Hello Everyone,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  April 12, 2023        

     In this Issue:


  1. Don’t Train With Runners That Are Worse Than You
  2. Nasal Breathing for Performance
  3. Photos This Week
  4. Upcoming Events: May 28 SudburyROCKS!!! Marathon June Apex Trail Races 2023
  5. Running Room Run Club Update: 
  6. Track North and Laurentian XC News






Don’t Train With Runners That Are Worse Than You

To become the best runner you can be, don’t train with runners that are worse than you. In this post, I’ll explain what I mean, why, and who you should be training with.

Note that the key word in this post is ‘train’ and not ‘run.’ It’s perfectly fine to run with worse runners when you’re not focused on a particular running objective.


Worse runners can be anyone in your life including close friends, colleagues, family members and romantic partners. Usually, we run with them because we want to enhance our relationship with them. For example, a guy might run a relaxed couple of miles with his father-in-law to get in his good books and improve their relationship. Similarly, a girl might run with her girlfriends to develop a social bond with them.

There’s nothing wrong with these sorts of runs with worse runners, and I encourage them as they can serve you very well in life. Sure, if you’re running for fun with no fixed goal in mind then there will be no problem because you haven’t got a fixed speed or distance objective with all its associated progress to worry about.

The problems arise when you routinely train with runners that are worse than you when you have a running goal that you want to achieve like running a marathon in under 3 hours 30 minutes or achieving a sub-20 5K. Training with worse runners in these situations only ends in disaster.

Worse runners will hold you back from your running goals
Running with worse runners, regardless of who they are and how much you hold them near and dear, they will hold you back.

You’ll naturally find yourself adapting to their ability level rather than pushing your limits to become better. You will also find that you want to go faster, further and work on your form, but will be held back by feeling an obligation to stay with your training partner. After all, who wants to come across as arrogant and rude by running off into the distance leaving your partner in the dust?

If you shouldn’t train with worse runners when you have a set goal to achieve, it should be obvious who you should train with.

To reach your running goals you need to train with people that are better than you

One of the best ways to improve as a runner is to make a habit of training with people that are better than you. Those superior to your level will highlight what your weaknesses are, encourage you to keep up with them during training, and will provide a benchmark for what you should strive for in your own runner’s trajectory.

It’s human nature that we adapt to those around us. If you spend your time training with runners above your ability, you’ll quickly find yourself working to match their level of performance. Overtime, you’ll most likely match their ability or hopefully surpass it. Great for bettering your running performance and achieving your goals.

A common saying in the business world is that you’re the average of the 5 people that you spend most of your time with. This saying is equally true in your running life. If you train with worse runners than you, the likelihood is that you’ll become a worse runner as you adapt to their level. The opposite is true for becoming a better runner so it’s well in your interest to run with those better than you when you want to achieve a particular goal.

Some people get nervous at the thought of training with people better than them. We all know that it can be intimidating to have your weaknesses highlighted and to be given honest feedback about your current performance.

This anxiety is perfectly natural but it’s important that you suck it up and make the decision to train with people that are better than you, no matter how difficult it may be. Otherwise, you’ll stay at the same level and your running will likely not improve. The result will be that your objectives are left unaccomplished and you will feel like a failure.

The principle of training with those better than you applies to all areas of life
Training with those better than you as a method of improvement is something that applies to all areas of life. Here are a few examples to illustrate the concept.

Imagine you’re learning a foreign language. You’ve got the hang of the key concepts, have nailed a good portion of the frequent vocabulary, and are starting to get your head around the grammar. You feel you’ve got potential to advance to the next level and want to take lessons. Who would you go to for this: a qualified language teacher or one of your mates who’s just starting on the language learning journey?

How about this example. You’re due to give an important presentation at work in front of a decent-sized audience with important stakeholders in attendance. Your experience in giving presentations is limited, and you want to make a good impression, so you decide to work on your presentation skill. Who would you ask for advice from, a seasoned public speaker or your colleague who sits next to you in the office who you know had once stumbled through a wedding speech?

What about if you’re looking to hone your techniques on a musical instrument, say the piano. Would you go to bill down the pub who knows how to play happy birthday and chopsticks, or would you search for professional piano tutors near you?

The answers to all of the above scenarios are obvious. To improve our abilities, we are much better off seeking the advice, guidance and coaching of those who are better than us.

These are people that have spent days, weeks and months of their time honing their craft and gaining valuable knowledge that you can learn from to hopefully cut the learning curve in bettering your own abilities.

The same applies to running. If you want to achieve a running goal and become a better runner, you must train with those who are better than you and cut out training with those worse than you. It’s simple.

Where can you find runners that are better than you?

If you don’t have running friends that are above your level, there are plenty of opportunities to find decent runners.

Joining a running club if a great way to find great local runners. These are friendly groups that meet regularly in your local area with the common purpose of sharing a love of running and improving. Often, running clubs will also have trained coaches that can help push you to the next level.

I’d also recommend regularly participating in local running events. Joining and participating in official racing events, like half-marathons, marathons and 10Ks, is a great way to get exposure to competitive running whilst having an objective measure of performance for your distance. I tend to do one race a month (usually a half-marathon) and book them three months in advance, so I know I have a programme of races ahead which motivates me to keep training hard.






Nasal Breathing for Performance
Nasal breathing can have an optimal effect on oxygen delivery leading to better running efficiency

By Dr. Jaritt Ptolemy -

To perform well you have to master the fundamentals. Yet, when I observe the running community, we appear to be overlooking the most fundamental aspect to good running mechanics, performance and recovery: breathing. More specifically, nasal breathing. Let’s explore some of the benefits and extrapolate on why nasal breathing is fundamental to making good runners.

Believe it or not, the mouth is designed primarily for eating and vocalizing, not for breathing. It is becoming increasingly recognized amongst health professionals that chronic mouth breathing can lead to significant health complications such as high blood pressure, anxiety and sleep apnea, to name a few. Despite increasing research, mouth breathing seems to be given a pass during exercise, simply because it is much easier than its alternative: nasal breathing.

To the untrained nasal breather, it is much easier to breathe through the mouth, leading people to believe that nasal breathing is a limiting factor in training and performance. This increase in difficulty is what leads the exercise community to dismiss the nose as an efficient breathing device.

Since most runners are looking to run faster and/or farther, adopting a strategy that initially seems to impede this seems counter-intuitive. Even though we are designed to breathe nasally, the adage “use it, or lose it” comes to mind. Thus, there is a reconditioning period necessary with making the switch from mouth breathing to nasal breathing during physical activity. It is a humbling process that will initially run contrary to our competitive desire to make continuous and linear progress, as it can typical take anywhere from three weeks to three months.

There are two reasons why the simple solution of simply closing your mouth is not so easy in application. The first reason is more obvious. As the nose is a smaller passage than the mouth, we are required to slow down our breath rate. This slower breath rate can lead to a feeling of “air hunger,” which is the other reason we are inclined to open our mouth. To an unconditioned nasal breather, this is very uncomfortable, and the urge to open the mouth often becomes too great. However, the drive to breathe, or air hunger, that comes with an increased workload does not come from a lack of oxygen as most people believe.

As exercise intensity increases so too does oxygen demand. Yet it is the build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2)—the byproduct of cellular respiration—that drives our breath rate. Only a very small amount of CO2 build-up is required to trigger air hunger and more than double our breath rate. In which case, the mouth acts as a quick release valve for off-loading CO2.

As it happens, we tend to carry a large enough oxygen reserve in the bloodstream to accommodate a significant drop in oxygen levels before sounding the alarm to breathe. In essence we are training our brains to tolerate higher levels of CO2 because its presence plays a very important role in oxygen delivery to the tissues. The “Bohr Effect” states that when CO2 is low—due to over-breathing—our hemoglobin has a greater affinity for the oxygen it is carrying. When CO2 levels are higher, the hemoglobin will more readily release its oxygen molecules, thereby increasing oxygen delivery to tissues in need.

Nasal breathing not only improves oxygen delivery to the tissues, it also improves the efficiency in which oxygen is exchanged at the lungs. The nose acts as a turbine to drive inhaled air deeper into the larger, lower lobes of the lungs. This allows for greater surface area for gas exchange—oxygen in and CO2 out—and takes advantage of a greater blood supply (due to gravity).

Nitric oxide is an airway-opening gas that pools in the nasal cavity and follows the inhaled breath into the lungs, further increasing oxygen exchange capacity. In contrast, mouth breathing is correlated with apical breathing, which is a shallow breathing pattern higher in the chest. Since less air is able to reach the alveoli (site of gas exchange) of the larger, blood rich lower lobes, more air is lost to dead space as a result. This “lost” air cannot be used for gas exchange as it is caught in the throat, bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs. A subsequent increase in breath rate to compensate only ensures that more air will be lost to dead space, making mouth breathing much less efficient than nasal breathing.

"Remember, the nose drives the air deeper, which helps to utilize the diaphragm, aka the breathing muscle."

This will also have strong implications on training and recovery as the heart must beat faster to accommodate a faster breath rate. Heart rate is generally what we use to determine exertion and intensity levels, and ultimately determining how much recovery is required. Therefore, a conditioned nasal breather benefits from reduced exertion and stress load during a given activity, which fundamentally improves one’s ability to recover between runs, since less recovery is needed, which in and of itself has significant implications with regards to training volume and injury prevention.

Lastly, good breathing mechanics are imperative to good running mechanics. Remember, the nose drives the air deeper, which helps to utilize the diaphragm, aka the breathing muscle. An apical breathing pattern adversely influences the diaphragm and its ability to generate the intra-abdominal pressure needed to stabilize the spine and joint systems throughout the body leading to compensatory posture, movement and motor control. This is further exacerbated by an open-mouth posture as it shifts the head forward and further alters spine and joint position, while shifting the centre of mass forward. All these factors combined contribute to aberrant running mechanics while making any semblance of good mechanics more challenging to maintain, especially when fatigued.

If you are inclined to adopt the health and performance benefits of being a conditioned nasal breather, there are many resources and tools to aid in your success. The book Breath by James Nestor is a great resource to start, while authors Patrick McKeown, Anders Olsson and John Douillard’s books give practical training applications while further expanding on the science.

Using Breath Right® nasal strips or nasal dilators make the transition easier. Taping the mouth shut at night is becoming a popular method for improving sleep quality and overall health in addition to improving CO2 tolerance. However, it is how you breathe throughout the day that has the most influence on how you breathe during physical activity and sleep, making it the best place to start. Overall, the process is challenging but rewarding.






Photos This Week

Apr 5 Rocks!! Wednesday pm run from Apex

Apr 6 East of Perch Lake

Apr 6 Nature Chalet

Apr 6 Nature Chalet

Apr 7 Moonlight Poleline

Apr 7 Bioski trails

Apr 7 Nature Chalet

Apr 7 Nature Chalet

Apr 7 Civic Cemetery

Apr 8 Rocks!! Saturday am run

Apr 8 Ramsey Lake

Apr 8 Ramsey Lake

Apr 8 Ramsey Lake

Apr 8 Ramsey Lake

Apr 8 Ramsey Lake

Apr 8 Berry Island

Apr 8 Berry Island

Apr 8 Bethel Lake

Apr 9 Rocks!! dog day on Ramsey

Apr 9

Apr 9 Dog Day Morning

Apr 10 Bypass Pond


Apr 10 Bypass Lake

Apr 10 Bypass Poleline

Apr 10 Perch Lake

Apr 11 Bioski trails at Perch Lake

Apr 11 Sudaca

Apr 11 Sudaca

Apr 12 Civic Cemetery

Apr 12 Civic Cemetery

Apr 12 Civic Cemetery

Apr 12 Civic Cemetery

April 12 Civic Cemetery

Apr 12 Civic Cemetery















Upcoming Local Events


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Run Club Update




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