Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

May 8, 2015

Training with an Altitude Mask

My latest training tool is an altitude mask.


The basic premise is that the mask controls the amount of incoming air you can breathe, by limiting volume, with adjustable valves so you can pretend you are cruising at 10,000 feet or even standing on top of Mt. Everest.  I've got mine set at 5,000 feet, but since I already live at 5,000 feet, the two are cumulative, and when it's on I should be breathing at 10,000 feet.  That's the theory, anyway.   In reality, I feel like I'm climbing the last ladder on Mt. Everest as I ignominiously gasp for air after doing a set of pushups.

Imagine it:  You could breathe like Darth Vader, scare little children, and confuse the heck out of dogs.  Who wouldn't want to wear one?  Seriously...walking outside with this mask on is weird and embarrassing x10...plus I can't explain to those random people who see me what it is, because my voice inside this thing can barely be heard.    I may breathe like Darth Vader, but I talk like I've been sucking in helium.

I thank my trainer, Jesse, for inflicting this particular injustice onto my training regimen, which allows he and Jim to make fun of me wearing it during our weight training sessions.   (They call it "the muzzle")  Of course I can't even reply without taking it off, so I'm at an acute disadvantage!?!

I try to wear it about an hour a day, either during an easy gym workout or on a flat-ish walk.   Believe me, you wouldn't want to wear this thing while hiking up a mountain, unless you want to go REALLY slow just to be able to breathe at all!

On the other hand, the benefits are supposed to be really good.   Increased lung capacity, better stamina, increased anaerobic thresholds, etc. etc.   I am hoping it helps increase my red blood cell count (increased altitude does that), but I do think it will help me breathe deeper so I use my full lung capacity.   I hope it's doing something to make up for the fact that I sometimes have to wear it out in public :)

Darth Vader goes for a walk.  
At least it keeps my face warm on a cold day!

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