I stopped breathing at parkrun last weekend.
Nothing too dramatic, and no paramedics were called but I did go red and gasp a bit.
It was an entirely orchestrated warm up technique that follows my latest obsession with breath holding or apnea training for running performance. This particular warmup consisted of me walking as many steps as I could while holding my breath and pinching my nose.
It’s a perfectly lazy way to warmup and suits me very well. I have to walk to the start of the run anyway and it takes barely any effort to stop breathing for a few steps at a time. Certainly beats running laps in anticipation of the effort ahead.
I can’t walk very far, maybe 22 steps before I start gasping but it does seem to be surprisingly effective at clearing out the nasal cavities. The idea is that it would help me in the early stages of a run when I struggle to catch my breath.
So, fully warmed up, I set off on the run determined to manage at least a minute of calm and collected nasal breathing rather than adopting my usual steam train impression from the start.
Surprisingly I managed to run half the course with my mouth firmly shut and my breathing was the least strained that I’ve experienced it while running.
I would have continued with my mouth closed but my nasal passages were beginning to need some attention. Ideally I would have employed the nasal gobbing technique that you see many runners partaking in but it’s not part of my skill set so I didn’t bother and at 2.5k I started breathing through my mouth and promptly sounded like I was going to die sometime very soon.
Maybe next week I’ll pack a tissue.