Friday, January 19, 2007

Breathing - Pushing Past the Wall

From time to time in this blog I've discussed breathing. One time I focused on the need to be comfortable in the water so you can take the time to breathe appropriate to proper stroke technique. Today I was witness to its importance. For point of discussion - and to pat myself on the back - today I set a personal speed record for me for the 25 meter indoor pool mile (sorry but I'm not posting my time, the figure is "personal"). I mention this only because it proves a point I want to make. Today, in the course of all this, I was really moving along and from time to time swimming parallel to other guys who were in lanes next to me. What struck me was how these guys could keep up for a length, and then would have to stop to catch their breath. I just kept on going (fast). Why could I, and they not? Besides the fact that I've trained my muscles to deal with it, I've trained my lungs. I am finding that on distances, when I am really pulling hard, I generally do not feel winded (only when I'm finished do I notice some deep catch-up breathing). So what have I done to permit this? Can't say for sure, but I know for a fact, when I was getting started with distance swimming, I literally forced myself to not stop, even when I felt the urge to do so. I found that I still recovered my breath maybe halfway through the next length - all this, despite still moving. So if you want to swim distances and not be a wall hanger, my suggestion is to try pushing through the urge to stop. See if you really can keep going. It might burn for a second or two, but it evened out for me. Maybe you too? As those TV yoga film stars say, "feel the burn!" PS Only try this if you are in decent physical shape and generally have a quick recovery period (on the wall); otherwise, it could be dangerous. I don't recommend this if you are not a "quick recovery" person.

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