KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT
Are you panting like a labrador within seconds of lacing up your shoes? There’s a more efficient way to train – and it involves going slower. Enter Pavel Tsatsouline, former PT instructor for the Russian special forces – not a group you’d expect to take it easy on training runs.
‘Nose-only breathing was stressed in my unit,’ says Tsatsouline. ‘They sometimes had us run with a mouthful of water. Russian marathoners hold a handkerchief in their teeth for the same purpose – to prevent panicky and inefficient mouth-breathing.’ You don’t have to go this far – just focusing on nose-breathing will be fine. But less oxygen means less fuel, so be prepared to go at a slower pace until your body starts to adapt. This is an example of ‘self-limiting’ exercise – it keeps your heart rate low, allowing you to recover faster. And you’ll be able to let it rip when you start mouth-breathing again.
PLANNING YOUR SESSION
Make one of your longer endurance sessions ‘nose only’ each week. If you can’t because you’ve got a broken nose or a cold, or you can’t master the technique, use your heart rate to achieve the same thing. Stay at 60-65% of your max – it’ll feel slow, but you’ll recover fast.