Breathing is an important part of swimming. Apart from the obvious need for oxygen, breathing inefficiently has two knock-on effects:
1) puts stress your lungs, body and brain with irregular and insufficient in- and outflows of oxygen
2) leads to poor technique and makes swimming tougher than it needs to be.
This workout starts with some drills to help with form while breathing, and then works the lungs on an hypoxic set, where you strengthen your lungs by limiting the number of breaths you take. It also forces you to breathe bilaterally which is a great skill to have for race day.
Warm up: 200m choice swim, 100m kick
Drills: 6 x 50m as 25m drill, 25m swim, 2 each of the following:
1) Side kicking, working on smooth turn of the head to breathe
2) 6 kicks to 2 strokes – focus on breathing form and body rotation
3) 6 kicks to 4 strokes – focus on breathing form and body rotation
Main Set: 1000m total, gradually reducing the number of breaths per length while reducing the distance per swim. Get your breath back before starting the next swim ~20-30 seconds rest
- 1x 400m: 1st 100m: breathe once every 2 strokes, 2nd 100m: every 3 strokes, 3rd 100m: breathe every 4th stroke, last 100m: breath every 5th stroke.
- 1x 300m: on each 75m breathe every 3, 4, 5, 6 strokes
- 1x 200m: breathe every 4, 5, 6, 7 strokes increasing the number of strokes per breath on each 50m
- 1x 100m: breathe every 5 strokes on 1st length, then every 6, every 7 and every 8 strokes on each subsequent length
Cool Down: 100m backstroke and/or double-arm backstroke + 100m kick with kickboard (fill those lungs with air!)