I just got back from an inspirational workshop with Patrick McKeown, leading global expert on the buteyko breathing method and developer of The Oxygen Advantage approach to breathing for runners. The day included a combination of the theory and science behind the Buteyko method and how it applies to running. We had plenty of practical opportunities to practise a range of exercises which help correct dysfunctional breathing and also that simulate high altitude training. This blog is a bit of a mash up of links, quotes, tips and pictures that give a quick flavour of the day.
If you're not sure whether this might be of interest to you, Patrick's bio on his Buteyko Clinic
website says this:
"Did you know that mouth breathing significantly increases the risk of abnormal development of children's faces, crooked teeth, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, poor concentration, ADHD, respiratory problems including asthma, hay fever and poor sports performance?"
During one of the sessions I used a pulse oximeter to measure my oxygen saturation, which went down to 90% - so according to this graph that's 4000m altitude!
Since reading the book and writing my previous blog on The Oxygen Advantage
I have realised that I have been habitually over breathing for the whole of my life, and have already taken steps to correct this and am regularly simulating high altitude situations whilst running through the use of breath holding techniques. The book made a link between many of the health conditions that have affected me throughout my life, and the way I have been breathing, so I'm really hoping to improve my running but also my whole health bu following this method.
I particularly enjoyed Patrick's soft, non judgemental and supportive approach. Despite there being a clear history of over breathing in my case, I didn't feel 'like I'd been doing it all wrong' because of Patrick's non-judgemental attitude. He also spent a great deal of time encouraging us to accept our current BOLT (Body Oxygen Level Test) score and habits and just start from wherever we are now.
I've also started to experiment with a nose clip from rhinomed
to expand my nasal passages and help me nose breathe- thanks for that Patrick!
So I'm left feeling really positive about the future of my health, wellbeing and improvement in running. I'm expecting to see some real improvements in my running as well as some great health benefits. I'm also hoping that my children might not go the same way I did!
If you didn't make it to the day, here is a graphic that I made from all the notes I took on my ipad.
To finish with, here are a few inspiring and memorable notes, tips and quotes from the day. These are my own notes, so please don't think they are word perfect.
When breathing is difficult, the running often isn't the issue .... Everyday breathing is usually the issue.
Identify if you have the signs of dysfunctional breathing - breathing through the mouth, dry mouth after sleep.
You can tell if someone is a lifelong mouth breather by their facial structure
Question. Can you run with absolute relaxation?
Light breathing causes more oxygen to be delivered to cells
Co2 is needed for oxygen delivery to cells it is not a waste gas
Do you understand the physiological aspects of stress?
The Oxygen Advantage simulated high altitude training exercises can improve vo2 max and running economy.
Remember: With breathing, less is worth more. All authentic practitioners of breathing focus on this.
If you can run with every cell of your body, then you will be in a state of complete relaxation