I started the 7 Step CBR Program to Better Breathing six months ago in September. My breathing coach, Christina Birge, knew how much I work out and when she asked me if I wanted to try something that would improve my results I didn’t hesitate a single second. Who wouldn’t try to increase the result with up to 20%, well I know I definitely would! Training is a part of my everyday life and I compete in OCR (Obstacle Course Racing).
I have always been working out but the last four years I have increased the intensity. Four years ago I worked out 4-5 times per week but now I do as much as 6-8 work outs per week, which includes running, swimming, CrossFit and practicing for Kustjägaren (The Coast-to-Coast Hunter) that takes place in Karlskrona, Sweden (26 km of running and 4,4 km of swimming.)
At first I almost panicked
I started the breathing retraining, with all that was to it – worked out with my mouth closed for atleast 30 minutes per day, used the Relaxator every day and taped my mouth at night. I was quite skeptical about keeping my mouth shut while exercising and in the beginning it felt almost impossible.
The first three times I almost panicked. But as soon as I slowed down, it was okay. So, if you want to try for yourself, my advice is to take it easy in the beginning and not push yourself. Also, my nose was dripping quite a lot, but it was just to bring a tissue or dry myself on my sweater.
Christina told me that this was just temporary until my nose had got used to the increased airflow. And indeed she was right, after a while the problem disappeared.
Could cut 10 minutes on my 10 km run with nasal breathing
Already after a few days I noticed the difference. I woke up at 5am in the morning and felt rested and could go out for a run before my family woke up (husband and four kids). I had so much energy I couldn’t believe it.
I put all my focus on my breathing when I was out jogging and I didn’t get any lactic acid or soreness in my muscles. I felt like I could run for a thousand miles! I used to have problems with my periosteum but since I started with Conscious Breathing I haven’t felt any of that!
The strangest thing was that I didn’t even feel tired after finishing my runs. I recovered extremely quickly and within only 6 weeks I was able to cut 10 minutes on my usual 10 km run! I have gone from 55 minutes, with mouth breathing, to 45 minutes with nose breathing. Incredible! I couldn’t get my head around how this was even possible since I had not changed a single thing in the way I train.
The main reason why I felt ok about slowing down my tempo was that I got a thorough explanation of why it is so beneficial to breathe through my nose.
I am stronger, healthier, sleep better, recover faster
Improving my breathing has led to a number of positive effects:
- I also use the technique when I train CrossFit and all the heavy lifting we do there. I have never been able to do even one pull-up, but when I decided to exhale through my nose while pulling myself up, I immediately managed to do two in a row! My training friends just stared at me in disbelief!.
- My recovery has completely changed. I used to huff and puff like a steam train when I worked out, but not now.
- I don’t get as much soreness in my muscles.
- During the fall and winter I havne’t been ill even once, only a mild throat pain for two days, which is not normal for me. Many people around me, including my training friends, have been sick a lot during the fall and winter.
- I sleep so much better. Immediately when I began with the breathing retraining I started to feel extremely energetic. I wake up at 5 or 6 in the morning and feel alert, happy and rested. I have only slept one night without the tape since I started in the fall.
28 Day Breathing Retraining
|Taped mouth||27 of 28 nights|
|Breathing retraining with the Relaxator||approx. 20 minutes/day|
|Physical activity with closed mouth||approx. 15 minutes/day|
Results 0=no improvement, 10=very big improvement
|Ability to concentrate||10|
|Fear, worry, anxiety||10|
I don’t understand why breathing retraining in order to increase the performance doesn’t get more attention. My next challenge is to use this technique when I crawl, since Anders have said that it may be possible!