Dust on a trail can do lots of things, it can bring your athletes to a different kind of thirsty. Dirty Thirsty is when you’re in a dusty land that is also thirsty.
If it’s dirty and hot your breath starts to kind of stick to the back of your mouth and your lips start to crack
The other thing that happens is that athletes start to breathe differently because they’re trying to not cough.
Rule number one when working in dirty thirsty areas is to give those athletes a hard candy or something to suck on so that they don’t breathe through their mouth.
Teach them to practice rinsing their mouth before swallowing, or to rinse out their mouth on the trail regularly. Rinsing will instantly calm them.
Dirty thirst starts to bring on a level of tension in the head area when they are going long distances. If you ever felt like a new human being when you got out of the shower you will understand the need to rinse your mouth in the dusty terrain.
Remind them that nose breathing is critical to avoid getting dirt thirst. This will be a difficult task if any of those athletes are also trying to manage mild allergies on the terrain.
At each roadside stop you will want toothbrushes and some sort of mouthwash or toothpaste.
Remember trail drivers, your job is to support each athlete during what is often the most difficult personal and emotional circumstance that they could put themselves in. Your service to that team or individual will allow them to move farther and faster than they could without you.
Traveling to different terrains to compete is a common occurrence. That also means that there is often rapid elevation change. Even well trained athletes will suffer from elevation shortness of breath if they have lived in low elevation areas.
As the trail driver one of the items that you can give your team is tools to manage their breath in an elevation situation. This is where it will be helpful to understand yoga breaths and why elevation feels so different.
Like asthma, one of the big misunderstandings about shortness of breath is that they think it’s about not getting enough breath IN, but it’s actually about not getting enough breath OUT!
A few breathing technics will help refocus the athlete on measured breath – three quick breaths in through the nose and one long breath out that is measured. As soon as that athlete starts feeling the tension of their shoulders rise and their lungs start to ache they should move instantly to measured breath.
The longer it takes them to recognize their elevation tension around breath the more it will move the tension from just the front area into their upper back and stomach.
Interval breath on an elevation run will help reduce the stress overall and is a great tool for trail drivers to remind their athletes to use.
Trail drivers are not just assistance on the road helping an athletic individual or team get to their goal, a trail driver is a lifeline that will help during a time that is strenuous, difficult, and when most people are not thinking clearly because they are just focused on getting to a goal or a finish line.
The signs to watch for in your athlete that they are having elevation breathing issues is their shoulders start to get tense up towards their ears. Or they start punching towards the center of their chest while they’re breathing.
Raising their hands over their head and having them manage their breathing will automatically force their shoulders down and allow them to breathe with instant relief.