Men's Fitness - - Endurance -

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.


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.

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