Don’t worry, I’m not trying to get the most value for money out of my Speedo nose clip by wearing it in the office. I assure you that it was only worn for the purposes of the photo. Why am I wearing it? Read on to find out more.
I’ve just finished reading Andy Holgate’s book Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run: My Triathlon Journey from Common Man to Ironman also available in Kindle version here. At some point he mentioned a race that had compulsory nose clip usage due to risk of infection in the particular lake that it was using. Incidentally it’s a very good book although it didn’t make my Ironman aims seem any easier, as he certainly does a lot of training. I’ll be doing a full review of it soon.
Up until reading this I hadn’t even thought of using a nose clip, assuming that they were for wusses that couldn’t stand a bit of water in their nostrils. Yes, I really was that ignorant. I gave it some thought and began to think that maybe a nose clip might be just the thing to aid in my attempts to master bilateral breathing. I still occasionally struggle to get a full breath on the right hand side and this seemed like an easy way to possibly solve my problem, as some of my difficulty is from the sensation of the water flowing differently around my nostrils and sinuses. The next time that I was in a supermarket I just happened to glance down the sports aisle and saw that they had a universal Speedo nose clip for about £3 (quite good value as it turns out) and I picked it up to give it a try.
In the pool I managed to get the nose clip on the right way around on my second try, it was 7am and my brain obviously wasn’t working properly! It felt very restrictive when I first put it on, but as soon as I started swimming I noticed a huge difference. There was a certain detachment due to the reduced sensation in my sinuses and I was breathing quite happily on either side. In fact after the first length it felt perfectly normal and comfortable and I could focus purely on my technique without worrying about breathing.
In summary I would recommend using a simple, cheap, nose clip to any swimmer and I’m really glad that I started to use them before my first open water triathlon. One of the worst things that I found about swimming in the sea is the sensation of cold brine sloshing around my sinuses and I think the nose clip will make even more of a difference there. It has the added benefit of reducing your chances of getting a respiratory infection from whatever water you are swimming in and these days they are quite unobtrusive.