Tudor Morris is currently training for an important event in September: swimming the channel in aid of the cancer charity, Momentum, who offered help and support to Tudor as he went through cancer himself.
Tudor has been using POWERbreathe over the last 6-weeks to help improve his breathing strength and stamina for this event, and to help him control his breath as he swims.
Tudor is following the rules set by the Channel Swimming Association so will be not be able to stop at all during his swim in water that’s just 15 degrees. We believe POWERbreathe will strengthen his breathing muscles to help him swim the approximately 19nm (nautical miles) from England to France - a challenge that is considered to be the ultimate test of endurance, strength and stamina.
Here’s Tudor’s story, in his own words…
At 13 I was diagnosed with stage III non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer that affects the immune system and lymphatic glands, where white blood cells are produced. By the time I started treatment, the cancer had spread, and I had tumours on both sides of my neck, and more alarmingly around my heart and lungs.
One of the worst things about treatment was being kept in containment, when your body is so weak that even a minor infection like a cough or cold could pose serious risk to you, you are essentially kept in a sanitized room until your blood results improve. You can be in there for weeks on end, without really being able to leave.
That’s where ‘Momentum’ came in; they provided me with books, DVDs, drawing materials... anything I requested to help me pass the time. Momentum is based at Kingston Hospital and help families and support children with cancer.
After undergoing 2 ½ years of a series of surgeries and rounds of chemotherapy I was given the all clear, and luckily have been cancer free since. But I’ll never forget what Momentum did for me and how much they helped me and my family when I was ill.
Since cancer I took up sport as a way to get back from being so unwell, I suppose you could say that I got the bug for exercise because in September this year I’ll be attempting a cross-channel solo swim.
Thankfully I am ever so slightly mad; otherwise I don’t think I’d be able to get through the gruelling hours of training week in week out. Getting across the 21 mile distance that separates the UK from France in temperatures ranging from 13-18oC is no easy feat, and not a challenge to be taken lightly. To date, there have been more Olympic gold medallists and more people climbing Everest than have managed the marathon swim. The tide makes a huge impact on your swim course so I’ll be finishing either around the 12hr mark or around an 18hr one.
A few months ago I had a minor shoulder injury and was forced to rest for fear of exacerbating it. I was looking into alternative forms of exercise and I came across ways of improving lung efficiency (as I’m sure you’ll realize is incredibly important to open water swimming). I came across Powerbreathe, and the folks there have been kind enough to send me one for my training.
Of course the first thing I did when I got it out of the box was to set it to the highest level of resistance and try breathing through it. Obviously I found that incredibly difficult so I started following the recommended program that goes with it. Actually just watching their instructional videos on how to breathe from the diaphragm helped straight away.
When training in the pool I usually breathe every 3 strokes, after a few weeks on Powerbreathe I was breathing every 5, and I can currently breathe every 7. This is a bit harder in open water when your body is working a lot harder to get through an ‘active’ body of water rather than a static one.
So if you’d like to sponsor me and help this great charity out we’d be most grateful!
Thank you to Tudor for getting in touch and letting us know how he’s getting on with all his training. We’d like to wish him all the best for this incredible challenge, and if you have any advice or stories to share with Tudor, or would like to wish him Good Luck too, then please feel free to leave a comment here.
Tudor recently attended Club La Santa in Lanzarote which not only provides sports holidays but also sports training camps too, and Tudor took his POWERbreathe with him to ensure continuous inspiratory muscle training. Tudor will train with his POWERbreathe every day, and as his breathing strength and stamina improve, he’ll be able to continue challenging his breathing muscles by increasing the training load.
IMT (inspiratory muscle training) should be considered an essential part of anyone’s swimming training, and even more so for those taking the challenge of swimming the channel. Reading Tudor’s blog above we can see how, after training with POWERbreathe, he’s managing to control his breathing during his strokes. This is a very important benefit for when swimming long distances such as swimming the channel, as according to the Channel Swimming Associations’ training advice, “it’s important to take long powerful strokes and to hold your rhythm for hours without showing any sign of weakening.”
Jeremy Oliver is the Strength and Conditioning Coach, Australian Commonwealth & Olympic Team Athletes and has been using POWERbreathe for over eight years. Here’s what he had to say about POWERbreathe:
“I have been using Inspiratory Muscle Training with POWERbreathe for eight years as part of the strength and conditioning program for Elite Athletes, such as Leisel Jones, Grant Hackett, Michael Klim, Sean Wroe and Madeleine Pape. Inspiratory Muscle Training is an important part of the regime for a number of my elite swimmers and runners in the lead up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2012 London Olympics.”
Read more about why you should consider incorporating POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training as part of your swimming training, and if you’re already using POWERbreathe as part of your training, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear from you. You can also read more about using POWERbreathe in swimming training on our Blog.