How To Breathe When Running
By Jago Holmes
When we look at the question how to breathe when running, we need to consider the role of the air that we breathe in and what its main purpose is.
One of the main purposes of breathing is to supply the working muscles with freshly oxygenated blood to allow the muscles to contract continuously.
The extent to which this happens will vary depending on the intensity of the exercise that is being participated in. Situations such as running in low temperatures and running very fast will have a bearing on the way you need to breathe.
One thing you must concentrate on doing is to breathe as deeply as possible because this fills the lungs as fully as possible. Think about breathing down to the depths of your belly so that you can feel your tummy rise and fall with each breath, not only your chest.
The most effective way of breathing when running is to use your mouth and nose at the same time as this helps you to take in the largest amount of oxygen and expel the greatest amount of carbon dioxide.
However this isn’t always practical as the nose can be blocked due to allergies or simply a head cold, so you might have no option but to breathe only through the mouth.
You should aim to get in to a rhythm with your breathing as this ensures that you’ll take in as much air as possible consistently. This helps to avoid panting or taking shallow breaths, neither of which are efficient ways of supplying oxygen to the muscles and organs of the body.
Adopting a slow pattern of breathing also helps to keep the heart rate as low as possible.
When you’re running a steady session, a good breathing test is that you should still be able to hold a conversation comfortably. Obviously for more intense training such as interval training or sprinting, there will be times when you simply can’t breathe this way and you’ll find that you tend to pant in an attempt to get in more oxygen. This is normal, just try to slow down your breathing rate as soon as you can.
At times when you feel yourself getting breathless, it can help to focus on breathing in deeply through the nose. This is quite the opposite of the normal way of breathing when running, but the purpose here is to slow down the breathing rate and take in deeper breaths.
Another time that you should breathe in through the nose is during cold weather. The reason for this is that the nose filters and warms the air more efficiently than simply breathing in straight through the mouth.
Knowing how to breathe when running is a big benefit, but it won’t ruin your attempts to run if you don’t get it exactly right straight away. As you progress and run further and faster then you will see a big difference in your performance. But as a beginner just understand what you’re trying to do and why and start slowing your breathing rate down as much as possible and take in as much air in as you can with each breath.
Here’s a summary of exactly how to breathe when running: –
Take deep belly breaths
Breathe in through your nose and mouth
Breathe out through your mouth
Focus on creating a breathing pattern
Slow down your breathing rate as much as possible
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