QUESTION: How would it be possible to breathe with my nose when cross-country skiing? My nose is running constantly and becomes clogged. I sleep with a taped mouth and breathe with my nose most of the time during daytime, but it just does not work when skiing because it is too cold. What to do?
ANSWER: Usually, it has to do with practice. The more we practice breathing through the nose when doing physical activities, the better we will become at it.
The most common mistake I come across is when you only have tried your activity once and that you have done it with the same speed you use when breathing through your mouth.
To succeed, you need to slow down and be patient. Ignore the performance and leave the watch at home.
We cannot expect to be able to cope with nasal breathing immediately, just as we cannot expect to do 50 pull-ups if we have never done a single one in our lives. We get to see ourselves as beginners in this “branch” and think that we are giving ourselves a new challenge — a breathing challenge that you can indeed manage to do.
The problem with a runny nose is usually transient. How long it will take to get up to the same intensity you have right now and just breathe through a nose that does not run all the time (but maybe a little) usually depends on what breathing habits you have in your everyday life.
Although nasal breathing is the most important first step on the road to good breathing, and you tape your mouth at night and breathe through your nose almost all day, there are more things that determine if the quality of your breathing. In Conscious Breathing, we work with seven good breathing habits: it should be in and out through the nose, and it should be far down in the stomach, slow, small, rhythmic and quiet while the posture is straight.
Here is an article that may give you some inspiration: “Conscious Breathing for optimum sport performance“.