When running, a constant rhythmic breathing pattern is necessary for a successful workout. Whether running for a short or long distance, inhaling and exhaling should come and go at a constant rate. As your workout becomes more difficult, the rate of breathing increases. Here are five tips to learn and remember when running and breathing.
1. Diaphragm Control-Realize that your diaphragm controls your breathing and you control your diaphragm. Here are some breathing exercises you can practice outside of your work out. Applying these breathing practices will help you to focus and control breathing while working hard.“Belly Breathing”
2. Rhythm– Runner expert and author of Daniel’s Running Formula, Jack Daniels, says elite runners use a 2-2 rhythm: inhaling every 2 steps, exhaling every two steps, using a 3-3 for a slower pace. This is called a cadence. While this works for some, others find they get side-stitch. If you find yourself getting side aches, try a cadence of 3-2 or 4-3 breathing pattern.
3. Mouth vs. Nose– Many runners, including myself, have been told to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. While running you should be using both nose AND mouth. It’s the body’s inability to extract enough oxygen to meet increased demands that causes you to feel out of breath. Using both nose and mouth allows for a runner to get the maximum amount of oxygen because the nose limits the volume of air reaching your lungs. Breathing through the mouth will cause facial muscle to relax creating a more relaxed composure.
4. Breathing to Music- Since many of us like the distraction of music while we run, try to regulate breathing with the tempo of the song. While it can be successful, a large problem is that breathing changes with each song. As long as you keep a pattern during the whole song, it shouldn’t cause too great of an affect. Use the beat as a cadence to get the rhythm constant. Practice breathing to some songs right now with Hendrix, The Doors, or Snoop Dogg.
5. Listen to your breathing-A good way to check breathing while running is to listen. If you find yourself breathing heavily at a moderate pace, you are going too fast. Pay attention to the rate and depth of your breath. Keep breaths deep to maximize the amount oxygen flow through the body. Breathing too shallow can result in hyperventilation, cramping and side-stitches.
Tim Borland, marathon and ultra marathon runner/trainer talks about breathing while running in this livestrong video.