Firstly a little background to my training.
I ride the indoor velodrome twice per week on what is termed ‘structured training sessions’, these session will always include a couple of race situations of all out effort.
I ride on the road twice per week, in winter probably 40 miles per ride, in summer double or sometimes more, we usually end up competing ‘up the hill’ with some high level effort.
Once per week I pilot a tandem with a club that takes non riding children and adults out for half a day, not fast but can be hard work. I use my rowing machine twice per week as a cross training exercise, sometimes for me long rows of 15000m or more and sometimes faster shorter rows, so maybe its a easy recovery day or maybe its much more effort than that.
I do not take part in official competition, my blog will not contain measured differences in my performance, what it will contain is my perception of change.
Two things I am hoping to improve by using the Powerbreathe.
Firstly when I am really trying I push myself to a level at which causes me actual physical and mental distress, I often think, ‘this time I have overdone it, this time I am not going to recover’, gladly I always have. The most distressing aspect of this is a breathing overload, I feel like I cannot get enough air to even begin to recover, and I feel this high up in my chest.
Secondly during winter my chest seems to ‘tighten up’ significantly exaggerating the above. In the past I have been so concerned that I have consulted the doctor and been given lung function tests and stressed ECG tests, gladly both have found nothing abnormal, the doctors response being, ‘act your age and stop trying to compete against younger people’. I was prescribed an inhaler to use before training to ease my breathing, I did try this for a few weeks but I couldn’t perceive any significant difference so at the moment do not use it. So a success for me would be my perception that these two phenomena have changed for the better.
My plan is to consistently use the Powerbreathe as a stand alone training aid, I do not intend to use it as part of a warm up regime because although I do warm up at the start of any exercise it is part of the session, I am not aiming to warm up and then take part in some formal competition, my all out efforts are much less structured than that.
I have now completed five weeks with the Powerbreathe and I have missed only one session during that time. I think it is very easy to use the Powerbreathe incorrectly by increasing the load to quickly and falling into the shallow breathing / panting trap. My technique to counter this is to do 10 breaths at half my current maximum setting, I think this re-establishes a good breathing technique and gets my muscles ready for some higher loads, I then do the full 30 breaths, I then do a further 10 breaths again at half load. I believe the half load breathing reminds me what I should be achieving when doing the full load breaths, so keeping me out of the shallow breathing /panting trap.
With this regime I am now on a full load of 4.5, and I know that this is an overload because in comparison to my half load breathing I am not yet getting full breaths.
So am I meeting my success criteria? I am feeling some changes which I will write about when I am more certain that these are significant and not just because I am ‘on form’.