Before we get to the breathing tips and techniques, I first want to talk about why we should focus on our breathing.
Breathing technique is not something that I particularly stress over as a runner but there are some definite benefits to breathing "correctly" and effectively.
Hopefully these quick, practical and effective breathing tips will help make you a better runner!
It keeps you from feeling out of breath when you run!
It's not good if you feel like you can't quite catch your breath.
If you feel like you are out of breath every time you run then try one of the tips below to see if you can change this!
If you are breathing too fast or breathing too shallow you can cause your body to overwork, enter the anaerobic zone which will then decrease your endurance ability, and increase your time to fatigue and increase muscle soreness.
While you are running, you want to be aware of your heart rate and know what range it should be at during each type of run that you perform.
Many recreational runners hover around a 60-70% target heart rate.
If you are expending more energy than you should then your heart rate will increase and it will feel as if you are working much harder than you need to be.
If you are a runner, you probably want to reap all of the stress-free benefits of running that it can bring.
Breathing properly will help you enhance this benefit!
Also, staying relaxed and calm throughout your muscles and body will better help you to avoid unnecessary muscle soreness and potential injury.
Employing proper breathing techniques will enable you to run longer with more stamina and energy!
Focusing on exhaling properly (releasing most of your carbon dioxide) will increase your running economy and release tension throughout your body.
Breathing properly will help
to keep you on goal pace and allow you to run more comfortable, successful
First of all, what even is the definition of "breathing technique"?
According to medical-dictionary.com:
"Any form of exercise in which one switches from shallow rapid breathing to deeper slower breathing, the most refined of which were developed in yoga; such exercises allegedly improve blood circulation, calm nerves and draw in vital substances (of an unspecified nature) which are not normally inhaled."
Most running coaches and exercise physiologists will simply look at how much air you move in and out of your lungs at a certain rate.
Tidal Volume (size of breath) x frequency = How much air you move in and out of your lungs.
These two factors:
are inversely related meaning that if you breathe too fast you thereby increase the frequency of your breaths and will reduce how much air you can actually take in.
If you slow your breaths down you can increase the amount of air that your body can take in.
However, you can slow your breathing rate down too much.
Therefore, knowing when to use what breathing technique will help you to maximize your running economy and stay on pace.
Did you know that your pace is what can really help to determine your breathing pattern.
The faster you run the more breaths you will have to take in to sustain that pace.
As a runner, the best breathing pattern for the most effective oxygen uptake is to take 2 steps for each breath in and 2 steps for each breath out.
This can be signified as a 2-2 breathing pattern.
However depending on your speed and intensity this breathing pattern will change.
During speed workouts, hill workouts, tempo runs, etc. you can continue to use a 2-2 (2 steps breathe in, 2 steps breathe out) breathing pattern.
However, you may also find that using a 1-2 or 2-1 breathing pattern to be more effective or natural for you when you increase your speed or intensity.
At this breathing rate you will find it difficult to carry on a conversation if you can even do so.
Often times speedwork will require you to run at a more vigorous intensity which will mean increasing your pace and breathing pattern in order to allow you to sustain the higher level of intensity.
During long, steady runs such as running in a marathon, half marathon, 10 race, long run or easy run, you can use a 3-3 breathing pattern.
Keeping your breathing rate down and steady will help you to:
At this breathing rate you should be able to carry on a conversation comfortably.
Focus on breathing deep through your belly (diaphragm) and not through your chest.
When you are running, notice if your chest is rising and falling.
It shouldn't be!
If you are slouching and not running tall you are more likely to be chest breathing (or breathing shallowly).
So do a posture check every once in awhile and notice how you are breathing.
It is more natural for us to breathe in through our nose and out through nose with our mouth open and our tongue resting on the roof of our mouth slightly behind our teeth.
However, you can find that it becomes tiring to just keep track of your breathing intake or even to breathe in and out in a certain pattern for so long especially when running the marathon distance.
Switch it up between breathing in through your nose, out through your mouth, or in and out from your mouth.
Truly it comes down to proper posture, running form and breathing in the way that's most comfortable for you.
Breathing in the cold air is what gives you that "sore throat" feeling during and after a run.
Therefore, when you are running in cold weather it is best to always breathe in through your nose to warm the air before it hits your lungs.
Breathing in through your mouth will cause that soreness in your throat area since you are breathing in cold air, sometimes even sub-freezing air!
This will really require you to
breathe in and out through your belly but it will increase your running
economy and efficiency!
Exhaling all of your CO2 (carbon dioxide) out becomes even more important when you are running at faster speeds or doing hill or speed training.
If you are a beginner runner looking for more tips then I have 72 beginner running tips right here for you!
I'll send you my free 24 Hour Timeline Checklist of Things You Should Do After a Long Run when you sign up!
How to Breathe While Running: Running Tips and Breathing Technique to Run Faster. Vo2maxProductions, 26 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
Optimal Breathing. Perf. Jack Daniels. The Run SMART Project. The Run SMART Project, 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
Running Technique - Breathing Part 1: How to Run
without Losing Your Breath. Perf. Will
Wragg. Running Injury Free Revolution. N.p., 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.