Sunday, March 30, 2014

Marching Forward!

Things have come together for the past few weeks. I have implemented a completely new training regime with the help of my coach/mentor Matt. We re-focused my efforts away from short quick runs for efficiency sake and brought back the long-steady-distance plan. And, you know what, it is working!
 I have been trying to get the most out of my limited schedule for years. As much as I want to, I don't have an unlimited amount of time to dedicate to training and performance. For the past three months I have spent some attention to be able to determine my limiting factors (in performance) and then find ways to fix them.

This is where my time spent with MOXY monitor has come in. It is a new sports-science tool to investigate what is the limiting factor in delivering oxygen to the muscles. It is a technique that has been used for a decade in the hospital but only recently has it been made small enough and mobile application for testing performance.
Through this testing I have found two things (so far) that were very important for improving my baseline. My long steady distance training was not long or steady enough! I needed to slow my pace down to a level where physiologic adaptive changes could be made (increase capillary density in muscle, increase levels of mitochondria, vaso-dilation of peripheral arterioles, etc.). Second of all, I had an oxygen delivery problem. I was not getting enough oxygen to my muscles from a limit in my respiratory system or the cardiovascular system.  Through MOXY testing we determined that I needed to work on my strength and endurance the respiratory system.
I have now been using the SpiroTiger system for six weeks. I have noticed a dramatic change in my daily respiratory rate, not to mention when I'm at red-lining!  The system is fairly straight forward: the diaphragm and accessory breathing muscles can be trained exactly the same way we train the rest of our body for performance. It is like a dumbell for our lungs or maybe more like a treadmill. It uses a computer to monitor and modify breathing frequency and a silicon bag attached to a tubing system that directs CO2 out and O2 in.

It is amazing how hard this workout is. I consider it a workout because within 3-5minutes of using it, I will break out in a heavy sweat and it takes all my focus to keep at full effort. The computer on the SpiroTiger warns if you are hypoventilating and going to pass out and it will also sound an alarm when you are breathing too deep (hyperventilating).

In my experience (along with all the research) I have noticed an ability to hold higher intensities for a longer period of time.  The muscles between my ribs and my diaphragm actually get a bit sore after a hard SprioTiger workout! For someone else to use the same set-up all they need is a user-set of tubes and a silicon balloon, the computer can be shared with a few people.  If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.