Cyclocross race, can not breath

Hi , i am 6 races in now , for some reason this season i just feel like i cant breath , starved of oxygen somehow . Legs feel good .
Any ideas

Asthma? Hyperventilating? Maybe sinus drainage going down the back of your throat?

Maybe you’re just going out too hard? Have you been doing any VO2 efforts? How have those gone?

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Cross is hard, the start is harder, and when you have a good 60 seconds of anaerobic power everything is a nail. It’s possible you’re starting too hard and need to dial it back a bit, combined with the air being cold and shocking your lungs. Can you provide a bit more detail on what’s going on here? Do you feel like you have a hard time actually breathing, or just that your breath is out of control, or light-headed?

Do you wheeze? I do. I had respiratory problems as a kid and I feel my lungs are underdeveloped. I don’t know for sure.

Anyhow, if I push threshold or above, for longer periods especially in the cold, I wheezes did can not longer breathe properly. It takes a few hours off the bike to recover, for me.

As noted, coming out too hard can make you suffer the whole race, never catching your breath.

That said, it is entirely possible you have Exercise Induced Asthma…mine is rarely triggered unless I am racing / going hard in the cold. Then it is almost impossible for me to catch my breath.

Hi, i have eased off slightly at the start , just feel
Off maybe 5-10 % down from breathing capacity to previous years, training has tapered down due to family/winter etc , not sure if i should rest and its fatigue or try more vo2 workouts, i dont think its a health issue

I used to feel something similar to the first part of any type of race that went hell for leather straight from the gun.
Then instead of looking at a taper I looked atthe build up to the race. Previously I used to take two days off straight but the downside was the start of a race I was literally being sick and shaking due to the zero to high work load.
So now I dont actually taper, but thats just because it suits me but the two things that did make a huge difference the morning of the day before Ill do a primers session like tallac and then on the actual morning of the race before I even eat breakfast I do my race warm up (I actually made it and listed it as BC warmup on trainerroad), this will get my HR up to race levels. Then at the race I gently spin my legs to get them moving, but during the manic start I now never have the previous problems, my hr is very quickly up to speed and I can control the race a lot better.

Ive also used the same ‘system’ for evening track league races, for me at least it seems that getting my hr up earlier in the day means I get up to pace a lot quicker and easier.

The nature of cyclocross puts a huge tax on your ventilatory system. This in turn manifests in a high ventilation rate (how many breaths you take per minute). As you become more fit you’ll become more efficient at breathing. In any given race it usually takes me around 2 laps (10-15 min) to settle down and get my breathing under control. Heart rate is within 95% of max all race.


@Nicktaylor, are you warming up properly? i find using a Turbo gets the HR a lot higher than just riding around the course. Are you riding in the NWCCA league by any chance ? Also recommend doing “openers” as the optimum pre race day workout, sort of mini race effort.

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Hi ray,hope your well , for some reason i seem to be lacking on the breathing this year !! i can not warm up on the turbo due to silly bolt through rat axles, although i do warm up on the road and try to get in the red , before the race.
I take it openers means the day before ride , whats your recommendation there ray.

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Perhaps MvdP is taking your breath away? :man_shrugging:

Can’t breath? It’s CX, you’re doing it right!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Nick, I do a TR workout about 40 mins long that includes the main energy systems, endurance for the warm up, sweet spot, threshold, VO2 and sprints but for short durations. I’ll send you a link to our NWCCA team and you’ll see the custom workouts in there.

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@Nicktaylor, happy birthday for yesterday. Hows the training going?

Hi ray , thanks, good but worked all day the took phoebes to racing , some trapped nerve or something from working in my shoulder this weeks injury, so had a break from the bike, just jogging. Tried the tips pre warm up etc at the Ulverston race , breathing a lot better but legs went last two laps . Always find it hard training this time of year, seems so much easier in summer, how are you

Fine. Just had a CX skills session with the NCC Youths. Keeps me going even though I can’t stay with them. I’m doing 6-8 hrs a week, 450+ TSS regularly. Having to travel to keep racing but the NW picks up after Xmas.