8, 2008 11:58 AM (in response to mndrs538)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

    Boy, sounds like you had a rough time. I would recommend a few lake swims prior to the event where you can train in a wet suit. You may also want to read Total  Immersion by Terry Laughlin. I found the book very helpful in technique training and often think of his tips while I'm swimming in the Olympic Triathlons (keeps the nervousness away). We mostly swim and race in cold water (58 to 63 degrees). This makes it challenging to get the breathing rythm down but usually after about five minutes the water gets warmer and breathing gets easier. You may want to try some of Laughlin's drills to. Wish you luck in the future.

     

    Nancy in Oregon

  • morganjohnson85 Rookie 1 posts since
    Apr 15, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    20. May 20, 2008 4:40 PM (in response to mndrs538)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

    Oh man - I have my first sprint in July and I am FREAKING OUT about the open water bit!  I tried open water with some folks from my university's tri team for the first time this past week and after 200m in that lake I was DONE.  Why is it so much more difficult?  I can do 800 to 900 yards at the pool easy but something about the open water really got me... It's encouraging to know that it's not just me, but I do hope that it gets better with time.  My race in July is 500m and I am kind of wishing it was just a little bit shorter, but I guess I will have to do it sometime so might as well just bite the bullet.  Any tips on sighting out there?  It's the one thing I'm not entirely sure about as far as technique goes...

  • Doc Tri Expert 46 posts since
    Apr 4, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    21. May 20, 2008 5:27 PM (in response to morganjohnson85)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    If your sprint tri is 500m, it may have a rope to follow out and back.  If that's the case, just use it to site.  Make sure you're able to breath on both sides.  Most races with a rope plan the swim so it's on your right since most people breathe on their right.

     

     

    If you have buoys, again practice breathing on both sides.  During the race, if you can, breath 3 times to the left then 3 times to the right (or vice versa) and as you recover your right hand "pop" up your head and look forward as you push down slightly with your catch arm (left).  Breathing 3 times to each side before sighting may keep you straighter and you won't have to look up as often.  If you can go 3-left, 3-right, 3-left, 3-right then site, that would be even better.

     

     

    Practice these techniques in the swimming pool but when your face is in the water, close your eyes (no lane lines on the bottom of the lake).  You can also practice swimming like tarzan (head up) for a couple of strokes each lap.

     

     

    Another tip is to look for a much larger object that is behind and is in-line with the buoy.  If it is bigger and higher, you won't have to lift your head as much to site.

     

     





    Doc Tri

    When it hurts, smile.

    If it doesn't hurt, you're not going hard enough.

  • chippymunk Rookie 5 posts since
    May 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    22. May 20, 2008 5:52 PM (in response to Doc Tri)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    I just finished the 70.3 in Orlando, Florida. The swim was 1.2 miles. I started panicing about 200 yards from shore - hyperventilating and unable to breathe. I've been training for a year in a pool, but never trained in open water. Not being able to see maybe was the trigger for the panic. I also realize in hindsight that training in a pool teaches you orientation to your surroundings whether you know it or not since you have the line on the bottom, lane lines, and the wall for orientation. To then get into open water was pure disorientation. My plan of stroking 3 and breathing totally disentegrated into breathing every stroke, which of course made me freak out even more, as I never trained like that. I discovered I was swimming off course as I sighted, which further added to the confusion. I tried swimming breastroke to calm down, but ended up gulping lots of water and going nowhere, and didn't calm me down. 

     

     

    I just kept swimming and sighting, and unfortunately every time I sighted I was off course. Adding to my misery was the constant gulping of water.  I swam close to the buoys (somehow that made me feel better) and somehow got thru the swim with a pretty good time. I was miserable with a belly full of water for the first 5 miles on the bike, and very bewildered at what had just happened.  I can't believe I paniced like that and couldn't breathe. I actually thought I might drown.

     

     

    After reading all these posts, I realize I need to get out and train in the open water. I should never have attempted a 1.2 mile swim in open water without experiencing swimming in  open water. And, I did one sprint tri 10 years ago, that's it for my experience. One girl, I found out, swam straight to a kayak after being 50 yards out from shore! She totally freaked out. I did too, but I didn't want to get help from a kayak as I just figured that would be far worse - I had more than 1500 swimmers behind my wave and I didn't want to watch that crowd come out and have to join them.

     

     

    Thanks for all the tips. What a total nightmare that swim was!! 

     

     

  • cyclechic1 Rookie 5 posts since
    May 22, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    23. May 22, 2008 7:02 AM (in response to chippymunk)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    I'm so glad to read everyone's post and to discover that I am not alone with the open water panic.  I did my very first tri in White Lake, NC and for some reason I chose to do 70.3 for my first one.  I am not a swimmer and actually just taught myself how to swim last fall.  I've been swimming consistently for 2-3 days per week since then in preparation for this race.  I panicked in the first 200yards of the race as well, and knowing that I had to finish a 1.2 mile swim at that point was extremely overwhelming!!!!  I was so freaked out that I wanted to quit.  If it wasn't for the amazing guys in the kayaks I would have quit.  They talked me through my panic and helped me go on to finish the swim and to become a half ironman (woman:D ).  Even though I was able to somewhat compose myself through the swim, i had several more hyperventilating episodes, and once I got my groove, I had to breath every stroke instead of every 2nd or 3rd like I had trained to do in the pool.  Looking back, I am actually glad that I had such a long swim for my first one, because it allowed me the time to get somewhat comfortable.  I am so proud to have finished it!!  I have  2 more tris scheduled for this season and I am terrified that I'll experience that anxiety again.  Thank you for all the tips.... and the feeling of not being alone.

     

     

    Good luck this season everyone!!!

     

     

    Shannon in Cincinnati

     

     

  • Doc Tri Expert 46 posts since
    Apr 4, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    24. May 23, 2008 10:36 AM (in response to morganjohnson85)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    I have to apologize.  I incorrectly described the siting technique.  It's tough when you're sitting behind the computer and you're not in the pool.

     

     

    I am a right side dominant breather so I site when I stroke with my right arm.  To correctly perform this, after you recover your right arm you begin your catch.  At the beginning of the power portion of the stroke (right arm) is when you "pop" up your head.  That way your right arm is under you and supporting you you can also get your breath at that time.  Give an extra flutter kick also when you "pop" up your head.

     

     





    Doc Tri

    When it hurts, smile.

    If it doesn't hurt, you're not going hard enough.

  • cyclechic1 Rookie 5 posts since
    May 22, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    25. May 23, 2008 6:24 PM (in response to Doc Tri)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    Thank you for that tip as well, since I need all the tips and help I can get for my next tris.  I didn't really practice the siting in the pool.  Guess I need to work on that as well.

     

     

    Everybody's questions, comments and answers are very helpful!  Keep them coming.

     

     

  • Doc Tri Expert 46 posts since
    Apr 4, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    26. May 27, 2008 12:42 PM (in response to cyclechic1)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    I read on a few of these posts that people "plan" to breathe every 2 or 3 strokes and then the plan falls apart and they end up breathing every stroke.  Part of the reason your plan falls apart is that you're going anaerobic and your body tells you to breathe.  Unless you're doing a very short sprint (200m), you should be breathing every stroke (to one side).  By that I mean every time you stroke with your right arm, you breathe to the right side.  Most races are long enough that you want to stay aerobic in the swim.  If you're holding your breath and breathing every other stroke or more, you're going to go anaerobic and pay for it at the second half of the swim and later in the bike or run.  I have a tape of the 2000 Olympics and they have a good shot of the swimmers.  Most of them are breathing 3 LT-3 RT- 3 LT- 3 RT and then site.  The only time they breathe every other stroke is the transition from LT to RT and vice versa.  Some of the olympians only breathed to one side.  A very few even sited almost every stroke (not suggested here) and they were the ones in the back of the pack.

     

     

    If you're breathing RT then LT then RT then LT (literally EVERY stroke) you've really blown up.  Slow down, float on your back or side stroke.  Gain your composure and start your swim again breathing only to your dominant side.  Then count strokes/breathes 1, 2, 3, SITE, 1, 2, 3, SITE and repeat.

     

     





    Doc Tri

    When it hurts, smile.

    If it doesn't hurt, you're not going hard enough.

  • chippymunk Rookie 5 posts since
    May 20, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    27. May 27, 2008 5:41 PM (in response to Doc Tri)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    Doc Tri, I did not realize that my 1.2 mile swim was an aerobic swim. I am not sure why I didn't think of this, it's just that when I would swim 1.2 straight miles, without resting, I would stroke 3, breathe, stroke 3, breathe. My breathes alternated between left and right side. I never seemed out of breathe at all during those long swims. When I did my sprint workouts, or 'faster' laps I of course would get out of breathe.

     

     

    I am not sure I understand what you mean when you say 3 LT 3RT 3 LT. Does that mean breath 3x to the left, 3x to the right, then 3 times to the left again - after how many strokes? What does 'breathing RT then LT then RT then LT (literally every stroke)'  mean? I ended up ditching my 3 strokes to one breathe plan, and wound up stroking once, then breathing left after every stroke.  Is that bad or is that an aerobic swim technique that I should have trained for? Thanks for any help.

     

     

  • richfire Rookie 4 posts since
    Apr 11, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    28. May 27, 2008 10:49 PM (in response to chippymunk)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

    One good trick to tracking strait is to line up on the left side (if you breathe right) and sight on the people near you. It works really well, if you just make sure you are selective on who you are tracking. You will see some people looking up often and they wil correct frequently or you will see people who don't need to look up very often since they are straight swimmers. Good luck.

  • Doc Tri Expert 46 posts since
    Apr 4, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    29. May 28, 2008 5:43 AM (in response to chippymunk)
    Re: Why was the swim so hard?

     

    When you swam the 1.2 miles straight and weren't out of breath, you were swimming on the low end of the aerobic zone.  So when you raced, you reached the upper end of the aerobic zone and you needed to breathe more often.  That's the same feeling you want to have when you do your pace sets in the pool.  Pace sets are your sets that you try to swim at race pace.  Basically any time you are not warming up, cooling down, doing drills or sprinting.  Sprint sets (anaerobic) are even faster and you feel very short of breath.

     

     

     

     

     

    When I said 3 LT 3 RT 3 LT, I meant that during your stroke cycle (1 stroke left arm, 1 stroke right arm) you breathe to the left when you stroke with your left arm for 3 cycles, then  breathe to the right when you stroke with your right arm for 3 cycles.  When switching from left to right side breathing you would do your 3 strokes without a breath.  It would look something like this: RT arm stroke, LT arm stroke-breath, RT arm stroke, LT arm stroke-breath, RT arm stroke, LT arm stroke-breath, RT arm stroke, LT arm stroke, RT arm stroke-breath, LT arm stroke, RT arm stroke-breath, LT arm stroke, RT arm stroke-breath, LT arm stroke, RT arm stroke, LT arm stroke-breath and continue.

     

     

    I meant by "breathing RT then LT then RT then LT" that sometimes a swimmer's technique will completely fall apart and he/she will breathe literally on every stroke:  RT arm stroke-breath, LT arm stroke-breath, RT arm stroke-breath, LT arm stroke-breath.

     

     

    I believe in training like you will be racing and balanced breathing (meaning that you breathe equally to both sides).  So if you race breathing every 2 strokes (1 stroke cycle), then practice breathing every 2 strokes but make sure you alternate sides (breathe to the left side for 25 yds going down the pool and then to the right side for 25 yds coming back).  I practice the 3 LT-3 RT breathing technique.  I once read that Paula Newby-Fraser (former Ironman champ) would train 3 strokes-to-1 breath (1 1/2 stroke cycles) but raced breathing 2 strokes-to-1 breath (1 stroke cycle).  You can train 3-to-1 but you may be faster if you train 2-to-1 and go faster/harder during your pace training sessions.  The 3-to-1 breathing would be fine for your anaerobic sprint sessions.

     

     





    Doc Tri

    When it hurts, smile.

    If it doesn't hurt, you're not going hard enough.

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