The advantage to being a no-talent beginner freediver is that you improve steadily yet incrementally, so you’re always setting new personal bests. Today I did a new PB in DYN (i.e., “dyamic”, which means swimming for distance in a pool on a single breath hold): 55 meters. I’m thrilled with this because my last PB, set a month or so ago, was 44 meters (so actually, a significant as opposed to incremental improvement, this time).
Afterwards, my coach put me through a dynamic training table:
Breathe-up for 1min 30sec, then swim on one breath for a distance of 30m; repeat 4x.
Breathe-up for 1min 20sec, then swim 30m; repeat 4x.
Breathe-up for 1min 10sec, then swim 30m; repeat 4x. (By this point I couldn’t make it 30m, though, so we reduced the distance to 22m.)
Breathe-up for 1min, then swim 22m; repeat 4x.
Breathe-up for 50sec, then swim 22m; repeat 4x.
Breathe-up for 40sec, then swim 22m; repeat 2x.
The point of this exercise is to develop tolerance to carbon dioxide. By reducing the recovery time between swims you increase carbon dioxide buildup in your bloodstream, which means that the urge to breathe comes sooner, diaphragm contractions start earlier, and lactic acid builds up in your muscles. The idea is that with repeated exposure to these phenomena it becomes easier to deal with them. I have poor CO2 tolerance generally and my contractions start early, so this is the shit I need to work on.
These exercises are seen as grunt work and it seems most freedivers don’t really enjoy doing them, so I’m either a freak or a masochist because I had fun. It’s totally head-clearing–it was impossible for me to think about other stuff either while breathing or while swimming, and about halfway through the table I entered “the zone”, such that I was physically comfortable at the end of each length and not gasping overmuch when I came up for air.
After a pool session I always feel really good, too. Not the euphoria I get after an open-water session, but still, pretty good.