How POWERbreathe has affected my training

Jen HowseSince my last blog I have been continuing with the Powerbreathe 30 breaths. Having started with the resistance at the lowest level and struggling initially to complete the full 30, I have seen progress in that I now can manage 30 with the resistance up to level 2.

So how has this affected training? I have been repeating breathing training sessions I did in the build up to the Crash-Bs last year and have found that I wasn’t feeling as wheezy if I didn’t use my inhaler. But the real test would be rowing at the Agganis Arena in Boston on race day.

Last year I had real problems with the dry atmosphere of the arena and couldn’t perform as well as I hoped. On race day I weighed in 2 hours before my race at 128lb, well under the 135lb limit. Warming up I felt the air was dry like it was last year. Into the arena which is always a bit nerve racking but concentrated on getting myself settled and in the zone.

A bit slow off the start but not worried about that as I’m not always quick, but I know a lot of others fly and die so I wasn’t overly concerned about being 7th after a few strokes. Hit the 1:52s and stuck there. 500m gone and moving up through the positions, starting to get the 1:51s in as to race plan, breathing fine, no problems like last year.

750m and looking to hit 1:51-1:50.

Half way and 20 m behind the first place. Settling in to the second half of the race and gaining steadily on first – down to 10m at 1500m. At that point for the first time I knew that the hammer was mine if I wanted it and boy did I want it! Ready to take it up. My cox called to go, I was lifting it.

1650m gone and the screen went blank. I kept rowing in the hope that it would come back. I could hear Kimberly shouting for someone to come. I think I screamed that my screen had gone. The volunteers round us had no idea what to do. We realized the machine had dropped off the race and my race was over. Gutted does not even start to describe how I feel.

After a lot of discussion I was given a choice – either take the DNF or have the chance to re-row. I had come to Boston to do a 2k and I was not going to be stopped from doing one by some monitor blowing up on me. Agreed to race with the junior lwt girls at 12:30 and so I had 2 hours to recover, refuel and recompose myself.

By the time I had warmed up for a second time I was feeling much calmer. After my race last year my chest felt so tight that there was no way I would have been able to row again after completing nearly a whole race flat out. This time my breathing had been much better and much more controlled so I know that wasn’t going to let me down. It was just a question of whether I had recovered from the last race. Again another slow start. Again not too worried by that one. On to the 1:52s with a few 1:51s in there.

750m – still on race plan hitting the same splits as before.

Started getting the 1:50s in there. Half way and felt exactly like the last race. Could hear my cox behind me and all the rest of the group in the stand willing me on.

Towards 1500m hitting 1:50s.

Could hear all the supporter in the stands getting louder and I went for it, rate up, hit 1:49, 1:48. My cox asked for 1:47, I got down to 1:46, Think I saw 1:45 for the last stroke.

7:22.6  Gold by 3 seconds!

I am now a proud owner of a Crash-B winners hammer.

Thanks to POWERbreathe for the Heavy Resistance model. Using it has definitely made a difference and I have been less reliant on my inhaler for training sessions, but the big improvement has been when rowing in the race venues which are notorious for having dry atmospheres which make breathing hard.

Also thanks to all of Team GB for their support too!




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