swimming psychology

....what's going on??

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01/06/2004 at 14:20
(sorry for another swimming thread)

I've been focusing on getting my swimming better since the start of the year - specifically to improve my breathing - but still find that in the pool I can barely string more than 4 lengths together without wanting a breather..........

........but in open sea I can go 30mins plus without stopping at a good pace as well (according to petal).....

so - what's going on????

is it because of the turns in the pool?
visibility? (sea where I live is very cloudy)

am confused - but at same time pleased as planning only open water tris this summer........
01/06/2004 at 14:21
I think it is cos swimming in open water is more fun...and you have more to think about to stop you from thinking about stopping. And also you don't know how far you've gone so you don't think "25m, excellent, time for a little breather", you just keep going..

? I dunno! But I agree!
01/06/2004 at 14:22
aye up... Can't see the first post here!!
01/06/2004 at 14:22
but now I can....
01/06/2004 at 14:27
is very odd n'est pas??

I am with you I think Nic - just keep ploughing on with no walls to stop you......
01/06/2004 at 18:13
As an injured Base Trainer, I run at low HR for long distances. Before commencing my running career I was an avid swimmer. In our classes we had some sessions where we did similar BT type of work. So for the whole 1hr session we'd swim continuously.

The aim is to focus on smooth efficient strokes and breathing so much that your mind wanders and you sort of "forget" about the mental concentration and it all comes naturally. Of course, you have to keep count of the number of lengths.

Due to my lower-back injury I've returned to swimming. After three sessions I'm almost back to similar speed/distance standards then when I stopped ie 10 months ago.

I admit this is a poor answer but I hope it helps.
01/06/2004 at 18:22

ironman USA next year?? we chose that as its family friendly, just for you

see the IM Outing 2005 thread
01/06/2004 at 18:25
Exactly the same for me FB. I swim much faster and more comfortably in Open Water, although a lot of that can be put down to the extra buoyancy of a wetsuit, I spend a hell of a lot of energy in a pool trying to stop my legs from sinking!
01/06/2004 at 18:28
I've not swum in open water before, but i'd be inclined to agree with Dr Nic. Swimming up and down and up and down and up and down......is REALLY dull if all you're doing is base training.
I don't know wehther or not its appropriate to stick burts of speed into swimming session (like you would with running) to spice it up a bit-thats what i do if i'm doing a longer endurance swim, or i focus on one thing for a couple of lenghts (like a really strong pull, glide or breathing) so like nrg-b said your mind forgets that its dull ploughing up and down (but i find if my mind wanders then i forget how manay lengths i've done!). I also get in with a firm idea of exactly whart i want to do and what i want to have achieved by the end of the session, rather than just going for a swim for the sake of it. And becasue i'm not going to be defeated by myself i make damn sure i do it (unless in pain).
I'd say persever with the pool, i found when i really didn't want to run (or swim) i'd talk myslef into another 5-10mins or another 2 lenghts (or whatever) and by the time i'd done them i'd not want to stop so much.
Good luck!
I think they should paint interesting things on the floor of pools to make it a bit more interesting to look at rather than white and black lines!
01/06/2004 at 20:58
Candy: (That is such an apt name) Awww...fanks!. An IM is on the cards. It'll have to come after FLM2005 though it is in contention with an Ultra-marathon.

I mentioned BT as it is also "Long Slow Distance" approach. However, where the analogy falls apart is that BT is about aerobic base building. IMHO, purposeful endurance swimming is primarily about refining technique (though CV fitness obviously plays a major part).

I have done lots of speed work in swimming with little improvement. That's because my technique was carp - too much frantic arm waving and leg kicking. Long distance swimming helped me improve my technique (ie less strokes per length for similar pace).

Call me lucky or a "saddo" but when faced with the stressful nature of wuk, the dullness of long distance pool swimming (or base training) is more then welcome.
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
01/06/2004 at 21:09
Ohh this is encouraging, was kind of wondering how id manage a 2.5 mile lake swim when I need a rest every 8-10 lenghts in a pool. As said I guess the fact that the end of the pool is shallow and tempting gets you into the midset that you can take a rest when you want.

Just hoping what you say about the OW swims that the lower boredom factor etc will overide the need to rest.

Talking of rest though. On a long OW swim, what can I do if I want to take a breather as I understand your not allowed to float on your back?
01/06/2004 at 21:25
I can't remember my CSE physics but is OW fresh-water, so does it have the same bouyancy as the water in a swimming pool?

You could always do some water-treading drills. Have never done a tri but do you have to do front-crawl or can you do breast-stroke for a breather?
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
01/06/2004 at 21:39
OW I take to mean Open water and on that I include the assumption I will be wearing a wetsuit which has boyancy properties.

I can tread water and do breastroke but just looking for ideas or the experiences of others as neither of these necessarily constitute much of a rest.
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
01/06/2004 at 21:41
nrg-b - Think during a tri you can use any stroke except backstroke, can certainly use breastroke but I find that as tiring as Front Crawl.
01/06/2004 at 21:58
My breast-stroke leg kick is rubbish hence I also get very tired doing this stroke.

For endurance swims when I'm tired I swim on the side (eg right arm stretched in front, left arm on left-hip or thigh, right side of body submerged, left side is out of water, chin tucked in, body is in balance). This way I can get as many deep breaths as required before continuing.

However, from experience I know that when I have had to do this it is because I've been whirling my arms, losing form and getting needlessly tired in the first place :-(

02/06/2004 at 00:13
Is temperature also a factor? Pools tend to be very warm - I know I dont work well at higher degrees celsius. Do you get less oxygen per breath at higher temp? - although that may be marginal effect.

Swimming in a pool can be like a meditation: "Zen and the art of forward flotation"

02/06/2004 at 06:06
I think Richard M has the answer there - bouyancy
surely the salt water makes you alot more bouyant?

Anyone been to the dead sea (which is virtually all salt!!) and felt how much you floated?

Equally, i remember swimming in a fresh water lake in Italy - lovely - but recall feeling amazingly heavy ...

(or maybe i am just amazingly heavy)
02/06/2004 at 06:11
hang on , FB, i think you will find this very interesting:

02/06/2004 at 09:47
thanks for that LoK - will have a read later......

I am coming to 2 main conclusions why I find it easier in open water - which for me is sea by the way so I do get a double bouyancy effect from salt and wetsuit but don't think that is an important factor as I float well in any water.....

1. no barriers so just keep ploughing away

2. SIGNIFICANTLY - I don't use my legs much in the sea as I have a lot of upper body strength so can rely on that for power. I have noticed in the pool when doing drills with a leg float that I find it easier than when kicking.....

so maybe it's a leg thing....thoughts anyone???
Bouncing Barlist    pirate
02/06/2004 at 09:54
Yes FC time is initially spent on arm stroke, as this is quite a major factor.
But....when you have used a pullbuoy, you realise the extent of leg drag. If the legs are not up near the surface of the water, they drag which causes the upper body to have to work harder.

Idea is to keep as streamlined in the water as possible. Create less drag, more speed.
Upper body power and stroke is then utulised to it's best ability.

The way to practice the leg kick is with a kick board usually, (but can use without and then incorporates lung and shoulder strength in keeping the arms lengthened in front of you and dipping the head in the water to streamline body as much as poss,) and exagerate the kick, utilising quad muscles, so you are kicking as if you were sprinting. Really hard, incorporating lactic acid use.

But.... when swimming full stroke over a distance, the leg kick is then strong from training, and only utilised to keep the lower body up just under the surface (less drag) with a 2/4 or 6 beat leg kick.

Watch distance swimmers,.... their leg kick is just ticking over, just enough to allow their legs to remain just under the surface and then they kick like hell on the last 1/2 lengths to get the speed and sprint home. The more you can keep a strong hard leg (sprint type) leg kick going over distance the faster you will be.

You know of course the muscle ratio from arms to legs, therefore legs take up more energy to use, so over distance......"

Posted by Mermaid in 'Girls 1st Tri' - answered a lot of my questions about leg kicking.
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