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How diaphragmatic breathing can make you faster

MAR 31, 2023

Minute 1: Train your body to breathe better

Bad breathing is not just for yoga neophytes and garlic lovers. Many runners don’t breathe properly and that is slowing them down, according to this new story from the New York Times: “One Way to Improve Your Run? Diaphragmatic Breathing.” Just like our quads and calves, the diaphragm is a muscle that can be trained and strengthened for better performance. The diaphragm contracts and flattens when you breathe in, and breathing deeply into your belly is like performing a lift with perfect form and full range of motion. In theory, most experts agree that practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing will strengthen your muscles and allow you to take more air into your lungs, providing your body with much-needed oxygen for aerobic exercise. For a list of benefits, as well as a few video guides, take a look at “Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises.” Breathing depth is only one dimension of proper breathing while running, and for a few more, you can read: “Breathing Techniques: How to Breathe While Running.” Inhaling through the nose can increase your VO2 max, running economy, and time to exhaustion according to research. Finding a comfortable rhythm for your breath is helpful too, and many runners find that breathing in for 4 steps, and out 4 for steps is a good place to start.

Minute 2: Keep costs low and nutrition high with these tips

So far, 2023 has been a tough time for grocery shoppers. Prices are high and certain foods are in short supply. It can be tempting to cut corners while you do your shopping, but remember that there are lots of ways to eat healthy on a budget. For tips on eating fresh and frugal, take a look at: “Easy ways to shop for healthful, cost-conscious foods.” It’s been said before, but that’s because it’s such a useful tip: Don’t shop on an empty stomach. Research has shown that hungry shoppers buy about 20% more food, and much of it is high-calorie stuff with low nutritional value according to: “Why You Shouldn’t Grocery Shopping on an Empty Stomach.” Another way to save money is being selective on the kinds of foods which you buy organic. Some options are more impactful than others, and you can learn why in: “Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious?” Generally speaking, fruits and veggies with thick skins will have the greatest difference when compared to their non-organic counterparts. They can absorb synthetic pesticides, which is why you should memorize “The Dirty Dozen: 12 Foods You Should Buy Organic.” Kale, strawberries, and peppers are prime examples of the kind of foods we’re talking about, but dairy and meats can be less of a priority, according to “Which Food to Buy Organic (and How to Spend Less When You Do).”

Minute 3: Heart rate training can be cheap and easy

When you think of heart rate zone training, you might picture a lot of expensive gear to monitor your status, or a bunch of complicated graphs tracking your progress. Actually, heart rate training can be fairly straightforward and affordable. To give you an idea of how it works, check out: “What Is Zone 2 Cardio and How Do I Actually Do It?” Zone 2 refers to a heart rate level that’s about 70% of your max. That corresponds to a light jog and it’s where the fastest endurance athletes in the world spend most of their training time. Zone 2 training allows your body to develop aerobic adaptations, like increased mitochondria and blood vessels in your muscles, without causing much burnout. Then, when it comes time to go beyond zone 2, you’re fresh and ready to put in a quality session. If you’re looking for the right tool for the job, consider one of these: “9 of the Best Cheap Fitness Trackers.” There are plenty of options under $100 to help you approach training like a pro, and combined with the info listed this guide from Training Peaks: “Zones Calculator Overview,” you’ll be in the zone in no time.

Minute 4: Shoe Review: Speedland GS:TAM ($275)

We have rarely seen our friend and shoe expert Brian Metzler this excited about a new shoe. You’ve probably never heard of the brand Speedland, but according to Brian, you should pay attention. It’s not for the faint of wallet at $275 per pair, but Brian used his own dough to buy a pair, he loves them so much. The highlights are below and you can check out Brian’s full review of the new Speedland GS:TAM on our website.

The co-founders of this relatively new shoe brand based in Portland, Oregon, are blowing past legacy notions about design, materials, fit and cost with the newly released Speedland GS:TAM. This model is the brand’s third shoe since its launch two years ago and it is a one-of-a-kind maximally-cushioned trail shoe that is as versatile and accommodating as it is unique.

Dombrow and Fallon worked for several brands during their careers as shoe designers and brand executives – including Nike, Puma and Under Armour – but in each role they found themselves limited by various corporate controls tied to what it traditionally took to build shoes. Those elements are key to fiscally responsible product launches, but when they left to set up their own shoe brand, they knew there was another way.

In a nutshell, they’ve endeavored to create optimally fitting purpose-built shoes, sparing no expense while choosing only best-in-class materials and incorporating performance-enhancing design specs. For the GS:TAM, they teamed up with elite athlete and FreeTrail podcaster Dylan Bowman to make sure they were spot-on with every last detail for ultra-distance trail running.

Combined with the fact that their business model is tied to small-batch production – they only made 1,200 pairs of their original SL:PDX ($375) and the SL:HSV ($375) encore model and are only initially selling about 3,500 pairs of the GS:TAM ($275) – Speedland shoes are expensive to make and, as a result, have lofty price tags, that, understandably, might not fit everyone’s budget. But, to give insight to how excited I have been about this shoe’s launch after seeing it in development last summer and fall, I bought a pair during the pre-sale and couldn’t be more excited about them after running in them every day this week. Keep reading and you’ll see why I’m so stoked to run in this shoe all summer long as I train for a variety of trail running races.

What’s New: Although it’s an entirely new shoe, it carries over some of the elements from Speedland’s first two models. The updated midsole is made from a 100 percent beaded Pebax external midsole with an interior midsole made from a blended EVA/Pebax elastomer. It’s a max-cushion design that’s much higher off the ground than Speedland’s first two models and with a more moderate 7mm heel-toe offset. It also has an updated version of a high-tenacity knit upper that features a BOA Fit System with multidirectional dual-dial Li2 closure system. It also has a thin but durable Michelin Fiberlite rubber outsole with a smart array of low-profile lugs that are adept at running on dirt, rocks, wooden steps, wet surfaces and gravel roads. Lastly, it has a removable best-in-class Carbitex GearFlex carbon-fiber plate (sold separately for $35 as an add-on purchase) that can make the shoe firmer/livelier or softer/milder depending on running conditions.

Why It’s Great: There are several factors that make the GS:TAM a really great shoe, but mostly it’s the creative thinking behind the design process that make this shoe so special. And sure, there are several innovative design elements incorporated into the mix, but what’s really important is that the shoe fits, runs and feels so amazing for long runs on mild to moderate trail surfaces. There have been plenty of other innovative road and trail shoes in recent years, but few, if any, have gone from initial design to finished product as smartly, smoothly and successfully as this one. For the complete rundown on the new Speedland GS:TAM, check out Brian’s full review here. In addition, Brian’s collection of shoe reviews now features more than 20 shoes on our website with something for every runner. #FullSpeedland

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Our friend Dara Zall Kelly played a road game this week, as she did her long run while on a family vacation in Mexico. In addition to seeing camels and glowing crosses, Dara’s dehydration made her see some mirages, too. As always, our very accomplished and very experienced marathoner is also very self deprecating. She shares a few funny anecdotes and some insights on hydration that apply to all of us. Check out this week’s account here.

  • If you follow celebrity news, you’ve likely heard that “Gwyneth Paltrow gets vindication at ski collision trial.” Regardless of who was at fault, it’s a good reminder to remain cautious while on the slopes. While we’re on the topic of Paltrow, we should address her status as a health and wellness guru. Does she know what she’s talking about? These experts think that in some cases, yes, but there are plenty of claims she’s made that should be met with suspicion. Take a look at “Gwyneth Paltrow’s Nutrition Advice, Rated by Registered Dietitians.”

  • So far, the oldest person to ever live reached 122 years of age, passing away in 1997. Many researchers wonder why the record hasn’t been extended since then, despite advances in medicine. If you want to see a breakdown of the factors at play, check out “We're nowhere near reaching the maximum human life span, controversial study suggests.”

  • Pacers can be a valuable resource for runners, especially if it’s their first time attempting a marathon or other long distance event. By pacer, we don’t mean a buddy who jumps onto the course without a bib to run with you for a few miles. We’re talking instead about those pied pipers who carry a long stick with a sign denoting the pace per mile of their group. According to this new story, there’s more you can learn from your pacer than just what speed to run: “‘I’m a Marathon Pacer, and This Is How To Pace Your Way to a New PR on Race Day’.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

There’s no debating that Eliud Kipgoge has mastered the Berlin Marathon. He’s set the course record twice, after all. Berlin is a remarkably flat course, so the question is, can he bring that same dominance to the hilly Boston Marathon? It’s a course containing some of the greatest elevation changes of any of the World Marathon Majors, but luckily, Kipchoge’s home training grounds in Kenya have no shortage of hills as well. They even refer to one of their training routes as the Boston Course, and you can watch Kipchoge’s training vlog as he zeros in on his goal of breaking the Boston Marathon record this April.


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