I have always been keen on different ways to train while running and wearing a training mask is one of the areas I was interested in the most. I finally got my hands on one and I think I made a good choice with the company and design. Firstly let me tell you how I think the mask will help with my running.
The mask is designed to restrict the airflow while breathing. There are 4 settings on the mask from easy to hard ( well D’oh). When running we take in breaths which gives us O2 in our system. Which then ends up fueling our muscles, etc. So being a stronger more efficient breather while running makes sense. Sure we can train our bodies to run stronger and eat the right food but breathing is also something we need to focus on. I try to listen to music while running so I can try to regulate my breathing with my pace, it does help. The mask replaces the need to buy expensive trips to high altitudes places to train ( for us poor runners lol). You are forced to conserve your breathing, by taking in more regulated deep breaths. This makes your lung muscles stronger and makes your whole breathing become more efficient. After a few miles I found myself settling down into a deep breath in and deep breath out kinda run and it became regular, even up hills. Yes it was hard work and i knew I was working harder, but I could tell it was doing something good (maybe) . I found myself panting less, which is always a good thing as I have heard you don’t get the quality of air you need in your lungs for your muscles that way. So let the training begin…
The Phantom Athletic mask –
It is a light-weight and a nice design. In the box you get the instructions and a little about the company and the benefits about wearing a mask. The mask is made up of a strap which fastens with velcro at the rear. You have an elastic all in one strap that fits on the mask front. This provides a good fit and because there are no other parts there are no seems or stuff to rub, etc when running and getting sweaty. The front part of the mask is made up of a nose/mouth part, a filter/ valve and an adjuster these all clip together easily and allow you to take it all to bits for a good clean, because it will get wet and smelly after every run :). The unit is all matte black with no valves showing on the outside like some of the others I have seen on the market. The design is compact and modern looking. Yes you will get comments I have had a few ( by a few I mean LOADS AND LOADS including Bane. )
I will continue to use it and will report my findings as I discover them. I am by no means and expert so all my opinions and views here are based on what I have picked up over the years. I think as people who enjoy training out side of the professional running groups we should try all manner of routes to become better for ourselves. It is too easy to only try the ones the popular peeps rant on about and overlook the ones they haven’t tried, etc. Training masks for running and sport are used by a lot of professional people so it kinda makes sense to at least try this method to see if it helps, doesn’t it??
I plan on running a couple of times a week with this mask, outside and on the treadmill. I will run from 5-10miles with it at first to see how I get on. Now I know this is a controversial area and some think it does bugger all to help you run better. You lose nothing for trying though right ?