Sunday, September 28, 2014

Training Mask 2.0 Review

First off, this is more of an unboxing than a review.  It's footnote to help me remember where I was in my training before I started using the mask.  So, without any further ado, lets find out about the Training Mask 2.0.

Everyone knows that training at altitude can improve your performance on race day. It's no wonder why elite cyclists, and I'm sure elite runners as well, choose to live in the Boulder and Aspen areas of Colorado. Boulder sits at an elevation of 5,430 feet (1,655 m) and Aspen is even higher at just below 8,000 feet (2,400 m). There a lot of distance between those lofty heights and my usual training altitude of about 800 feet (244 m) around Atlanta. Coupled with the fact that I've been traveling and training at close to sea level recently, I thought I needed to add an extra edge to my training. So, last week I ordered a Training Mask.

I weigh 140 lbs, give or take, but ordered the medium size mask for persons 150 to 240 lbs.  It seems to fit well.  It was $79.99 through Amazon.  I also ordered the pack of resistance valves for $19.99.   The mask itself comes with a few resistance valves and a Velcro strap to secure the mask to one's head without putting pressure on the wearer's ears.

The mask arrived while I was out of town.  It wasn't until Sunday that I had the opportunity to take it out of the box and give it a test.  That's just 6 weeks shy of my big race for the year.  As I said previously, this is a rebuilding year.  I'm trying to improve my run because everybody knows that it's the runners that win at Ironman.

The mask itself has two parts, an outer neoprene harness and an inner rubber mask with 3 valves.

Resistance valves and Training Mask
Under the box flap
Resistance valves, mask and Velcro strap
Inside the mask
Inside the valves
The rubber mask
Inside the rubber mask
A closer look at the rubber mask and the valves
The Velcro comes with a piece of fabric attached to prevent errant clinging
The white valves that came with the mask and the extra black valves I ordered 
The bloodshot eyes  are the result of a 5:30 a.m. run followed by several hours of computer work.

Wearing the Training Mask around the house
A side view - glasses don't fit
30 minutes of computer work to test it out.
The Training Mask website has two videos. The first in an instructional video with a warmup. The second video is a coaching session.

The instructional video shows you how to set up your mask for the various altitudes and how to adjust  to wearing the mask.  For myself, I wore the mask as it was configured out of the box at 9,000 feet, and wore the mask for a total of 30 minutes while I configured a new laptop computer.  Next time I'll try to wear it for 60 minutes.  It won't be until I'm completely comfortable that I'll wear the mask on a training run.  I'll probably have to wait until the temperature drops a bit too.

I'm hopeful that the mask will improve my lung capacity without having to move to Colorado.  Only time will tell.

Thanks for reading.