In my last blog post I mentioned that I was starting to run again. And run I have. After about eight weeks of training I recently ran a 5k and logged what I feel, for me, was a very good pace. I finished the race at just over 33 minutes, logging a fairly consistent 10:33/mile pace.
At about six weeks into my training I discovered a new piece of information that has radically changed my approach - I don't breathe too good. I'm a mouth breather and according to Patrick McKoewn, author of The Oxygen Advantage that can lead to a whole host of problems. Due, oddly enough, to getting too much oxygen. You see, we need a balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in our systems. Carbon dioxide, it turns out, is not just a waste product, but a vital component to our respiration. It's the CO2 that allows our cells to uptake the oxygen we breathe in. Mouth breathing bring in too much air and flushes the CO2 out. With not enough CO2 our body can't take in enough of the O2 we breathe in, which cause us to breathe in more which further reduces the CO2 which cause us to breathe in more...You get the point.
What's happened over years of training and mouth breathing is that my CO2 tolerance is greatly diminished. As a result I over breathe - all the time. In fact, I HATE to hold my breath, which ironically is one of the tests for how well you tolerate CO2 and one of the curative exercises for increasing your CO2 tolerance.
One of the first things you can do to help correct mouth and over breathing is, you guessed it, shut your trap. Close your mouth and breathe through your nose. So, I've been actively involved in breathing through my nose, catching myself every time I breathe through my mouth or at least become conscious of it. Only, it's really hard to run with your mouth closed. At present I can get a couple blocks but beyond that I start huffing and puffing. The aforementioned 5k? Mouth breathing. Because, let's face it. It's going to take some time and effort to build both my CO2 tolerance and my aerobic capacity under these conditions. But, that's okay. I've got time and I'm old enough and wise enough to want to do it right this time.