I spent really lovely few hours running with Adharanand Finn, Joe Kelly and 11 other runners around Hampstead Heath yesterday. Adharanand was a wonderful host – allowing Joe (an Anatomy in Motion trained running coach) to deliver some really helpful tips for movement and breathing whilst running. The group were friendly and we enjoyed running up / down the Heath firstly thinking about hand position and relaxation. The next stage – which was great to watch was a discussion around nasal breathing whilst running. Joe gave a really accurate summary of the benefits it bestowed upon you and then got everybody to tape their mouths to allow them to experience what it was like. I loved his line of “Smelling the grass” as a prompt to help runners focus on drawing air in and back.
Unsurprisingly for most, it wasn’t the easiest or most enjoyable experience first time around. The second time, supported with another small tip around a round mouthed exhale it seemed to be easier and more effective. It took me back to when I started running using nasal breathing and how hard I found it alongside how long it took to integrate. I’d look for any excuse not to use, believing that mouth breathing as easier was better. Looking back (and knowing how much more comfortable I find this now) seems a world apart. I was thinking today how good a practice it is to help manage your speed when running. If it feels too hard, you need to slow down – put the ego to one side, listen to your body (and not your legs, your lungs). Even over the last 3 weeks I have seen an improvement in my heart rate dropping, as I nasally breathe on my current rehab running.
Lunchtime was supported with Adharanand telling stories around the books he’d written and what he was planning on doing in the future. All of which was interesting and well received. I then trotted off as I was close to the amount I could run for the day (and a good thing to as my achilles played up this morning when running – pushing ahead of what I should have done). I’d have loved to see what Joe did with everyone on hill sprints, maybe another time.
The whole experience did really reinforce the gap that exists within running coaching between the bare foot school and the traditional running experience. The newness of nasal breathing clear to see. It still amazes me that this isn’t more recognised or integrated into running programs. Without better processing of oxygen, greater tolerance of carbon dioxide and an improved ability to buffer lactic everything is just made harder. I’m going to enjoy learnign more and teaching more around this.