As a yoga practitioner and yoga instructor, using the breathings potential has always been a part of my practice. I have previously had some awareness how different situations affect and limit my breathing and what I can do to get the balance back. Autumn 2014 I took the Breathing instructor course by Anders Olsson and due to that also the 28-day program. During the program we used the Relaxator to help us train the diaphragm and prolong our exhale and still now in my day to day life the Relaxator helps me a lot. I use it whenever I feel like I need it, especially if I feel a bit stressed and need to focus
From the course I got a new perspective and understanding of the breaths meaning and the technique to train it. Whilst exercising I use the power of the breath and make sure I don’t hold my breath, which is easily done when you put in a lot of effort. But to only breathe through your nose whilst exercising was something completely new for me. I started to train successively and noticed that it too went really well. I noticed that it created a nice and harmonic feeling in my body.
Nose breathing also work during hard interval training
Even if I attend an intensive class I can still practice nose breathing, even during intervals. However at the end the pulse is too high and then I breathe in through the nose and let all the air out through the mouth. I have also tested to run about 7k (4.3 miles) with closed mouth a couple of times, but I haven’t been sprint training that much this spring. And as they say, practice makes perfect. You have to lower the tempo and then successively increase it once you’ve found the technique.
A Friday in the beginning of May 2015 I found out that the Ultrarun Aros Marathon was happening that same weekend and I decided to take part. I knew that Anders Olsson once ran a half marathon with duct tape over his mouth. So I thought: Why not “do an Anders Olsson” but with sleep tape. I’ve run a half marathon before but it was several years ago. Now I was going to run 25k (15.5 miles) between Örsundsbro and Enköping.
So what’s the deal with taping your mouth and what’s the effect?
As I mentioned I hadn’t practiced at all before the run and I only decided to do it the day before. I had been doing my yoga and exercised and biking to and from work and I always thought about breathing through the nose. I’d also been breathing training regularly with the Relaxator. And now I was curious to see if I would be able to run 25k (15.5 miles) with my mouth closed the whole time.
You don’t have to tape your mouth to be able to nose breathe. But this was more of an experiment for me so I’d be able to share with others from my experience. I taped my mouth to make sure it stayed closed during the entire run. With your mouth taped you also avoid small talk which interrupt the breathing rhythm. For me it also created an interest and curiosity and gave me an opportunity to spread the knowledge.
No liquid or energy during the run
During the run I didn’t have any liquids or any form of energy refills. I didn’t actually feel like I needed it. That strengthens the studies showing you lose 43% more liquid during mouth breathing. It also strengthen the theory that when the body has good access to oxygen it burns fat, which gives more enduring energy.
I felt fresh during the run and had the strength. My Achilles heel is normally getting cramp in my calves. But now I had no issues at all. It seems like good oxygen supply to the muscles helped. I found a rhythmic, conscious and prolonged breathing. Perhaps the body did not excrete adrenaline and cortisol in the same amount due to the breathing technique and gave more relaxed muscles.
Fast recovery after the “killerhills”
Focusing on the breathing really helped me when it became mentally exhausting. After about 21k (13 miles) there were two so called “killerhills” in a gravel pit, one was about 300 meters (328 yards) high. But despite the tension I experienced quick recovery with help of the breathing.
A lot of people thought it would be harder to run with taped mouth, but I say it’s the opposite. That’s what made my body make it through. I didn’t run fast but it was a nice tempo and I had an OK time, 25k (15.5 miles) with the time 2h 45min. What’s important to me is that it’s nice and fun and the body should bear it.
I’ve shared with my experiences on Facebook and to others who participated in the race. There is an interest and curiosity. Several people have come to me afterwards and said that they have tried nose breathing during exercising and they are very happy and are experiencing a better work out. It’s fun that others have felt inspired by this that was actually a very spontaneous thing for me to do.
Monika Vasic, 41 years old, Enköping, Sweden, MoYoL
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