Breathing Tips - How Runners Should Breathe for Comfort and Success
Before we get to the
breathing tips and techniques, I first want to focus on 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"
So, Why Focus on Breathing?
you from feeling out of breath. It's not good if you feel like you can't quite
catch your breath. Hopefully you can change this by employing one of the
following stride rate breathing patterns and the following breathing tips!
Bringing in more oxygen into
your body will ultimately help you to stay in your aerobic zone. When you
are performing long distance runs such as half and full marathons you want
to at the very least be able to finish your race. 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.
Breathing properly reduces
the stress placed on your body and keeps you more relaxed and calm.
You can run longer!
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
How is breathing technique developed?
Most coaches will
look at how much air you move in and out of your lungs.
Volume (size of breath) x frequency = How much air you move in and out of your
two factors (tidal volume and frequency) 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.
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.
Proper Breathing Tips & Techniques for Different Paces & Workouts
Your pace 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.
speedwork, hill training, tempo runs etc: use a 2-2 (2 steps breathe in, 2 steps breathe out) breathing pattern. 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
marathons, long runs, easy runs, and recovery runs: use a 3-3 breathing
pattern. Keeping your breathing rate down will help you to stay in that aerobic
zone, increase your endurance capacity
and push back fatigue. At this breathing rate you should be able to carry on a
The number one of all the breathing tips is to
remember is to breathe DEEPLY - focus on breathing through your belly 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. So do a posture check every once in awhile.
It is most natural for us to
breathe in through our nose and out through nose with 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.
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!
Focus on exhaling to make
sure you are getting all of your carbon dioxide (CO2) out. This will really require you to
breathe in and out through your belly but it will increase your running
economy! Exhaling your CO2 out becomes even more important when you are
running at faster speeds or doing hill or speed training.
Proper Posture Breathing Tips
your upper body straight and tall.
sure to keep your shoulders back and not rounded.
out straight in front of you. Notice when you are looking downwards you tend to
automatically round your shoulders.
your chest LIFTED. Think tall!
your neck long and don't keep your chin to your chest.
*Disclaimer: While the information on this site is taken mostly from research journals and scientifically based texts it is not meant to replace a doctor or medical professional.