This week have a low volume, high technique content session, looking at breathing.
Early season feedback suggests this is still the main are of concern for athletes, particularly during mass-start events. Breath holding and anxiety go hand-in-hand and can spiral out of control. This session promotes relaxation and emphasises techniques that can be useful in open water – such as breathing leeward (away from the chop), or keeping sight of other competitors who may be on either side of you.
2 – 5 minutes sink-down drill
4 x 50m as 100m easy, 100m steady, focus on relaxed exhalation into the water
100m breathing every 3 strokes (2 strokes for unilateral breathers)
100m breathing every 5 strokes (4 strokes for unilateral breathers)
100m breathing every 7 strokes (6 strokes for unilateral breathers)
200-300m (8-12 lengths) breathing to right side only
200-300m (8-12 lengths) breathing to left side only
200-300m (8-12 lengths) breathing bilaterally
200-300m (8-12 lengths) 2 breaths right, 2 breaths left
200m – 400m Easy, down to very easy focussing on relaxed exhalation.
Total distance (average) 1500-2100m
Observe lane etiquette
During sink-downs, try to relax throughout. After exhaling, break the water’s surface gently to take a small breath, rather than launching yourself from the water to gasp in a lungful of air, re-submerge and gently exhale, promoting continued relaxation. This might sound familiar to yoga practitioners.
While swimming, take smaller breaths than you might be used to (its less to blow out). If you find yourself rapidly exhaling at the point of rotation, you may be taking in too much air to start with!
If you’re normally unilateral and moving to bi-lateral or unilateral on the ‘weaker’ side, make your first breath on the ‘weak’ side – start as you mean to go on!