As a swimmer I know how you feel (my feet cramp a lot). Eating lots of potassium will help with cramping but so will time. I know that when I started swimming my foot would cramp several times a swim, but now days my toe may cramp once every once and a while.
Stretching beforehand can also help with cramping.
Another way to "rest" is to put a pull buoy between your legs to keep your hips up, float on your back and scull with your hands. This keeps you moving at a slower pace with your head out of the water working your arms not your legs. I get cramps too when I use the kickboard for too long.
current weight: 194.2
Fitness Minutes: (1,241)
130 9/26/13 11:35 A
Are you familiar with back crawl, elementary back stroke, or sidestroke? I assume part of your problem with breathing is that with both front crawl and breaststroke you have your face in the water part of the time, so when you start breathing more quickly you struggle. All of these strokes, however, keep the face out of the water the entire time, so they might be something else to consider when you need to catch your breath. Elementary back stroke (like breaststroke, but on your back) and sidestroke are both considered rest strokes, because they require less energy than back crawl or front crawl.
Another option for while you catch your breath, if you're in the deep end, is to tread water/eggbeater. Again, your head's out of the water and it's generally not too intense on the exertion front.
You mentioned not realising there are different kicks. There are three main ones: flutter kick, whip kick and scissor kick. Flutter kick is the one you do for front crawl. Whip kick is the "proper" way to do breaststroke, but it involves keeping the knees no more than about a fist's width apart, and most people who do breaststroke do it with frog kick (which is much more powerful as the whipping motion uses the thighs rather than just the calves). So if you can do front crawl and breaststroke you're probably familiar with flutter kick and frog kick (unless you had a really pedantic teacher who made sure you were doing proper whip kick). Scissor kick you probably won't be familiar with if you don't know side stroke, as that's the only stroke I can think of that uses it. Like frog kick, it's nice and powerful.
Bringing this all together, my suggestion to you would be to continue what you're doing, but make sure you're mixing up the kicks (and don't do flutter kick with the board and no arms, because that's both mentally and physically difficult :P). So don't follow front crawl with back crawl or breaststroke with frog kick at the board, but whether you're doing front crawl or breaststroke as your "on" portion, sidestroke, scissor kick and treading water are all good choices for the recovery.
Hi Yogageek, I guess I should have been more specific.
I don't kick the entire time. What I do is 1-2 full laps (3-4 lengths) of either breaststroke or crawl, until my breathing gets too labored, then I kick until my lungs recover a bit. I repeat this for as long as possible, usually 45-60 minutes. I am asthmatic and I do the kicking in-between stroke laps because I feel it's better than sitting at the side to catch my breath.
It actually didn't occur to me there are different kick types... I will have to look into that and see if I can vary it a bit.
Thanks for all the suggestions!
current weight: 282.8
Fitness Minutes: (1,241)
130 9/26/13 4:34 A
What kind of kick are you doing? Flutter kick, for instance, requires a fair bit of muscular output for not much power and, honestly, the thought of doing lengths of flutter kick without my arms to help would fill me with dread. Pretty much the only one I'd do with a flutter board is frog kick; even whip kick would be wearisome. That being said, I'd recommend switching up the kicks you're doing.
That being said, if you can go 45 minutes of kicking with a flutter board, I question why you don't have the endurance to swim lengths unsupported. I'd suggest reducing the amount of time you spend and work on a variety of strokes, both arms and legs.
Fitness Minutes: (144,747)
15,062 9/26/13 1:21 A
If you've just gotten back into lap swimming recently, it could be that 45 minutes might be a little too much, too soon. Or it could be a problem with dehydration and/ or mineral imbalances, as mentioned in the article above, or a combination of both issues. Hopefully, the article will give you some ideas on solutions to try...
Hope this helps.
"All your life, you have just been waiting for this moment to arise." (Lennon & McCartney, "Blackbird")
current weight: 199.0
Fitness Minutes: (10,220)
162 9/26/13 1:06 A
I recently got back into swimming laps once a week at the local high school. I use a kickboard for most of the time until I build more endurance but this week I had to stop early because my legs were cramping (after about 45 minutes). Any tips to prevent this?
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