Interval training is a great way to get in shape, but it can be tough on your lungs. If you’re not used to working out at a high intensity, your body can quickly run out of oxygen and start to feel fatigued. Here are a few approaches to deliberate breathing that can help you during your hardest aerobic training sessions!
It’s the Out, Not the In
One of the best ways to improve your interval training is to focus on deep, deliberate breathing. Taking deep breaths not only gets more oxygen into your system, but it also forces your body to use more of the oxygen that’s already there.
Here’s how it works: when you breathe in, your lungs fill with air. But, that air is only a fraction of what’s actually available. The rest of the air is in what’s called the alveoli, tiny air sacs in your lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.
When you breathe out, you force the air out of your lungs, which creates a vacuum. This vacuum pulls the air from the alveoli into your lungs, and that’s how you get oxygen into your bloodstream.
By taking deep breaths, you can get more oxygen into your system and improve your interval training.
Reset Your Respiratory Rate
When you’re working out at a high intensity, your body’s natural respiratory rate increases to try and get more oxygen into your system. However, this increase in respiratory rate can cause you to feel short of breath — the workout just feels harder.
Instead of letting the workload determine your breathing pattern, you can push back to assert a (slightly) slower rate of breathing.
Slow the Exhalation – Slowly forcing the air out of your lungs at the end of each breath will begin to reduce your breathing rate.
Super Deep Inhalation – . Inhale and really expand your diaphragm. As in 2x your “normal” amount.. Take advantage of the neural circuitry that says inhalation brings air, brings relief to trick your body into you backing off continue working out at a high intensity.
Speed Recovery Between Intervals
Interval training is tough not just within the workout, but within each repetition. If you think about it, a 10 minute interval is challenging.
But the second half of the interval is more challenging than the first. And the last minute is way more challenging than the initial nine. As we say inside Endurance Nation: This is where the fitness happens.
You hit the end of your interval at the highest points of exertion and fatigue. Depending on the interval, you have a fixed amount of time to recover and get back to work. The spacing of the intervals matters just as much as the intensity at which you complete them.
The key here is to make the most of that recovery time.
Less than 30 seconds: Requires rapid reset and breathing. Take 3 to 5 big exhalations in quick succession in the first 10 seconds.
Less than 60 seconds: Slow your breathing by extending the exhalation as you watch your Heart Rate drop.
Unlock Your Recovery Potential
Most athletes want to get stronger at intervals. They focus on the work side of the equation.
Bigger, better, stronger, right? Not so fast.
The truth is that the fittest athletes are able to recover faster between bouts of work, whether it’s intervals or in a dynamic race environment. Taking the time to learn your optimal recovery process will allow you to do more work. Then the sky is the limit!