Breathing properly is important for running

August 30, 2013

Running, whether outdoors or on a home treadmill, requires proper breathing technique for endurance and pacing to successfully finish however many miles you’ve planned that day. If you’re training for a 5k, 8k, 15k or even a marathon, employing the proper breathing techniques will ensure that you have a great run and don’t end up out of breath after only a few minutes.

How should you breathe while running?
Breathing during running is different from everyday breathing. Day to day during normal activities, breathing is a subconscious activity your body performs continuously for living. When you’re running on a True M30 Home Treadmill or performing other strenuous cardio activities, you need to breathe differently because your body requires more oxygen.

Breathe on a rhythm using your stomach
A great way to breathe when running long distances is belly breathing. Focusing on breathing from your stomach rather than your chest adds power to each breath. Your stomach should rise as fall similarly to how your chest does. Belly breathing is the most efficient way to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide, allowing you to take in more oxygen. Belly breathing also allows you to take bigger, deeper breaths each time. To practice belly breathing, place your hand on your stomach to make sure it’s rising and falling.

Altering the rhythm at which your breathe can be helpful as well, especially if you’re running long distances. You want to take long, deep breaths to allow for maximum oxygen intake. Breathing rhythm can be based off of the steps you take. For example, a two-to-two means you breathe in for two steps and out for two steps. With three-to-two, you breathe in for three steps and out for two. Finding the right breathing rhythm will save you from running out of breath and being unable to finish the day’s workout. Listening to music can help you set a rhythm because you can follow the beats. As you get further into the run and become more tired, it’s important to exhale as much carbon dioxide as you can each time. When breathing becomes more challenging, you might want to switch up the rhythm and lengthen the amount of steps you take while you exhale. You can lengthen it out to four-to-four to keep the pattern even or mix it up with four-to-six to fully expel the carbon dioxide with each exhale.

Use your mouth in well ventilated areas
Breathing through your mouth as opposed to your nose allows you to inhale and exhale oxygen at a higher volume. It also helps keep your jaw loose and relaxed. Tensing up face muscles can expend extra, unnecessary energy, so it’s important to stay calm while running.

The space you run in can also affect your breathing. If an outdoor area is full of smoke, smoke or pollution it will be much more difficult to breathe properly. Running indoors on your home fitness equipment ensures that you are in a proper environment for good breathing.

During running, breathing should never sound loud and labored. If you are able to hear you breathing, slow your pace a little bit and focus on belly breathing and rhythm. Breathing becomes more of a challenge when you are going uphill or doing sprints.

Practice makes perfect
As with all things, proper breathing while running takes practice. Eventually it will become second nature and you won’t have to consciously think about it each time you lace up your running shoes. When getting started though, you can practice your breathing during each run as well as when you’re sitting or laying down. This helps make sure you’re achieving belly breathing, and you can practice rhythm while walking to see what it feels like.