Monday, March 14, 2011

Will POWERbreathing make me faster?

I still have my Maffetone 'patience phase' of training rolling along. Just making slight adjustments week to week — I'm finding that 90 to 100 kilometres weekly is a manageable amount of running to fit in around my sometimes long hours at work. Last Thursday I ran on the immaculate grass of the Calwell 400m track — eight 200s to remind my legs of the speed needed for a 20-minute 5k. A neuromuscular workout of sorts. I had a rough goal of 48 seconds for these and averaged 47.8. Walked back across the infield for a full recovery. They felt OK — like I could have run faster. I held back as I didn't want to get into any sort of high heart-rate or lactate accumulation territory.

I also purchased a POWERbreathe 'Sports Performance Plus' inspiratory muscle training device after reading some interesting research evaluation blog posts from Canute. Does anyone use one of these? My experience thus far is positive. On the first day I found it very hard to do ten breaths on the easiest of ten levels. Thought I'd purchased the wrong model! Now I'm up to 30 breaths twice daily and can foresee increasing the difficulty level and number of breaths to 2 x 30 twice daily. The POWERbreathe people recommend having the level set so that one 'fails' at 30 breaths.

I think this type of training might be suitable for people racing distances of 10k or less. For marathoners, breathing doesn't seem to be a 'roadblock', but it can be for distances where lactate accumulation is higher and for hilly races. Speaking of hilly races, the Six Foot marathon was held on Saturday (the first time I've missed it since 2003). Thought I'd leave a link to a video showing the amazing sure-footedness of female race winner Anna Frost. She recorded the third fastest female time in race history — 3:52:48 for 45k of mountainous trails on a hot day. Amazing.

POWERbreathe stops me talking!Being a Ferrari (cap) owner, I can afford a POWERbreathe


Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

You're doing better than me, I don't even have the cap!

I would be very interested in a more detailed post about what you actually do with the Powerbreath, I've seen them advertised but never used one. I often lose my growth when trying to run fast. I tried modifying my breathing a bit fate a couple of Canute's posts too.

4:50 pm  
Blogger Two Fruits said...

The video of Anna Frost was very good, as well as some others I found on YouTube, Jonathon Wyatt etc. Now I wish I was even 20 years younger & able to run up and down those spectacular mountains in Europe.
As for breathing, it certainly helps to breathe when running, I read it keeps you alive.

5:01 pm  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I'll be interested to see the results you get from the power breath, at least you should be good at blowing up balloons at kids parties :]

7:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am interested to hear that your ability to develop inspiratory pressure is improving, though I suspect that much of the initial improvement is due to getting the knack of breathing through the device. However I have little doubt that there will be a real improvement in the force you can exert with your inspiratory muscles, over the next few weeks. Then the interesting question will be whether or not this improves your 5K time. Good luck.

8:03 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Andrew, I'm working my way up - a Ferrari jacket is next ;) I'll save a detailed post for after the 6-week period of training they recommend. Basically, you have to breathe in strongly against an adjustable spring-loaded valve to get air into the lungs, but expiration is 'free'. There's a nose-clip to stop nose breathing, but I just hold my nose. It really forces your diaphragm and chest muscles to work hard. It's a bit similar to swimming and only breathing on every third or fourth stroke.

2F, it's not too late. Save your Tassie moving money and take a mobile home holiday in Europe!

Rick, yes, I'll be the go-to man at kid's parties!

Canute, yes, maybe initial unfamiliarity was a problem. The force required is quite incredible. I find I have to breathe much 'harder' than I ever have to get the air in. With simply running, the body just slows before that much breathing force is required.

8:40 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

Interesting. If I was concentrating on 5 & 10 Ks I would get one of those. And a great video!

9:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The combination of your power breather and that magnetic thing around your neck there will be no holding you back :)

11:03 pm  
Blogger Girl In Motion said...

Now that's a funny contraption, curious to see if it helps. For some reason, I can get into every other aspect that might improve running but I don't have the patience for paying attention to breathing (except for monitoring effort level). Who knows though, you may change that.

2:58 am  
Blogger Black Knight said...

This is the first time I read something about the Powerbreath. I hope it can work for you.
You are almost a fortune-teller: 47'41" real time - 48'49" official time.

4:18 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

I'm impressed with your colour co-ordination and even more impressed that you don't mind running 5ks with that thing hanging out of your mouth.

How will you know the contribution the powerbreathe makes given that you have other irons in the fire? (e.g. MAF) or does it really matter as long as you get the 5k time you want?

10:26 am  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

Breathing can make a ton of difference. I finally saw a doctor about my asthma and got an inhaler, and I've felt much better while running since. I hope this helps you as much as that did me.

12:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a WEIRD little device! I can't wait to hear what kind of outcomes you have with it. Great video link!

2:09 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Bob, I'll let you know how it goes. Might get you to the low 37s and winning your A/G.

Jen, difference between those two is one doesn't have believe in the POWERbreathe. Your titanium necklace is just for looks - I told you that ;)

Flo, the effort level with this thing is 100%. It's hard!

Stefano, that's good! 47:41 is quick. You'd be 1 km ahead of Ruth ;)

Grellan, I'm going to lend it to my over-talkative training partners. I see the POWERbreathe as supplementary to MAF. A bit like core strength work to any running program.

Robert, that's interesting. I think it might help asthma sufferers.

SK, yes, it looks strange. Not game to do it in public yet ;)

4:31 pm  
Blogger rinusrunning said...

Thats a fast marathon from anna!.
Goodluck and thanks for your windmills pic on my blog!.

5:11 am  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Well Ewen if that "inspiratory muscle training device" doesn't work out you can always buy a kazoo and take that act on the road!

2:56 pm  
Blogger Scott Brown said...

Yes and great running by Ms Frost who almost "chicked" Pommy Tom, who you probably know, is no slouch himself!

3:06 pm  
Blogger TiredMamaRunning said...

That powerbreathe thing reminds me of the contraption I had strapped to my face for a VO2Max test I did during an alcohol and endurance running study (had a nose plug too). It was disorienting to say the least! Did get adjusted to it by the end of testing, I can see how this gadget could have a positive benefit.

12:42 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Rinus, unbelievably fast when you consider the "technical" course and 10k plus of uphill running.

Ha ha Scott. I'll try busking outside Woolies first ;)

Yes, I've heard of Pommy Tom - good runner, but under 40, so only a whipper-snapper.

TMR, I'd want to take more than 30 breaths on a VO2Max test ;) Must do one of those one day. Thanks for reading!

7:30 pm  
Blogger Richard Friedel said...

A striking fact about these resistive lung trainers is that sucking over/past some object placed between the lips is much more effective as regards lung expansion than the admittedly successful gadgets.
This also stands to reason since the gadgets would tend to train to a set suction pressure, hard to justify on physiological grounds. In particular tightening the lips on the object or finger toward the end of an inhale substantially increases inflation, preferentially into the lower abdomen Let us hope that this will be reflected in future designs of Powerbreathe RF

10:11 pm  

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