Can conscious breathing rate modification be a "game changer" in the world of endurance running?
This is the question that Bc. Dávid Žigo in collaboration with his co-researcher Bc. Rastislav Frass is trying to answer in their research. As part of the research under the supervision of Mgr. Ivan Struhár Ph.D. and with the technical support of Mgr. Vojtěch Grün, they subjected thirteen performance runners to a total of three tests of running economy at speeds of 14km/h, 16km/h, and 18km/h, with the highest speed also being the average race speed of the probands over a distance of ten kilometers.
In the second and third measurements, the athletes were instructed to consciously increase or decrease their respiratory rate at each of the tested speeds by ten breaths per minute. This provided data telling whether the runners were able to run more economically when consciously affecting their breathing or whether their subconscious breathing rate was the most optimal.
Despite the fact that the probands still have one more series of measurements to take, the results are already more than interesting. Consciously increasing the breathing rate significantly improved the runners' running economy at speeds lower than their race speed for ten kilometer races. Conversely, none of the modifications appeared statistically significant at race speed, nor did consciously lowering the breathing rate improve running economy at lower speeds.
These results were presented by the researchers at the SCIENTIA MOVENS international scientific conference held in Prague on 16 and 17 May 2023.
This project is supported by the MU grant for the support of outstanding theses MUNI/C/1709/2022.
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