What a question. I have consulted loads of material and spoken with many people about this. I have listened to many different opinions concerning this matter. Today, I want to express my humble point of view and answer the big question: is running with a mouthguard worth it?
Running with a gum shield can actually benefit our Combat Sport performance? I honestly believe that the answer is not as simple as it looks and different perspectives need to be considered.
For my own personal experience, I am a supporter of wearing a mouthguard when running. A series of reasons led me to this conclusion. However, let me clarify something first: if you are going for a slow and especially steady pace run, you don’t need to wear it. So, if you are running just to loosen up your muscles, or to warm up before a session, you can avoid doing so.
When should I wear a mouthguard?
Now, if you are running with the aim of improving your Combat Sport performance (read this article to find out how) wearing a gum shield can be a plus. I believe that sprinting or changing elevation patterns while wearing a mouthguard can be extra challenging. I have noticed a big impact on my cardio level when doing these activities with my gum shield in. In the following runs without it, I felt like flying.
Moreover, I think that wearing a mouthguard when running is beneficial from a psychological point of view. When fighting, due to the mix of emotions and adrenaline, we could feel like our energy is abandoning us. The mouthguard contributes even more to our breathing process, limiting the intake of oxygen. Then, wearing a gum shield when running would help us to feel more comfortable when wearing it in any other situation.
I also believe that wearing a mouthguard can be really beneficial when doing other Combat Sports related activities. For example, when doing pad works, drilling or forcing exercises, this can definitely boost our Combat Sport performance. However, I would like to clarify that this is mainly when training for a competition. If you are a beginner, you should focus on your technique first. This is because wearing a mouthguard will consume your energy more and hinder your technique.
I know that this will cause a lot of discussion and not everyone will agree with what is written in this post, but this is the result of my own personal experience. For me and my combat performance, this has brought massive benefits. Try it out and give me your feedback!