Posts Tagged Wind

Inhale, Exhale

In the April issue of Runner’s World, there was an article about breathing technique. My run breathing has always left a little to be desired. As long as I have been running, I’ve not found a breathing rhythm that I feel really works for me, so this article really piqued my interest. The author, Budd Coates, proposes a breathing rhythm that has a 3-2 beat, where you inhale for three footfalls, then exhale for two. By doing this, you alternate which foot you land on with each exhale instead of the typical runner’s 2-2 beat and always exhaling on the same foot. He cites studies that show that injury is more likely on the side that runners normally exhale. The article goes on to discuss how to change your breathing pattern to a 3-2 beat.

I decided that today was as good a day as any to evaluate my breathing during my 5 mile run and try the 3-2 rhythm.

First, I tried to figure out what my current breathing pattern is. I think my years of swimming conditioned my lungs to breathe in a certain way for swimming, and somehow that has carried over into running. In swimming, I breathe on every third stroke, and in running for the most part I breathe on every third footfall (3-3 beat). Frequently, I got out of sync, so I wasn’t consistently exhaling or inhaling on any particular foot. Whether that is what I do naturally or it was a side effect of consciously counting my breaths and footstrikes, I don’t know.

Once I had a decent idea of my natural breathing, I tried to get into the 3-2 rhythm. “Tried” was the operative word there. It was really tough to alter my exhales to be so much shorter. Every once in awhile, I managed to get into the rhythm pretty well and it actually felt pretty good, but it required a ton of concentration just to keep it up for 10 cycles or so. When my mind wandered, I found myself falling back into my normal breathing pattern.

Also, it was exceptionally windy today, with 30 mph gusts that made me feel like I was going backwards and took my breath away. This did not make breath training any easier! I plan to try again on a non less windy day (let’s be honest, it’s never not windy in Kansas!). I think this is something that will take a lot of time to make it feel natural, but it’s the best argument I’ve ever heard for any particular breathing style. Since my natural breathing rhythm never really felt all that efficient, maybe this one will work better.

Have you heard of breath training or tried to alter your breathing to be more efficient?

Today’s Training:

5.01 miles run


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Finally out of the Gym!

I had a pretty slow workout week, but very busy week otherwise.  I didn’t manage to convince myself to do my planned runs Tuesday or Thursday.  I had reasonably good reasons, though.  Wednesday I had a Biochemistry exam, so Tuesday was spent taking care of things at home and studying till very late.  Thursdays, I have obedience training with Tara, so I have limited time for workouts after work.  What I need to do is start doing my workouts between my Thursday morning class and work.  I can use the gym on campus, but I will have to go get a student ID for that.  I did lift weights on Wednesday with my mom, so at least that was something!

This weekend the weather finally cooperated for some outdoor workouts!  I got to run outside both yesterday and today.  Yesterday was not a planned run day, but not having done any other running this week made me really motivated to take advantage of the good weather and relatively mild temperature.  I wore under armour leggings, a tank top, light long-sleeved jersey and a dry-fit pullover.  My hands were pretty cold, but otherwise I was comfortable.  Curtis and I ran and walked for about 60 minutes.  I have no idea what the mileage was, but I’d estimate we did about 3 miles of actual running.  We also had to walk a bit and had to make a stop because my stomach was acting up.  It did the same thing on our run today and we had to walk and stop to use the bathroom again.  It was really frustrating to have to stop, so that’s something I’m going to have to work on (sorry if TMI).  Today, we ran again outside.  I wore similar clothes- under armour leggings, under armour cold gear long-sleeved shirt and the same pullover.  I also added a pair of gloves and headband to keep my hands and head warm.  It was quite a bit windier today and slightly chillier, but I was comfortable with the amount of clothes until the very end of the run when I started to get cold.

It ended up being quite a bit more technical in some areas as many of the sidewalks were still covered, at least partially.  We almost turned back in the first snowy section to find another route, but decided to push through.  It turned out to be the right decision as most of the rest of the paths were uncovered.  Curtis and I ran together for about the first 6.5 miles and then we ran home and I grabbed Tara to finish the run with another 3.5 miles.  This was my first outdoor 10 miler!  It was so refreshing to run outside this weekend and not be stuck on a treadmill.  I never got bored and the time just flew by when I wasn’t constantly watching the clock.  The total time was slow, but I’m attributing that to the walking and breaks.  I felt great throughout and our pace seemed about right.  My legs are a bit sore now, but I don’t think it’ll be a lasting pain.  I am happy I am going to be well-prepared for the half-marathon in April!

Hopefully this week will go a bit better workout-wise than last week.  I have another test on Friday, but it shouldn’t require as much studying as the test last week.  I should be doing weights Monday and Wednesday and running Tuesday and Thursday.  I’m also planning to keep up with the calorie-counting through March (I have been keeping track, but not posting my calories for each day since I’ve not blogged much this week).  I just learned from Lori’s blog that it is National Nutrition Month.  So, I think it is only fitting to continue to focus on my nutrition for the next month.  I’ll be doing my goal check-in sometime this week also.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get it in tomorrow, but we’ll see how the day goes!

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It is bitter cold outside!  I think all the east-coasters are getting hit with this cold snap and sub-freezing temperatures plus massive wind chill.  It’s pretty miserable-even just a few minutes outside requires bundling.  The dog has major cabin fever because I’ve been bad about getting her outside and exercised.  We went for a walk today and it was frigid.

We did take some time today to get out to the store and get fitted for new running shoes!  They did video gait analysis of my walking and running gaits and helped me find some new shoes.  When I walk, I overpronate slightly, but the woman at the store said I had a really nice running gait and the pronation went away with the increase in speed.  So, I went with a Mizuno shoe with light support and no extra cushioning.  I love the light-weight feel of these shoes, and they already held up well on today’s treadmill run.  I have 2 weeks to try them out indoor and if they don’t work out, to return them.  So far, so good though.  I also picked up a hydration belt that holds one water bottle and some new elastic laces.  These are a different type of laces than the once I’ve used before, but they look promising.  I’ll probably try them out later this week.

As I mentioned, I ran at the gym today on the treadmill.  The plan called for 7-8 miles, and I did the full 8 miles!  I felt fantastic!  The foot pain that I’ve been experiencing with my old shoes was significantly decreased, but not completely gone.  The problem is no longer with my arches though, which I think is a good sign.  The pain is more of a light soreness in my ankles; it almost feels as though they’re just weak and need to be strengthened.  I kept this run slow and easy with just slight changes in pace and incline to keep it interesting.

0-1 mile @ 1% incline – 5.0  mph

1-2 mile @ 1% incline – 5.5 mph

2-3 mile @ 1% incline – 6.0 mph

3-4 mile @ .5% incline – 6.0 mph

4-5 mile @ 0% incline – 6.0 mph

5-6 mile @ 0% incline – 5.8 mph

6-7 mile @ 0% incline – 5.5 mph

7-8 mile @ 0% incline – 5.2 mph

I was a bit annoyed with the treadmill I used because it had a maximum time of 60 minutes, so I had to restart at around the 5.6 mile mark and continue in a “new workout”.  The gym has some treadmills that are limited to 60 minutes and some that are 90 minutes, so I’ll have to remember for future long runs to seek out the 90 minute maximum time treadmills.

I do have heart rate stats today:

Duration – 1:26:16

Maximum Heart Rate – 184

Average Heart Rate – 164

Calories – 893

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Yet another WINDY April day

And now for my regularly scheduled post…

I left work fairly early today, around 4:15 and decided to rush home and go for a bike ride outside before weight training.  I was supposed to ride for a full hour, but only got in about 40 minutes.  Overall the ride was decent, it was pretty windy (15mph average with gusts up to 28 mph) on the return trip, but the ride out had a nice tail wind to give me a little extra speed.  Oh!  I almost forgot, this was my first time riding on the trail with my cycling shoes and pedals!  I was extra-cautious because there are a number of places where the trail crosses roads and I didn’t want to get stuck and fall.  I’m still getting used to balancing when I’m trying to unclip and stop at the same time, so for now I’ve been unclipping VERY early.  The only time I had any real trouble was on the way back home, I got stuck at an intersection and unclipped both feet so that I could reach the crosswalk button.  The “WALK” symbol lit almost immediately and I was going to cross, but I couldn’t get my feet clipped back in!  I ended up hopping off my bike and walking across instead of risking falling in the middle of the road.  Luckily the traffic will be extremely light or non-existant during the tri, so no need to worry about stopping during the race.  As long as I make it through the transitions, I’ll be ok.  Otherwise, riding clipless today was awesome!  I am really making an effort to keep my pedal strokes as smooth as possible to be efficient and “pull up” as well as pushing.  I can tell a big difference on how quickly my climbs went today.  I think once I get a bit more comfortable and some more practice I’m going to see some pretty good gains.  Now, I just wish I had a trainer so I could do some drills!  Adding it to my tri-gear wish list!  (I may have to add a whole page dedicated to my “wants”).

After my ride, I headed over to the gym for my weight training.  I was a little late, so I missed a core set of V-ups.  I’ll have to make it up by doing some more ab work tomorrow.  The rest of the workout was:

Core (2 sets):

While doing a side plank, lower and raise your hips throughout the set.

Leg circles

Main sets (2 sets of each):

Inclined sit-ups with a twist

Reverse row with a bungee

Dead lift + upright row

Rotator cuffs while standing on the bosu ball

Bench dips

Shoulder press

Row with bungee

One-armed row

Arnold press

Wide-grip pull-down

Legs (1 set after 2 of Main)

3 sets of jump lunges

1 set of pump lunges

2 sets of bench lunges

3 sets reverse lunges (half on right leg, half on left leg)

That’s all for today.  Tomorrow’s going to be a running outside day (hopefully).  The weather should be nice and mostly sunny with a high of 63° F.  This weekend is supposed to be gorgeous! And hot – mid 80s.  I’m looking forward to my brick on Saturday.

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Catching up…

What a great weekend!  On my new training plan, Fridays are my day off, which worked out perfectly this weekend since I drove  four and a half hours to Smith Mountain Lake.  It took awhile to get the bikes (and me) all packed up and out the door.  I took my brand new Speedplay pedals and Louis Garneau cycling shoes with me to install and try while we were there.  We didn’t arrive until 11:30PM and then didn’t get to bed until pretty late, but luckily we got to sleep in a bit on Saturday morning.

Around 11:15AM, we left for a bike ride.  We decided to ride from my aunt and uncle’s house where we were staying to the park where the transition area for the tri will be.  I have now officially used my clipless pedals successfully (mostly).  I did fall twice, but both times I was going really slowly and about to stop.  The first time I fell I actually forgot I was clipped in and down I went.  The second time, was on the way back to the house, Curtis and I were flying down a hill and he yelled from behind me that his chain was off and he needed to stop.  My stop was not very graceful.  My center of gravity was way off balance and down I went again!  Luckily, I didn’t get hurt or anything, but it was a good learning experience in getting my foot out and gaining my balance before trying to put my foot down.

The ride was very very windy, and just as hilly if not more so than I remembered.  But I’m confident that I am going to be a lot more prepared this time around.  We did nearly 28 miles in all, including an 8 mile ride to and from the park and the 12.4 mile bike course.

On a side note, you may wonder how I determine the mileage on my rides and runs outside when I don’t have a cycling computer or GPS.  I use this great web application, at, which allows you to map out your workout on Google maps and then it calculates the distance “as the crow flies”.  You can also see a graph of the elevation changes, and save the route to re-visit later.  I use it all the time and have found it extremely useful to plan out my workouts in advance.

My heart rate was about 162 bpm on average throughout the ride and maxed out at 175.  Keep in mind that these numbers are based on my intermittent glances at the heart rate monitor since I do not have an average and max heart rate feature.

On Sunday, after we were back home again, Curtis and I took a quick run.  It was between 2.5 and 3 miles and we finished in 27 minutes.  I felt good and as it was supposed to be a relatively light workout (Zones 1 or 2 the whole time), I was happy.

Monday finally brought back weight training.  We only had a week off, but it seemed like much longer.  Today was tough, but I felt strong and only reached muscle failure on one exercise.  Unfortunately, I can’t for the life of me remember everything we did today.  If I can remember, I’ll update this post or add to a later post.  After weight lifting, I did a short 20 minute walk on the treadmill at a pretty high increasing incline.  It felt good though, and I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow!

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Windy Tuesday

Today brought yet another windy April day.  Unlike Saturday, it was about 20 degrees colder today!  I almost caved and went to the gym, but ended up braving the 41 degree weather and 17 mph gusts of wind to take an “easy” bike ride.  Yeah right!  Riding out was ok, if a bit cold.  Coming back into the wind was brutal.  There are a couple serious little hills on the way back from this particular ride, and they were seriously tough today.  I ended up coming back a bit early, I was supposed to do a one hour ride at a cadence of 90+, but I only did 50 minutes and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t at 90+ the whole time.

When I got back, I did a 25 minute DVD yoga session to stretch out.  The DVD I have is Rodney Yee’s Power Yoga and it has two different routines: strength and flexibility.  I usually do the strength one, but I tried the flexibility today, and I didn’t like it nearly as much as strength.  No doubt, it was relaxing, but it just didn’t feel as good as the strength session.  I’ve decided to try and work some yoga into my routine when I have time.  I’m not very good about stretching all the time, so I’m hoping the yoga will help with my flexibility and injury prevention.

It looks like we’re definitely going to the lake this weekend, so I’m really excited about taking my bike for a spin around the race course.  All I remember is that the hills were incredibly hard and there were a lot of them.  I’m hoping that my memory has exaggerated the course a bit.  I guess I’ll find out this weekend!

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Wind blown

A little wind never hurt anyone, right?  But it makes for a tough workout!  Curtis and I decided to take the bikes out for a ride today on the bike trail near my house.  I bundled up because I thought the wind was going to be brutal.  It turns out, working harder to get through the wind kept me warm enough.   Curtis did a quick out and back 1 hour ride, but I stayed out for 1:30 so I could do some intervals.  I started out (into the wind) with a 20 minute warm-up at zones 1/2.  The intervals were supposed to be 3x 10 minutes building to zones 4/5 with 10 minute rest intervals.  After the first interval, I stopped for a quick break to take off the fingered gloves I was wearing over my cycling gloves and to try a raspberry Hammer gel.  Not sure how I feel about the gel consistency.  I’ll have to play around with it a bit more to see if it’ll work for me during longer rides and in races.

I rode with the wind on the second two intervals, which was really fun and really fast!  Although, that meant that I had to overshoot my starting point because I got back a lot faster than it took me to ride out.  I ended with a 10-15 minute cool-down.  All in all, it was a great bike ride.  Having to work the wind (which I found out later was a respectable 21 mph), gave me a great intensity on the first interval effort.  I also got to work some small hills.  The total mileage was just over 20 miles.

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