Monday, July 20, 2009

Triathlon Training: 4 Mile Run + 5 Mile Bike + Bilateral Breathing Advice

Hello everyone!

First I want to start off with some advice I received from my buddy Todd. Todd has been doing triathlons for a couple of years now and recently completed a 70.3 (Half Ironman). I have been tinkering with my breathing during my swimming - which is probably stupid considering my Tri is less than 2 weeks away! But he posted this response about bilateral breathing (Boomer you will find this very interesting) yesterday and I found it very informative:

As for the bilateral breathing, if you can do it great, if not, it's not
mission critical. The more oxygen you get the better, and until your lungs adapt
you might actually be doing more harm than good with the bilateral breathing. I
just alternate sides each lap (left-down, right back). This helps you be able to
adjust to race day conditions when the waves are coming from one side or the
other, or you need to sight the shoreline, or stay away from the guy who keeps
slamming into you.

Thanks Todd!

Anyways, after my little crash yesterday I was able to muster up some energy and get back on the horse. Monday's are always just crazy days for me at my job! My phone started ringing at 7:30 am and didn't stop until 6pm. A lot of Docs take off Friday and then come in to the office on Monday morning and they have all this crap to deal with. So, when they have crap to deal with they call me. Pretty much every Monday is like this and today was no exception. Finally I made it to the gym around 6:30. I was feeling a little down so I decided to take two scoops of the pre-workout booster NO-Xplode. For those of you who followed my P90X progress you will remember that I talked about this supplement all the time and I absolutely love it. However, this was the first time I have tried it before running.

Well, it definitely gave me a boost. Driving to the gym I was about to jump out of my skin! This stuff is great. The only problem is that my Heart Rate was out of control. Usually I will set the treadmill around 7.6-8.0 mph for my runs and my Heart Rate will usually stay in the mid to upper 160's. Today I checked my HR at the 1.5 mile mark and it was at 180 BPM .... way too high. Now my conditioning is not where it was before my layoff but it is not this bad. It had to be the No-Xplode that was causing this. I slowed my pace down and my HR dropped down to the lower 170's. With the slower pace I finished the 5k at 26 minutes. I walked a little to get my HR down and then ran another mile at a 9 minute pace for a total of 4.1 miles on the treadmill today.

Now I jumped off the treadmill and I was still pretty jacked up from the NO-Xplode so I jumped on the spin bike and did a quick 5 miles. I wasn't planning on doing any biking until the weekend but since I had the energy I figured it couldn't hurt. I am glad I did the bike because it allowed me to stay in the aerobic zone and burn of the rest of the effects of the supplement.

Lesson learned today was that pre-workout supplements are for weight training days only. I think I may have made this mistake during plyo and kenpo a couple of times in the past but completely forgot -- oh well, at least I got in the extra biking!

Tomorrow is a swimming and ARX day. I am going to work on the bilateral and side-to-side breathing like Todd recommended. Not really sure what the conditions are going to be like so it is probably better to be prepared for everything!

Thanks for Reading,



  1. I like Todd's advice. I worked in some bilateral breathing today, but I found myself back to single sided breathing after a short time. I will approach it like Todd has suggested in future workouts. It's not the end of the world if it takes me a bit more time. After the Tin Man this weekend, I will have until October before my next triathlon. That give me more time to practice.

    I don't envy your crazy Mondays. I am lucky as my days are pretty much the same everyday. I am a software engineer and, quite frankly, me and the guys in my office goof around a lot. Typical computer/IS environment.

    Yeah, I think using NO Xplode only on strength days is a good idea. I have read posts by other triathletes who say NOX spikes their HR too so they don't use it on tri-training days.

  2. After thinking about my post a little more and doing some research I think I should clarify my definition of "bi-lateral". I assumed Jeff meant alternating breathing sides from left to right every other stroke. Essentially breathing every 3rd time your arm comes forward. For me this "alternating" breathing technique doesn't work very well as i seem to lose my breath quicker, since obviously it's longer between each breath. But I would recommend working on teh ability to breath on both sides for an extended period of time (as i described in my previous post, down left, back right). You may have a dominant hand/side at first, but over time this will even out and ultimately this is best for long term trainign so you don't develop muscle imbalances, etc. Here's a good article on the pro's

    All that being said race day usually ends up being a mish-mosh of whatever works at the time. Some days i've had to breath only on one side for siting, traffic issues, and other I've alternated, and some times you just get in a rythm and go with it. Either way just do what feels right at the time and you'll be alright.