Nose breathing + AeT

  • Creator
  • #5942


    I have two questions:
    With increasing intensity the tissue in my nose seems to “swell” a bit, so the breathing becomes harder. Is this somehow normal, and/or are there any remedies for that?

    The second question is regarding thresholds:
    My AeT for mountain biking is ~153bmp and for uphill running ~143bmp. The AnT though, are the same at ~179bmp. Can someone explain why so different AeT? I’m guessing it is because of the more working muscles in running that need more energy and as a result the respiration increases to deliver the needed oxygen.

    Thank you in advance,

  • Participant
    birey on #5966

    In the three training years past, I think I’ve relied on heart rate a little too much to tell me what zone I’m in. This year, after reading your two new articles on breathing, I’m trying to pay more attention to breathing intensity. Unfortunately, my nose has never worked as well as it should and the docs tell me my nostrils are about 1/2 the diameter they should be. Can you recommend breath rates as an alternative indicator for the top of zone 1 and zone 2?

    Dedicated Mouth Breather

    Anonymous on #5984

    You 2 are not alone in not being able to breath adequately through your nose. My nose has been broken several times as byproduct of a misspent youth so I can sympathize.

    You can use your conversational pace as a decent test for the top of Z2 or aerobic threshold. You might want to run with a friend and see at what pace/HR you can no longer carry on a comfortable conversation. This can be a useful governor when you are doing the approach to alpine climbs. Too many folks hit the trail from the parking lot amped on caffeine and stoked for the climb. The early pace for them will often be too fast. So start a conversation and keep it going during the approach. If you get out of breath you are going too fast for your current aerobic capacity.

    I had this experience recently while in Chamonix and going out with David Goettler whom I coach. David was at a recovery level effort and chatting away while I was fully in Z3 and just trying to hang on to his heels. In my defense; he is a pro athlete and 34 years younger than me. But the difference in our aerobic engines was very obvious. You may notice the same thing sometimes.

    ; The AeT difference between biking and running is exactly as you suppose. Running takes a bunch more energy than cycling. More muscle mass. You are supporting your body weight and not sitting down, etc.


    Bazehead on #9854

    I was about to post a question about nose breathing then found this thread. Hopefully my question is relevant. Without a HR monitor, How reliable is nose-breathing to stick to Zone 1? Are there situations where someone might slide into zone 2 while nose breathing?


      I know I need considerable base work. In past this has been daily workday exercise fit around a desk job and young family; daily 2x 35min zone 1 brisk walking commute, lunchtime zone 3(?) runs, yoga, and circuit training (probably zone 3), ‘weekend warrior’ ice and rock climbing, and multi-day alpine trips. Suffice to say I’m not an elite athlete, but “fit” relative to the average person on the street in Calgary (which might mean diddly squat!! haha).

      Hence, I’m following the TFTNA guidance of mostly doing zone 1 training with a weekly “Scott’s Killer Core” plus the “ME Money Workout”. Since I’m presently living in Vietnam (on sabbatical) without a HR monitor, I’m relying on nose breathing as my guide to stick to Zone 1. For a couple weeks now my primary zone 1 activities have been doing fasted (4-12hrs) step-up on a 75% box with ~32# pack for 60 minutes, and 45-75min runs around the rice paddies near town. (It’s typically 30-35C, plus humidity so dehydration is a factor/limiter.)

      I’ve noticed that I often feel sluggish around the 40min mark and feel somewhat tired at the end of the run, and definitely not “energized” as is suggested in the book. I’m wondering if perhaps I’m somehow going to fast in my runs, despite consistent nose breathing. Am I out of zone 1? Or, what might be going on?

      Any advice is appreciated.


    otherwize on #21721

    I know our mileages may vary, but you should be able to nose breathe WAY out of Zone 1; I nose breath through Zone 2 and on a good day into the lower reaches of Zone 3. (And I’m at moderate altitude.) So yes, it may be that you are going a lot harder/quicker than you think you are.

    vixaaron on #40550

    I have read both TFTNA and Training for the Uphill Athlete. I’ve always been going off of breathing through the nose as my go-to gauge and figured I was well within zone 1 or 2 as I felt like I had more room to go faster without needing to breathe out of my mouth. But I just did a drift test with a HR monitor, and while I was comfortably breathing out of my nose, the drift test came back such that I was in zone 3 (not too big of a shocker though as I was starting to feel the effects after about 45 minutes.

    Sounds like “Otherwise” can relate, but curious if others too have noticed this in zone 3?

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