Whether you're running on the road or exploring new running trails in your running shoes, it's crucial to ensure that you're breathing properly. While this may seem obvious, there's a significant difference between huffing and puffing and effective breathing techniques while running. Mastering proper breathing techniques can greatly impact your cardiovascular health and improve your running performance.
It is likely that in your life you have laced up yourroad running shoes, headed out for a run, gone halfway around the block and experienced that out-of-breath hyperventilating that is so often associated with high-intensity exercise. That is exactly the kind of breathing you want to avoid. It is uncomfortable, to say the least. But it also isn’t helping your running.
Rather than pushing yourself to hyperventilation, focus on breathing deeply. It is not enough to trust that your body knows how to breathe, you need to spend time developing the skills to breathe deep into your diaphragm. This allows your lungs to expand more fully and absorb more oxygen with each breath. This not only helps you take in more air, but it also helps improve your lung capacity.
Ultimately, learning to breathe deeply into your belly can help you slow down both your breath rate and your heart rate when running.
Breathe in through the nose, out through your mouth?
We aren’t trying to tame a toddler’s temper tantrum, and ultimately whether you breathe through your nose or your mouth is a matter of personal preference. Even with that said, many runners switch between nose breathing, mouth breathing and combination breathing depending on a particular day and run or even the point in the run (think about that treacherous uphill).
What is important is that you focus on your breathing. Being in control of your breathing pattern is vital to helping youimprove your fitness and running capability.
Many experienced runners will talk about breathing rhythmically which is a powerful breath tool for any runner.
Breathe to the Rhythm
Whether it is 4:4, 6:6 or 3:2, matching your breath pattern to the rhythm of your foot strikes helps you regulate your breathing andimprove your running pace. Naturally, as you run your body experiences stress. By practising mindful (rhythmic) breathing during your run, you are able to distribute the stress evenly across both sides of your body, particularly when using an odd breathing pattern e.g. 3:2 rather than an even one.
What this means is that you breathe in for three-foot strikes, and then out for two. This way you aren’t exhaling on the same foot every time.
Rhythmic breathing while running is also a part of being more mindful of your body, breathing and even your heart rate when you run. It is a skill that you can spend time developing. The best way to start is to try. Try out different rhythms and breathing patterns to figure out what works best for you.
It is important to note that not every breathing pattern will suit every runner or every run. When you are running sprints or hills, it is important to adjust your breathing rhythm to ensure you are not hyperventilating.
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