There is also many things to explore in the psycho-somatic connection – it is possible that even though you have good technique on that weak side breathing, some part of the deep brain is still not confident that it’s going to find air on that side. If there is any long-held, negative emotional association to breathing on that weak side, it will more deeply imprint resistance to it.
The crazy thing about the best head position for breathing is that it is totally counter-intuitive. Everything in our land-mammal brains scream, “Tilt your head up to breathe!” But it is the head that is nearly all submerged that is actually in the easiest position to breathe because it doesn’t have to push up against gravity – which shoves right back down, or shoves some lower part of the body to compensate.
Though many people adapt and get some semblance of it, still, pool-locked swimmers have no idea how amazing the swimming rhythm… the swimming meditation can be until they can just keep taking stroke after stroke after stroke for minutes and minutes, even hours. My swimmers were hooked.
Over months and months, slight but regular deprivation will provoke your body to make deep vascular adaptations, and what formerly left you breathless will no longer do so. It will also cause you to perceive deprivation less negatively, to the point where it become mere (neutral) sensation.
When you rest just enough after strenuous repeats, those cells get what they need to immediately get back to swimming. You need to rest because it takes time for the respiratory/circulatory system to get stuff there, to resupply what will be so quickly used up in the moment ahead. There is a lag time between muscle action and respiration catching up. When you take off on the next repeat, your cells will immediately be using up supplies faster than the blood stream can resupply, and you will feel the stress of that in the form of breathlessness.
I both run and swim year round. In the last year or so I’ve put a lot more emphasis on running, and felt the corresponding motivation for that activity. Back in April, after a week off from illness, I irritated my achilles tendon on the first (allegedly ‘easy’) run back. It didn’t get much worse […]
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