A couple of weeks ago I tried something. Admittedly, with hindsight – it seems a little obvious and unnecessary. But when has that ever stopped me…..?
I was setting off, same as ever on my run home from the store, when I concluded that – since it was to be a level 1 ‘slow ‘n’ steady’, I might actually be able to breathe entirely through my nose and not my mouth for the entire journey.
Deciding to try was easy. I’d only just set off and was well within my comfort zone. Thing is, doing it was something else.
Slowly, but surely, my heart rate climbed toward level 2. My circulation was in full swing and the usual things started to happen….
The temptation was to open my mouth and gently ease the pressure. I was still in level 1, but the effort required felt like it must have easily been higher. My nose began to run.
Nothing new, my nose running. It does it almost every time I go for a run in cold weather, or over any long distance. But at level 1 for less than 15 minutes, the snot was already streaming across my top lip, like some 3 year old.
Half way home and fighting the temptation to gasp, relieving my nostrils of the workload and allowing a good sniff, or a wipe from my gloved hand – but NO!
Houghboy was very much in his element. This restful run, so easy I could gently rely on nose alone, now had me snorting wildly like some rabid beast, flowing with snot.
Headache emerging, with a dull ache developing behind my eye balls and a feeling like a nosebleed might be just a moment away (I could smell the iron on my nasal passage), I pressed on.
‘I’ve managed it half way, I can manage the full run’, I thought to myself, losing sight of my original intentions and forcing myself, as if on a Japanese game show.
Through Hillsborough I ploughed on. Up the final stretch of road and into my street – tired and senses blazing, I stopped my watch at the back door step and took a ‘victory gasp’.
Idiot. What was the point of that?
I walked the dog soon after with my headache easing a little. The snot was gone. But my eyes and nasal passage still felt the way they did when I got slapped in the face by a random wave in the swimming baths (you’ll know if you’ve ever had that face full of water).
Conclusion (as if you’d need this spelling out):
To run at a low level/slow pace, doesn’t automatically mean you can cope with breathing through your nose alone and doing so doesn’t necessarily act as a natural control mechanism against over working on a slow run. It does in fact result in a giant mess of a workout, that I’d describe as ‘unsustainable’ – to put it mildly.
I knew better than this.
I won’t be trying it again.
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