ATC 264: Nasal Breathing, Sleeping Before a Race, Staying Limber, and Much More!

July 6, 2018


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In this 264th episode of “Ask The Coaches,” Lucho and Brock answer the following questions:

Fabian asks:

Hi there, I’m experimenting with nose breathing. I generally try to nose breathe for as long as possible into a workout. What’s your take on that? Do professionals nose breathe during competition? Thanks a lot.

(goal 2018: sub 2:50 Marathon in Frankfurt at the end of October)

The coaches say:
– The book Running on Air
– Rhythmic breathing coordinates footstrike with inhalation and exhalation in an odd/even pattern so that you will land alternately on your right and left foot at the beginning of every exhalation. This way, the impact stress of running will be shared equally across both sides of your body.
– Inhale to the count of 3 and exhale to the count of 2. You might count it this way: “in-2-3,” “out-2,” “in-2-3,” “out-2,”
– Then switch to a 3-count, or 2:1, rhythmic breathing pattern: Inhale for two steps, exhale one, inhale two steps, exhale one.
– Remember the importance of getting enough oxygen by any means necessary!
– It can lower lactate.
– Studies showed lower white blood cells.
– It’s a fun tool/trick – but don’t overthink it.

Paola asks:

(1) sleeping before a night race (2) training between 2 races 4 weeks apart

I have a 45km trail race (2820 metres / 9252 feet of elevation gain) coming up on October 1st. The race starts at midnight. I cannot figure out how to change my sleeping patterns in the few days before the race: should I try to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier? Or the opposite, try to sleep at a later time? Or maybe I should just keep my current schedule (12am to 7:00am) and take a nap in the afternoon before the race?

On October 27 I have another trail race of 70km (+3400 / 11,155 feet elevation gain, some long runnable sections towards the end); what is the best strategy in the 4 weeks before: a couple of weeks recovery, and maybe a few easy runs just before the second race, or should I bring back some more structured training, like long runs, hills, and race pace runs?

I am an older runner (52), not particularly gifted or competitive. I don’t have an A and B race, my goal for both is to finish by the cutoff times, but of course, the 70k one is more demanding and has stricter cutoff times. I was even thinking of going into the 45k race after a shorter taper (not completely rested), treat it as the last long run before the 70k, and then do a long taper until October 27.

The coaches say:
– Stockpile sleep so you don’t have to worry about the night before.
– Use caffeine strategically.
– Breathing exercises can help with sleep but avoid supplements and sleep aids.
– 4 weeks isn’t so bad but stress recovery immediately after the first race.
– Get in the water, no running (until soreness peaks), good diet (healthy fat).
– 4 days of nothing, then short run, then slowly build up to 50% of usual volume.
– Tempo, Hills, nothing that beats you up or breaks you down.

Mike asks:

Stiffness chasing my kids.

I am a 39 y/o male with several 26.2s and was averaging 40-50 miles per week running before my recent downtime postrace. My kids like to run around and play and have me chase them all over the place in games similar to “tag.” It usually starts spontaneously and so there is no mobility or dynamic warmup. For the first couple minutes, I am awkward, stiff and so slow I have trouble even catching my 2 y/o.

Sounds silly but how is it I can run over 50 miles some weeks and 26.2 at one go but have trouble at the beginning chasing after the kids? Is it normal? Any thoughts on how I can avoid or at least minimize that beginning stiffness? (Sorry, my time machine is broken so no making me chronologically younger.)

The coaches say:
– Warming up for life, not just exercise.
– Perhaps you are stiff because you run so much?
– Look at your diet for inflammatory causes of stiffness and places you can lessen that.
– Age plays a role – but don’t let that be an excuse.
Dynamic Aging book by Katy Bowman

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