Paratriathlete Iain Dawson uses POWERbreathe in run-up to Rio 2016

Photo courtesy of British Triathlon
Photo courtesy of British Triathlon

Iain Dawson comes from a successful cycling background having competed at the Sydney Paralympics in 2000, but since then he’s proved himself to be at the top of the world rankings in Paratriathlon and he’s currently training in preparation for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in which Paratriathlon makes its debut.

Iain has less than 10% vision due to a rare genetic eye condition yet being visually impaired hasn’t held him back. In fact quite the contrary, as Iain has won two European and two World triathlon titles, one World duathlon and one World aquathlon title amongst other International podium finishes.

Iain also suffers with asthma and looked to POWERbreathe after another athlete extolled its virtues, to help him improve his breathing strength and stamina but also ‘comfort’, especially when running. As a Physiotherapist Iain is also interested in seeing how POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training could apply to his work.

As POWERbreathe is drug-free, it’s a form of training that can be accepted within the rules of sport, and as Iain says is definitely worth including in the run-up to the Games. And because POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training is drug-free it has no interactions with any of Iain’s asthma medication. Inspiratory muscle training has been shown to relieve the symptoms of asthma by improving lung function, resulting in a reduction of medication and a fall in hospitalisations*.

*(lnspiratory Muscle Training in Patients with Bronchial Asthma)

During 2014 Iain will be competing in triathlons across the UK and further afield too, with at least 17 planned so far.

So in preparation for the big event, we sent Iain a POWERbreathe Plus Level 2. Iain began using his POWERbreathe for the first time on Monday (31st March) and has promised to update us all with his training progress and experience. As revealed in scientific studies, the benefits of POWERbreathe training should be felt after about 4-6 weeks, so Iain may not have much to tell us until the end of April when we look forward to hearing his news.

In the Paratriathlon, Iain will compete in the category for blind and visually impaired athletes (PT5) alongside a guide who’ll accompany him throughout the swim (750m), bike (20km) and run (5km) stages of the triathlon. POWERbreathe could help him in all disciplines, as breathing is fundamental and making his breathing muscles stronger will increase his breathing stamina, reducing fatigue and helping him get through each stage more ‘comfortably’.

In a nutshell, here’s why POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training is a beneficial inclusion to Iain’s triathlon training:


Iain’s breathing will be challenged during this very first swim stage and he’ll need to inhale as much oxygen as possible in the shortest time possible, so that he’ll be able to return to the optimal position for generating propulsive force. This will create a huge strain on Iain’s inspiratory muscles and he’ll experience significant fatigue of his breathing muscles.


Iain will adopt the hunched position on the bike for aerodynamics and speed, but this creates breathing problems too because the contents of his abdomen (mainly the liver and gut) become compressed and pushed up against his diaphragm (the main breathing muscle). This restricts its normal movement and will make breathing feel much harder.


Breathing muscles not only enable breathing, but they also work to stabilise the upper body during every foot strike while running. During this final stage of the competition Iain’s breathing effort will be substantial and it’s no wonder he wants to feel more ‘comfortable’ during this final running stage.

Because POWERbreathe inspiratory muscle training targets these very important breathing muscles, exercising them to make them stronger and less prone to fatigue, stamina will improve too, making ‘effort’ feel less of an effort and more ‘comfortable’.

Read more about why you should consider including POWERbreathe IMT as part of your triathlon training, or if you’re already using POWERbreathe, then please leave a comment here or on the POWERbreathe Forum, Facebook or Twitter as we’d love to hear about how you’ve benefited from this breathing training. You can also read more about using POWERbreathe in triathlon training on our Blog.


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