I have now completed six weeks of POWERbreathe training and it is now time to move to a once every other day training schedule as my initial training period is over. Alison McConnell in her book 'Breathe Strong Perform Better" mentions that research suggests that minimal improvements can be made after a 6 week training block, and a maintenance schedule is all that is then required.
So, a bit of an overview of the POWERbreathe training so far:
Everything has improved quite dramatically over the past few weeks, here is the training in numbers:
•Test 1 Sindex - 177
•Final Test Sindex - 233
That is a 32% improvement in my performance over 6 weeks, which is a very nice gain to have made.
Another area that has improved is the Peak Inspiratory Flow (PIF) value (Litres)
•Test 1 - 9.5 litres
•Final Test - 11.9
That is a 25% improvement over 6 weeks in my peak inspiratory flow value.
Training wise, I have seen massive improvements in what I am able to do each session.
To begin with my average power for the session was 29.7 cmH2O, is is now 67.9 cmH2O. This basically means I am 'lifting' a lot heavier weights during the session, or working with a lot more resistance.
Average flow has remained fallibly constant, around the 5 litters/second mark, with it dipping below when I am adjusting to a new level of resistance, them improving steadily. It is not a surprise to see this as you can't make the lungs any bigger, just more efficient. This is a similar story for the volume per breath, which has sat around 4.5 - 5.5 litres per breath.
All of these numbers are just that at the end of the day. The big question has to be whether it has made a difference to my training. I think that it has made a difference and I don't believe it is all psychological.
Over the last few weeks I have run two massive pb's, taking over 2 minutes off my 10k time (down to 36:17) and over 9 minutes off a half marathon (down to 1:20:05). I have been training well but I have also felt stronger when I have been pushing my body over the tougher sessions. There is a huge psychological benefit to be had, whenever you start to get tired and the breathing becomes harder, thinking back to all the work put in on the POWERbreathe trainer certainly makes me realise that I am capable of doing this and I am in good shape. I have also found my chest has been less susceptible to the tiny coughs that I usually pick up at the drop of a pin whilst training. This might be down to other parts of my lifestyle; diet and general well being, however I think that the POWERbreathe has done a lot for my breathing technique.
So, 6 weeks has flown past, I am slightly relieved to not be using the device twice a day, however it will be interesting to see how the next few weeks play out with the one session every other day and seeing what happens with my scores.