I’ve always loved to swim, but with my heavy track practice schedule, it can sometimes be hard to swim as much as I’d like to. To make the time spent in the pool even more worthwhile, I collaborate with my coach to create a swimming workout that is beneficial for both my overall fitness as well as my race-specific practices.
One thing that I’ve been working on in my running is breathing properly. Breathing while sprinting (as opposed to long distance running) is something that can cause confusion sometimes, as there are so many different theories as to how it should be done, as well as different ways for different race distances. For example, some 100 meter runners swear by holding their breath for the duration of the race, while others will take one or two breaths during the race. For a 400 meter race, an athlete may count their breaths by the step or by the meter, or based on whether they are running on the straight or the curved part of the track.
With competition season approaching, I decided that regulating breathing during my 400 meter was a solid route to a faster time. What better way to do this than to practice holding my breath underwater?

So, my new swimming workout looks something like this:

1) Inhale for 3 seconds, then exhale for 6 underwater (2x)
Inhale for 4 seconds, then exhale for 8 underwater (2x)
Swim 50m
Repeat 3 times

2) Swim 50m with kickboard (legs only)
Inhale for 5 seconds, then exhale for 7 underwater (2x)
Inhale for 4 seconds, then exhale for 8 underwater (2x)
Repeat 3 times

3) Swim 1000-2000m of freestyle laps with regular breathing patterns (depending on what kind of distances you’re more used to swimming)

Although this isn’t among my more physically demanding workouts, it is definitely a mentally challenging one. Regulating my breathing while running is among my weaknesses, and forcing myself to do so underwater has taken more willpower than I thought it would.

More: Pilates and triathlons… A good combination!

Overall, it’s actually quite a nice workout for anyone to try, whether you have the same purpose behind it or not. It might help you release a bit of stress, or it might give you a nice fat burning interval workout that will keep your heart rate going up and down throughout. I’ll be doing this workout about three times each week, and then testing it out with a 400m run soon! I’ll keep you guys posted on how that goes 🙂

Happy training!

-Reem

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