Last week my 50K training was spot on. 5 runs, each from 1 to 1 1/2 hours. It was hot, but hey, it’s August in Oklahoma.
One thing about running for 1-2 hours at a time…you have plenty of time to think. At first, you’re just thinking about the running, how you feel, what the weather’s like, don’t forget to breathe, WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE ROOT! You know, that sort of stuff. But at some point, you settle into a groove and it all becomes (more) automatic.
One caveat…if you are trail running, never, and I repeat, never, forget the trail runners axiom “if you look up, you’re going down”. And I speak from personal experiences. Yes, that is plural. As in, too many to remember. Don’t know who first said that, but truer words were never spoken. But, I digress…
So, I’m puttering along and I decide to try focusing on my breathing. Not just breathing in general. No, I’ve been focusing on that since the first running stride. I decide I’m going to try that new breathing “pattern” that I read about. The article indicated that if I master this breathing pattern that I will become faster. Well, sounds pretty good to me. I mean, I’ve got to breathe anyway, right? So I change nothing but my breathing pattern and I will run faster. Okay, I’ll bite.
As I understand it, we runners tend to breathe in and out in an even pattern. This somehow throws our body off balance (or something). And I’m supposed to breathe in for an odd # of steps, then breathe out for an even # of steps (or something like that).
Hey, cut me some slack! I’m in the middle of the woods someplace and I’m just trying to remember, OK? Let’s see, I think it was breathe in for 3 and out for 2.
I don’t even get through the first cycle. Try again, and again. Nope. Nada. Not workin’.
Okay, maybe I can play with this. How about breathing in for 5 steps and out in 4. That’s better…doesn’t feel natural, but beats the heck out of that 3/2 combo.
So I’m chugging along…in for 5, out in 4, in for 5 out in 4. Maybe this isn’t so bad. Now I start really filling my whole inside with air. In for 6, out in 5, in for 6, out in 5. Oh yeah, that’s filling the old diaphragm.
Usually, I try and breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. I figure the nose is a filter and an air warmer (important on those frosty winter mornings). And out through my mouth because it shoots the air (along with whatever else my body is trying to purge) away from my body as opposed to down my front . Once again, I’m speaking from personal experience. Just sayin’. Once again, I digress…
So now I am really getting this deep breathing down…HEY! WHAT THE…
I have no idea what I just inhaled, but it was flying until it was sucked into the vortex that I was creating. I didn’t even see it. Too far down to cough it back up. So I just swallowed it. No choice really.
Kind of changes the whole focus of one’s run…
I think I’m going back to breathing through my nose.
See you on the trails.
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