Archives for posts with tag: quick breathing

Great effort over the last few weeks doing some pretty intense sessions with many of the swims at and above race pace and often with short recoveries.  We’ll be having an easier week this week with a refresher of some quick breathing drills (see here for a reminder) and a steadier paced aerobic pyramid for the main set.  

In the main set I would like you to think about that nice quick breath and using it to keep your stroke rate nice and quick while staying relaxed.  So just relax and breathe and get ready for the high octane racing fun during the Aquathlon on Sunday!

See you Saturday!



Photo by Dharm Singh on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts last week in what was our longest main set of the year outside the special Christmas and Easter swims.  This week we will be doing some more quick breathing drills before the aerobic-paced main set and some 25 sprints to finish.

Swimming is a total body sport with all the key motions – arms, legs, breathing and body position – affecting each other.  Breathing also illustrates one of the key compromises in swimming.  You will swim fastest when you keep your head down and don’t breathe.  But that is clearly not sustainable for any of the distances we will be swimming in races so the trick is to breathe efficiently to get the oxygen you need but to do it in a way that disrupts your stroke as little as possible.  And this is why doing good quick breathing is so important and can also help with keeping a good stroke rhythm.

See you Saturday!


Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts on the 50s while I was away.  It is a bit quieter in the pool now we are into race season so please make use of the extra space and leave 5 second intervals between each other.

This week we will be doing a main set consisting of blocks of 100s off a short turnaround with some extra rest in between each block.  Please try and swim these with a fast stroke rate.  Use some quick breathing to help with this.

See you Saturday!


Have spent some time working on quick breathing over the last two weeks I’d like to move onto fast starts.  Fast starts in triathlon are important to help you get the most benefit from positioning in a mass start and are the opposite of how you would swim a normal swimming race, where a negative split (swimming the second half slightly faster than the first half) is usually the way to swim your best time.  So this week we are going to practise our race starts with some positive split 200s – meaning you swim the first 100 fast and then drop back into a steadier and sustainable race pace.


Please do try and keep the quick breathing going that you’ve been doing well over the last couple of weeks.  But combine the concentration on quick breathing with having a bit of fun as we vary the pace in the main set.  A good way to practice this is to leave a 5s gap and try and get on the feet of the swimmer ahead during the fast 100 and then hang onto their slip stream, without any annoying toe-tapping.  Similarly you can try and few different tactics, such as varying your pace a bit to try stay away from the swimmer behind if there is space in the lane, as you may need to sometimes in an open water swim.

Just a quick update about the fast the session tomorrow to help you get a bit more value from it.  Tim quite rightly pointed out that knowing the physiology of the your different energy systems may help you get more benefit from trying different ways of doing quicker starts in the positive split 200s.  For a really fast start you will be using your alactic anaerobic energy system which will allow you to go fast for the first 25m or so without any real downside physiologically but you will then need to back off a bit to ensure you don’t go too fast and fade for later.  However, in an open water start you may still want to go hard for more than 25m to get into a drafting position with a pack to trade off the greater fatigue for the added benefit of some drafting.  Have a play around with different tactics tomorrow to see what works best for you in different situations!

See you Saturday!


Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts last week with the quicker breathing and keeping it going through the main set.  There were occasions where I saw people slipping back into their normal slower breathing patterns but I was really pleased to see the efforts you put into keeping what you practised in the drills going as much as possible through what was quite a long main set.

The person I saw with the best breathing was Elisa in lane 2 during the second session.  If you get a chance please do watch how quickly and well she times her breathing.  She has worked really hard at changing her breathing over the last year since we first did these quick breathing drills and you can really see how well she times her breathing now.  She has also managed to knock 43 seconds off her 400m time trial time, too!

Changing any aspect of your technique requires persistence and effort but with time improvements can be made.  Changing breathing is a challenging change since it is one of those changes that doesn’t feel better when you start.  The problem is that you usually get less breath when you first try it, because you are more tense than usual as you concentrate on making a change and have less time to actually breathe, which can’t be good, right?!  Right!  Getting less breath is not good but quicker breathing usually also helps improve your stroke rate and helps your head position mean you get a stronger catch when starting the first pull after the breath.  So the challenge of making a change to quicker breathing permanently requires you to find a way of getting the benefits from stroke rate and catch but without the drawbacks of getting less breath.  My advice for how to do this is 3-fold:

  • Keep trying and practising and you will get more comfortable and less tense so getting more breath
  • Try explosive breathing – doing a quick exhale before you turn to breathe – to maximise the amount of breath to get each time
  • Think about your breathing especially towards the end of the main sets when you are most tired as this is often when you can get the most benefit and you naturally relax to conserve energy


This week we will be doing some of the same quick breathing drills we did last week before going into a set of fast ultra-short race-pace training (USRPT) 50s.  The quick breathing fits really well with USRPTs where you will need the faster stroke rate it helps you generate and stronger catch to keep your speed going.

Late breaking news: Did you see Katie Ledecky break the 1500m world record this week with an amazing 15m20s?!  If not you can watch it here.  See if you can manage her splits of under 31s per 50m for some of the USRPT 50s this week to understand what it feels like to swim that fast!

See you Saturday,


Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

There really were some great efforts in the pool last week with our extra long session.  Lane 3 wins the “hardest of the hard-core” prize with 4 swimmers doing the 3-hour double session (Jerome, Jon, Anita & Sheila), followed by lane 1 with 3 swimmers (Simon, Iain & Edda) and completing the podium lane 4 with 1 (our very wonderful Club Chair, Jo).  After talking about Resilience in my post last week I have to say we saw it in spades in the pool last week so really well done to everyone.


This week we a taking a breath after the intensity of the last few weeks with some steadier swimming and a chance to think about good breathing again.  Please watch the video from my previous post to remind yourself about good breathing technique and see some of the drills we will be doing this week.  The main set is steady-paced swimming so please do the most important thing you can with good technique and try and keep the good breathing you will be doing in the drill set going all the way through the main set.

See you Saturday!



Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

It is time for our second set of time trials this Winter.  Normally for these second set of time trials we would have started some speed work during January but I’ve delayed the start of speed work this year to give us more time on technique – mainly on the breathing and kick.  So this set of time trials is the ideal one to really focus on making it technically as good as possible and seeing what that does for your time, stroke length and stroke count.

I am a firm believer in only focusing on one thing at a time so suggest thinking about just one key thing per length, such as:

  • Good early vertical forearm on the first length
  • Quick breathing on the second length
  • Good legs on the third (continuous but not too fast or too much effort)
  • Fast turns with good streamlining on the fourth
  • Repeat 4 times to complete the 400

See you Saturday!


Well done for all of you efforts last week with the quicker breathing.  I saw some excellent improvements in stroke tempo and heard that some of you also felt the increase in power in the stroke.  This week we will be doing a little bit more on the quicker breathing as well as done some work on the legs.  Using your legs well has a similar benefit to good breathing and really helps with the rythm of your stroke (as well as removing the brakes if your kick is poor and affecting your body position).

In the kick set this week I’d like you to think about the following:

  • When kicking try and keep your legs straight, with toes pointed, and kick from the hips. Your knees will naturally flex a bit when you do this but you should resist letting this happen as it almost always results in excessive bending of the knee which just increases drag and slows you down.
  • A great way to check your legs is when kicking on your back without a float, but always remember:
    • Never, ever, kick on your back with your arms by your sides – always keep your arms above your head in a streamlined position
    • Keep your knees under the water at all time – the only part of your legs to break the surface should be your feet
  • When doing full stroke your legs set the tempo for your arms. Hence, a great way to avoid over-reaching on your pull is to focus on keeping a steady tempo with your legs which will make it impossible to pause on your arms stroke.  A pause in your arm stroke is almost always accompanied by a pause in your leg kick.

We will also be doing some sprints at the end of the session this week and this is another great opportunity to work on your legs.  Again, the legs set the tempo for your stroke so focusing on a really fast, hard leg kick will naturally increase your stroke rate without you feeling the need to rip your arms through the water and start slipping water.

See you Saturday!


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