I may have cracked the code today. I have an extremely hard time just going out for an easy run. I understand the benefits, of shaking the legs and moving smoothly on tired feet. But when I get out there I just want to run. And I always find a reason to push it, rather than backing it down like I know I should.
But midway through my run today, I started breathing exclusively through my nose. Not sure what triggered it, but I remembered back to Eat and Run by Scott Jurek, where he mentioned doing training runs while breathing only through his nose. And hey, if its good enough for him, its good enough for me.
At first I labored. I felt short of breath, like I wasn't getting enough air. But I soon settled in, thinking back to diving and that the body is used to getting more air than it actually needs. You are taught to overcome the constricting feeling of not getting enough air with the knowledge that you actually are. And that your body will let you know when you actually get close to danger.
So I plodded on, mouth shut, wondering if anyone I passed would notice. They didn't, and I finished the run with a few breaks to open my mouth, suck in air and keep going.
I got back to my office and tried to figure out what nose breathing would actually do for me. This is an interesting post which argues that it helps you learn to slow your breathing, which in turn slows your heart rate, which in turn allows you to run further, with less effort. And while I am only slowly learning running physiology, this seems to makes sense.
So we'll see, I may learn to enjoy my runs in time, and use them to train my breathing, even as my legs take a break.