In and Out

I had no trouble bouncing out of bed this morning thanks to the sun streaming in my bedroom window. But, with just over three weeks left to go before I begin my 60 ultra-marathons in 60 days challenge, there’s a pep to my step regardless of the weather.

To get the body ready for the race of my life, I’ve recently been beginning my days with hot-stone massages, 24 carat gold facials and a quick seisiún inside an arctic sauna.

Ok. I’m joking.

In reality this morning was like any other, getting the three wee ones ready for school in a flurry of French toast and made-to-order eggs (my own preference taking the least effort: crack, crack, swallow.) But I love this time with the kids and wouldn’t change it for the world.

After my lovely wife Catherine had carted them off to school, I went out for a run. From now on, I’m aiming to do 22 miles at least five days a week but today, with the sounds and smells of summer surrounding me – I honestly felt like I could have run forever.

I don’t think the rest of the country was as lucky as Armagh but by mid-afternoon the temperature was up to 22 degrees here, lifting spirits with it as it climbed. It’s amazing how rejuvenating something as simple as warm, fresh air is.

It made me think about the nasal breathing technique Tom Herron taught me a few months ago. It’s pretty straightforward (it’s all in the name really) instead of using my mouth, I inhale and exhale through my nose only and I’ve definitely felt the benefits since adopting this method.

When you breathe through your nose you access a chemical called nitric oxide, which relaxes your muscles so it helps to keep your body loose and limber during exercise. Nasal breathing has also improved my recovery time.

But you don’t have to be an athlete to feel the advantages of nasal breathing, I would definitely recommend everyone to try it. The word ‘relax’ in Latin means to let go off so using your nose to breathe helps to alleviate stress. It can also help with sleep, mood and digestion.

So let me set you a challenge now; every day for the next 7 days, take 10 minutes to yourself and practice nasal breathing. Find somewhere quiet, sit with your back straight and begin to breathe deeply, in and out of your nose. Clear your mind completely and concentrate on each breath. The process itself is calming, like a little break away from the usual routine.

So go on, try it!