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Don't forget to breathe

Morning sports fans!! Running with Angie the other week we got talking about breathing and it struck me that it’s worth posting a snippet about something I ask people to do if they are chest breathing to help them change things up for the better in an effort to understand and develop better breathing protocols. Here’s a question for you… What happens with your breathing when you’re tired, you’re pushing yourself hard, and you’re running a long way, whatever long way is for you? I think we all know the answer. You start gasping for breath and your muscles scream for every last scrap of oxygen they can find to power your failing body forward while running. Guess what? The actual act of running isn't to blame for that feeling out of puff all the time when you’re running. That is for me a complete red herring. The real reason for me is that you don’t know how to breathe. You’ve never been taught. Just like you’ve likely never been taught to stand, walk or run. If you wanted to learn to play golf you’d get lessons wouldn't you? But we never get help with any of this stuff so we make it up as we go along and end up doing our own thing. Think about this for a minute. Where are you now? Sitting at a desk at work? Reading this on an tablet drinking a coffee in your kitchen? Staring at your phone on the commute to work? Wherever you are, you are likely breathing in shallow, short bursts from your chest. You’re not likely breathing deeply into your belly as you were designed to do. Am I right? Cool. So why is it important? Well that bits really simple. In yesterdays post I talked about how, if you want to be a really good runner you have to run a lot. You also have to work on form, balance, posture, loading, strength and conditioning. The same is true of your breathing as believe it or not that is also part of your running. If you breathe poorly throughout the day, I guarantee you will breathe poorly on your runs. If you think about it, on average you take around 16 breaths per minute. Count them up if you don’t believe me but you’ll be around that number. If 16 per minute is your number, that makes for circa 960 breaths in an hour and that means over 23,000 breaths per day! That is a lot isn’t it. Yes JR it is 🤓 Remember, you play how you practice. So just to reiterate… if you breathe poorly throughout the day, you're going to breathe poorly on your runs. To change your breathing I would like you to practice nose breathing and I would like you to follow this simple four point practice plan. 1. I would like you to breathe through your nose for the first five minutes and last five minutes of your next run. Doesn’t matter how far you are running. Just do it regardless. 2. Go as slowly as you need to go and I really don’t mind if you walk as it is a lot harder than it sounds. This is where you turn your Garmin off if you’re worried about average pace and what the guy or girl who lives around the corner thinks. 3. Over the coming days and weeks I would like you to gradually push for longer duration and faster speeds. Believe me when I say it will improve. 4. I would like you to try to repeat this cycle at least two to three times a week if you can over the next month and then take stock. What’s the four points for then? Well this type of breathing forces a conversation to happen (as a result of the action) with your diaphragm. I think you’ll find after some time practicing this that your diaphragm will fire like never before. When you’re chest breathing your diaphragm just doesn't function as it should. If you practice this over the month and beyond, this muscle will strengthen and you’ll notice you are nose breathing deeply, calmly and powerfully for longer distances and faster speeds. I found that this simple exercise really changed my ability to breathe better in my running and make me also far more aware of how my body was responding to exercise. You may even find that it helps you become calmer for the rest of the day. Bonus! Breathing is huge. As is form and speed. The three key points from the beginning of every Core Club session. Get to Core Club. Be different. #LookAfterYourBody #ExperimentOfOne #ABCs#JRSTT #CoreClub #NMR #MMR

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