A new style of training
In an attempt to develop my general cardio and help with my Jiu-Jitsu, I’ve recently returned to running; using a breathing technique taken from The Oxygen Advantage, which involves only breathing though my nose.
I’m not going to delve into the science, but this technique can be applied to any type of training in an attempt to make your cardiovascular system more efficient and healthy.
Protecting my feet
When I run, I only wear thin, light running shoes (sometimes barefoot if it’s safe) and, believe it or not, I’ve found that nasal breathing has really helped protect my feet.
But how, you ask?
How on earth can breathing through my nose protect my feet?
As a novice nasal breather, you can’t run too quick, otherwise you will lose your breath. Easing off the pace to maintain your breath, helps you protect your feet and ankles – you won’t push too hard, too fast!
It’s as simple as that!
Monitoring your performance through nasal breathing
If you can’t breathe through your nose, you are pushing too hard and your cardiovascular system can’t cope with the amount of work you are demanding of it.
Breathing through your nose acts like an internal Fitbit, monitoring your workload so you don’t push too hard and injure yourself.
Training in this way is also good for avoiding burnout because you’re training WITH your body (and breath), not AGAINST it!
You’re not forcing yourself to do things that your body isn’t ready for and it also helps you to avoid tension.
But please use a little common sense with this one!
Your ability to breathe through your nose may develop more quickly than the strength of your feet and ankles. Don’t think you can run like Mo Farah on speed when you start to nose-breathe comfortably! Your feet won’t be able to handle it!
An introduction to my style of training
I’ve shared this because it’s working for me and it’s a good way to start both nasal breathing and barefoot running.
If you have tender feet to start with, you will have to change your running style (which is better for your body anyway). Go slower, get used to the sensation and let your cardiovascular system develop over time.
Nasal breathing can be used in any sport or activity and I think easing into it helps you learn techniques and skills more deeply. Enjoy the process of development and avoid rushing ahead or trying to power though everything.
It will also help you practice for longer periods, with better mental focus and less likelihood of burnout.
If I feel any tension building in my body, I exhale a few times through pursed lips to breathe out the tension. Then, when ready, I will return to nasal breathing only.
Go on… slow down, breathe through your nose and reduce the amount of rubber between your feet and the ground – I’d love to know how you get on!
Until next time, Gareth.