POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 6: Back up and kind of running

The forced go slow and new scatter brain that I seem to have developed is becoming very frustrating. I just can’t think or do as fast as I used to be able to do. Its like a need a pause button while my brain processes stuff. The number of times that I have had the ‘well?’ kind of looks from my husband – its getting quite regular.

He apologised the other day. He said he had become accustomed to me being so get up and go whizzing about, he just can’t get used to the 1st gear me at all.

Small steps

I can now walk without clutching the walls, which seems like a ridiculous thing to get excited about. But, it’s all small steps in the right direction. The permanent feeling of being on the deck of a ship in a storm at sea is beginning to abate. Ihave now been out on a bike, on the road, and round the scene of the accident. Another small thing ticked off.

I also have been swimming, I thought this would be a nightmare, but all went well.  At the end of this week, though, i managed to resume PowerBreathe training, right back at level 4 where i was before. I was quite impressed!

Concussion test, take 2

I was determined to do better than last week. I very quickly discovered that wasn’t up to me. David Sutton said I was drastically better at the thinking stuff than last week. I almost felt like I was myself again, at times. But, balance… nope. I still felt like a drunk without all the fun, when I was asked to balance with eyes shut.

A head injury is a head injury. You have no bearing on how it develops. All you can do is respond, rest, adapt and wait. Frustrating, but the result was better. I was given the go ahead to try gentle exercise. Better than nothing.

Up and running at last

I was keen to get a few things out of the way. My misconception about the running being potentially problematic was one of them. I still don’t trust this odd head of mine, so I decided to go to the gym, nice and safe. I started on the cross trainer, but the programme ended in 30 mins. I had the number 45 in my mind and I really wasn’t sure that 32 minutes of running was a good idea. So I climbed back on for a bit and stepped tentatively onto the running machine for my last 15 minutes. I began walking. My right leg still felt odd, heavier than the left, like it had all week. It felt like a dead leg. I was determined to crack this, so started jogging the slowest jog I think I may have ever jogged in my life. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was in fact ok, apart from the fact that my legs felt like lead. But I didn’t care. I was running, and I didn’t expect to be able to do that just inside two weeks after the accident. I was so pleased I can’t tell you. And, thankful for running machines. I didn’t need to get back to where I had started, I could simply climb off and sit down!

It’s a roller coaster ride in the world of head injuries.

Melanie Ryding


Read more about how POWERbreathe improves running performance.

POWERbreathe Trial – Samuel Dallimore Week 5: Back into the water

After a disrupted schedule last week due to an ear infection i’m getting back into training in and out of the pool. I swam last night properly for the first time in a while due to having to be out of the water until my ear had cleared up, we call it “swimmers ear” as it’s a common problem with all the hours spent in the pool. I could feel that I’ve lost overall strength and particularly in my shoulders and core, which are some of the major contributors for generating power and speed in the water. As i may have mentioned before I’m hoping to start cross training to mix things up a bit as well as to gain some of the specific benefits that can come from alternate strength, power and fitness training methods.

Rock climbing is being talked about alot now in many sports for an alternate supplement to an athletes training and in swimming this is particularly so. Some of my fellow swimming friends have been doing it for a while now and all have said that its great for holistic workout for strength and core development. This is perfect for me as that’s exactly what I need to develop most importantly. Being a sprint swimmer, having a good power to weight ratio is critical, but you still need a good base of strength to be able to apply what power you have without over loading your body with too many stresses and strains. This is a problem I’ve struggled with a lot, as I have power but relatively not as much strength overall or in my core.

This means I fatigue quite quickly because the strength that I have is being fully utilized to keep up with the demands i’m putting on my body, so not having any strength to spare and asking 100% of my muscles causes this fast fatiguing. Luckily I compete in sprint events which last around 50/60 seconds approximately depending on the event. So all I have to do is go for it and try to hang on to the finish, which is easier said than done I can tell you. I’m really looking forward to getting to the point at which i’m back into a full time training program again and to have my fitness restored to where it was back in November 2010. This coupled with my new powerbreathe program as recommended by the PowerBreathe Guru will hopefully get me to achieve these goals.

If you have a question for POWERbreathe Guru why not ask him one here

Andrea Cunningham Week 16 – 100 day countdown!

Hola amigos I’m back with my 16th journal!  This week I’ve been on the go just over 100 days now until the Dublin marathon so I’m in urgent need of reaching uber fit asap!!!  Monday I went to a new class in my gym called Body Attack man it was hard I swear my heart was pounding through my chest and I couldn’t breath though that also could be from laughing so much as well!  I really enjoyed this class but boy was I knackered afterwards – I think this class will defiantly help with my breathing and training it was just non stop!

Still using my PowerBreathe every morning and evening and I’m now at level 4 on the resistance so that’s a huge improvement from the beginning!!

Tuesday then I went for a 6 mile run, followed by an hour of combat and an hour of balance!  I think balance is defiantly helping my knee – there is still the odd niggle but nowhere near as bad as it was thank goodness! Wednesday I went for another 6 mile run and Thursday I did the same as Tuesday!  Friday was my day of rest and a very very large glass of vino which I think I deserved though I maybe should have had a small one as on Saturday I tackled 15.5miles!!  Not so sure I should have stopped the long distance running after the marathon as it defiantly is as much mental as physical…it was so warm and I just didn’t have the motivation to push myself so I walked some of it!  Having said that now I’m annoyed at myself so I will try harder this Saturday coming.

About to change my diet again….as I went off pasta totally after the marathon (because of a total overdose on the stuff) but as it turns out I’m not consuming enough carbs now so I’m going to have to face it again so hopefully that will help with my training and stamina!  Well until next week folks…so much for never giving up my life for another marathon I must be mad!!

Why not read more on how POWERbreathe improves running performance

POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 5: Small steps

After last weeks accident it has been a rather eventful week to say the least.


I spent the weekend in hospital and was discharged on sunday evening. Head injury is no fun at all, and for 3 days my head felt like a fizzy pop bottle that someone had shaken up really hard. Dizzy did not even begin to describe it! I can’t remember the last time I felt this awful. I have done no exercise for a full 7 days, and the last time I did that was at Christmas when I had Flu!


By about mid week, the feeling became more like constantly feeling like I had just stepped off a merry-go-round. Now while that’s an OK feeling if you are doing it for fun, it’s really not funny at all when you are faced with it 24-7. It means I have spent a lot of the week sitting on the sofa avoiding the need to move! It took till about Friday before I could walk without feeling the need to clutch the nearest wall for support! I was given a concussion test on Monday last week (2 days post accident) by one of my coaches, David Sutton, and I was unable to stand up on two feet without falling over. Hubby said I was still slurring my words for about 4 days following the accident.


By this weekend the constantly dizzy feeling was beginning to go, although a neurosurgeon has warned me to be very careful because the symptoms of the head injury suggest it should be classed as ‘moderately severe’. I have sat on a stationary bike and pedalled, and this morning I went for a gentle swim. I was rather worried about the swim, but it actually worked out OK. So, perhaps thats another small step in the right direction.


I am told that because I am an athlete it should mean that I recover well, and perhaps a bit faster than most. Lets hope so, because I have Beijing World Triathlon Championships in September to get fit for!! A big ask, i know, but if I am sensible, you never know.


I hope to return to using the powerbreathe during this week too, all being well.


Melanie Ryding


POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 4: A difficult week

This week started really well. I think the progress on POWERbreathe is good, and I am securely on level 4 now. BUT – the mind progress is less! I still carry the inhaler to the track, and I did another tough session with coach on Tuesday, chest hurt but I wasn’t wheezing. I think I took the inhaler through habit rather than necessity, and on the final sprint rep, didn’t take it at all, breathing was fine, chest was fine, I was fine, and heart rate was lower than to be expected.

All in all, it seems progress is still being made, and I need to get used to not relying on that inhaler as much!

However, the POWERbreathe use was halted on Saturday, when something mysterious happened when I was out cycling. I cannot remember a thing about the incident, but I was found in the middle of the road unconscious, by a passing motorist. I woke up in hospital and was admitted for observation. A shock to say the least.

What I learned from this episode? Helmets are VITAL!! Mine is smashed to bits, I have bad concussion and feel rubbish, and however, I am still alive!

More can be read about my accident here: http://melanieryding.blogspot.com/2011/07/helmets-save-lives.htm

And what is left of the helmet can be seen in the pictures

Once I have recovered from the head injury I will resume with the POWERbreathe exercises, I think right now, I am too dizzy to manage it. Please please please wear a helmet, and please if you carry a phone, save a number in it called ICE (in case of emergency) this is how the police were able to locate my husband and identify me.

I am thankful for the very kind AMANDA who stopped to help and took care of me. I am glad there are still some kind people in the world.

Melanie Ryding


POWERbreathe Trial – Samuel Dallimore Week 4: Ouch ear infection

My training routine has been interrupted this week with last minute changes in schedule and an unexpected ear infection, but as all athletes experience from time and time, you will run into problems. I had certain goals I wanted to achieve this week such as introducing alternate training methods such as rockclimbing, free-weights and increasing the swimming training after resting off for a bit. All though these goals may have been affected this week, i know i must reset them and not let an unpredictable set of circumstances effect me as an athlete. I will have to ease off of the powerbreath training a little so as not to aggravate my ear infection, but I see this as an opportunity to find something to do to make up for it. This will be to set a goal to practice more diaphragm breathing exercises, so i’m still working my breath control and strength to continue general progression in this area without causing more damage or setbacks which would come from pushing too far on the Powerbreath. From having been through all different kinds of difficult injuries I have learnt that patience is key to everything in sport, and this situation is a great example of that. I wont be able to swim until it clears up and so I must adjust my training routine to accommodate respectively. Setbacks happen often sometimes and its what you do when one occurs that defines who you are as an athlete, I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to progress in other areas I would not have other wised trained because I would have been swimming more. So Diaphragm exercises, increased strength and core work to stay out of the water will be on the plans for this week and I’m looking forward to it rather than seeing it as a negative.

Andrea Cunningham Week 15 – Action packed week for me!

Hi everyone I’m back with my 15th journal!  Well this week has been quite productive…. Monday I went to combat class as Tuesday and Wednesday everywhere was closed.  Tuesday then I faced the rain and headed out for a 9 mile run which wasn’t too bad so much so I treated myself to a very very large glass of vino with being off work on Wednesday as well!  Unfortunately then Wednesday I was fit for nothing lol!  Thursday I was back to it did 30minutes on the cross trainer on the interval setting at quite high resistance and then half and hour on the bike and then I went to combat and balance so I was pretty wrecked when I got home!

Friday I took it easy and Saturday I faced the rain yet again and hit the pavement.  Managed twelve miles on Saturday but it was brutal it was so windy and wet my legs turned a lovely shade of purple and red!  My knee had a tiny niggle on Sunday so I didn’t do anything on Sunday at all.

My gym has started a new class this week called body attack which is supposed to be a sports-inspired cardio workout for building strength and stamina. It’s supposed to be a high-energy interval training class combining athletic aerobic movements with strength and stabilization exercises so I’m off to try that tonight, sounds pretty hard!!  I’ll let you how I get on next week and hopefully the rain will go away so I can get outside more

POWERbreathe Trial – Rob Lunn Week 2: Getting the hang of POWERbreathe

Week 2 of my POWERbreathe trial, I am really starting to get the hang of the breathing technique now!

Last week I was struggling to get my breathing right, I am so use to breathing in through my nose I found it difficult to adjust but now I feel I have mastered the deep breathing technique necessary to get the most out of POWERbreathe training, no more nose clip for me!

After breaking my 30 breaths into sets of 10 last week, this week I have managed to progress 1st to 2 sets of 15, then 20, 10 then 25, 5 finally achieving 30 constant breaths in my last couple of sessions.

I am definitely getting more comfortable with the breathing on level 0; I will be looking to increase the resistance during the next week to keep progressing.

Today I have signed up the Love Running Cannock Chase 10k which is part of a running festival that takes place in Staffordshire at the end of July, as I mentioned in my previous blog I am an avid runner just prior to the trial I took part in the Liverpool Tunnel 10k finishing in a time of 44 minutes 31 seconds my current best time for this distance, so it will be interesting to see if the POWERbreathe training has any impact on my performance.

Over the past week I have completed 2 short outdoor runs; a 5k and an interval session, during both sessions my breathing felt notably less laboured, placebo effect or POWERbreathe training starting to take effect already? I am hoping for the latter!

Looks like the breathing techniques are working using POWERbreathe

POWERbreathe Trial – Samuel Dallimore Week 3: Resistance level 3 woohoo

I’ve progressed well this week and I’m now at resistance 3 on the performance plus model, to feel improvement in breathing strength already has surprised me alot but I’ve stuck to the routine of using my powerbreath twice a day and I think this is obviously the direct result of this. My fitness has continued to rise and I feel so much more comfortable with my breath control, and also with this I’m finding a lot less tension in my chest and inter-costal muscles. Over all I’d say the improvements are starting to show through and I’m looking forward to the future progression and developments with more extensive use of the powerbreathe.

POWERbreathe Trial – Melanie Ryding Week 3: Back to training

This was the start of the hard work training again. After a week of recovery post European champs, it was right back to tough hard fast training. I had my first track session in about 8 weeks with my run coach this week on Monday. I forgot my asthma inhaler in the rush to get there in time. This made coach nervous but it would be a perfect chance to see if the Powerbreathe was making any difference. I ran a hard tough track sprint session, almost to the point of feeling unwell. It was very tough on the lungs, and although I got the pain in my chest that usually comes before wheezing, I didnt get any wheezing. When I checked my data I was working right at the top end of my heart rate zone 5, the maximum heart rate zone.
Usually i would expect to need an inhaler for this session, so this is progress. Maybe in time the powerbreathe will also help reduce the chest pain as well.
On wednesday I cycled a time trial. This is a full max effort 10 miles as hard and fast as you can go. It was a race so I  had no inhaler. Again, I had the chest pain but no wheezing.
I am feeling very encouraged, and hope to continue making progress.
I was also able to move the powerbreathe up a level this week to number 4. Gradually getting there!
Melanie Ryding