How to Breathe When Running
Lately, I’ve been running more since the lockdown. Usually pushing for 4 interval runs and 2 recovery runs per week since I don’t have access to heavyweights at the gym. At first, I didn’t like it – struggling to just convince myself that at least I’m staying active.
Then, I reminded myself that if I want my Spartan Trifecta medal, I need to increase my endurance levels and to complete the Spartan Beast, I better be increasing my mileage.
Around the 3rd or 4th time day of my runs, I noticed that my body has started to adapt better to the intensity of the training and breathing properly during my runs play a big part. Developing a great breathing rhythm help me get the oxygen I need to complete the run and also increase the speed of my pace.
Tapping into my background in marathon running several years ago definitely help. I noticed that the breathing cadence changed based on my interval pace. For example, breathing at a pace of 1 min run to 1 min walk is different from 3 mins run to 30 secs walk. However, no matter what the pace is, there are basic tips to consider on how to breathe properly during a run:
Use BOTH Mouth and Nose
At first, it’s not something I thought about when I first started running but breathing using only my mouth felt like I was hyperventilating and only using my nose wasn’t getting enough oxygen in. One of the things I’ve found helpful is to actually use both my mouth and nose when running.
Breathing steadily with both my mouth and nose help engage my diaphram to get the most amount of air I needed for the runs. It also help get exhale more carbon monoxide out of my system efficiently.
Breathe Through the Belly
When I first got started running again, my breaths are shallow and I felt tired easily. Then, I realized it’s because I’ve been breathing through my chest instead of my belly. This isn’t the best way to breathe when running.
Belly breathing (a.k.a. diaphragmatic breathing) is a way to get as much air when running by using the diaphragm to create more space in the chest cavity to allow the lungs to take in more oxygen.
This helps bring oxygen into the muscles to help decrease fatigue. Research shows that belly breathing also help with calmness, focus, and mental fortitude. Who wouldn’t want that?!
It’s not easy to be running and try to do this technique at the same time when first starting out. So, one of the easiest way to practice this is by lying on the floor with one hand on the belly and another on the chest.
After taking a normal breath, I noticed which one is rising first – is it the belly or the chest? I have to practice breathing deep into my belly first and then moving up the breath up to my chest when exhaling.