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Roadbike Rider
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My season is off to a good start. I have about 1400 miles in. My strength and endurance is there and my weight is approaching mid season levels. The problem is I feel like my lungs just aren't there.

I'm wondering if I should be more methodical in my breathing on long tough sections and short climbs. Currently I give the breathing no though and just let it look after itself. Perhaps that's not the best approach. Should I be focusing on deep exhales early in the section or some other technique. Any comments

Also I am starting to ride more hills where I am pushing my heart rate up close to the max. These hills are usually about 1/2 mile long so it's more like intervals with a long recovery period. I will do about 14 of these in a 2 hour evening ride. Will this develop aerobic capacity better than longer but more paced work at 85% of my max heart rate. Maybe I need to shorten the recovery period. I need advice about the best training.

My weekend rides are with buddies but they can be very competitive with 5 mile sections of rolling hills where we are racing. I'm strong at the end of the ride but want to do better than that.
 

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Impulse Athletic Coaching
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Natural breathing is usually best, unless you notice that you tend to hyperventilate or take in too-deep of breaths. It's sort of like cadence, do what is natural and slowly work your way to more efficiency. I usually focus on breathing deeper on sprints and hills because I tend to hyperventilate myself, but that is a personal thing.
 

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Breathe naturally

That breathplay website looks totally ridiculous. There's a reason why people actively inhale and passively exhale-- it's more efficient! Using your diaphragm ("belly breathing") is the most efficient way to breathe at low to moderate efforts, while your accessory muscles of breathing will also kick in at higher exercise intensities without conscious effort. You can actively exhale to some degree, but you'll get diminishing returns for your effort if you try to force out all of your air beyond the point that feels natural-- 1) you'll be combatting the outward elastic recoil of your chest wall 2) airway resistance goes up as the lungs get smaller 3) forceful exhalation leads to airway collapse which also increases resistance to exhalation.

There are some sketchy data regarding using an airway resistor ( eg Powerlung) to improve respiratory muscle strength, but if I recall correctly, the best study was performed in aerobic athletes during their offseason (not where you currently are) and showed only modest benefits.
 

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Breathplay.com does look somewhat unsual however keen to improve my respiratory efficiency I decided to give it a go. Carmichael Trainings Systems and Greg Lemond refer to breathing practice and placing more emphasis on the out breath and in doing so, increasing the lungs capacity to naturally draw in more air. Seemed to make sense. If you consider breathing out during rest, you don't fully exhaust your lungs before taking another breath in. If you do make a point of forcefully breathing out you create more lung capacity to inhale new air.
When on the bike this is not a natural breathing technique so you have to practice it. After 2 months of applying the technique of , two breaths in and three out, I find that I'm no longer gasping for breath when going hard out. Although I may be breathing strongly at pace, I feel in control. I would stress again, that I had to practice this for it to seem natural. Felt as if I was not getting enough air the first time I tried!
Anyone else tried this?
 

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Do you mean a count of 2 for breating in, and a count of 3 for breathing out?

Or are you actually breathing in 2 breaths and breathing out 3 breaths?

I try to make my exhale a count of 3 or longer than my intake. I think they say it helps remove more co2.



NZVET said:
When on the bike this is not a natural breathing technique so you have to practice it. After 2 months of applying the technique of , two breaths in and three out, I find that I'm no longer gasping for breath when going hard out. Although I may be breathing strongly at pace, I feel in control. I would stress again, that I had to practice this for it to seem natural. Felt as if I was not getting enough air the first time I tried!
Anyone else tried this?
 

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bas said:
Do you mean a count of 2 for breating in, and a count of 3 for breathing out?

Or are you actually breathing in 2 breaths and breathing out 3 breaths?

I try to make my exhale a count of 3 or longer than my intake. I think they say it helps remove more co2.
Yes to both questions. To start with, you can inhale, inhale, on the in breath and exhale, exhale, exhale on the out breath The counting simply allows you to make the distinction that the out breath should be longer than the in breath. The spooky sounding audio file on the breathplay website gives an example of this but you have to listen carefully.
The 2/3 count is only one example. The count can be anything as long as the out breath is longer. If I'm hammering it I'll sometimes use 1/2 but this is rare as I normally find that 2/3 works well. The idea is to experiment and find what count suits you best. Remember, practice this at rest first so you can get used to the rhythm. Breathplay.com makes reference to practicing in time with music or ideally, your cadence. They have CD's you can buy specifically for this.
Yes, removing more co2 sounds right. Better that space in your lungs is filled with new air rather than residual co2!
If you decide to give it a go, give it time, and let me know how you get on.
 
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