28 April 2019

How to improve breathing while running

Do you want to improve your performance while running? Your breath could very well be the piece that could drastically improve your performance. If you learn a few techniques geared towards improving breathing during running, you can have a great run every time and even reduce your chance at getting common injuries.

How to improve breathing while running

Before your run

Focus on your respiratory system

If you focus on your respiratory system before heading out for a run and start out with some deep breathing techniques, you can reduce unnecessary stress on your diaphragm. It will give your diaphragm the chance to start working and adjust to the pace of your breath. You’ll feel your entire body will warm up as you practice the breathing exercises.

Bonus: This will help to reduce your chance of side stitches.

How to:

Start by relaxing your diaphragm muscle. Then take a deep breath and feel it move throughout your body. Slowly exhale. Increase your speed and take your next breath. Repeat.

Practice before your run and incorporate during

Maximize your oxygen intake

As you run, you want to maximize your oxygen intake. By taking shallow breaths, which is quite common as most people are focused on their form or just simply focused on moving forward, you will not be able to run for as long and you won’t feel as good while you do it. Taking shallow breaths likely means that you are breathing through your chest.

Instead, to maximize your oxygen intake, you want to breathe through your belly. Have you ever heard someone tell you to feel your breath all the way to your belly and expand your lungs? That is belly breathing. Belly breathing is often referred to as diaphragmatic breathing, as it creates space in your chest cavity.

When it comes to how to improve breathing during running, you will feel a significant improvement (and not be so tired afterwards!) by using this technique.

Note: once you get the hang of breathing through your belly, it will be more natural to incorporate it into your breath while running.

How to:

Start by lying down and relaxing your body. Take a deep breath and bring it all the way to your belly. As you exhale, bring your breath up into your chest. Repeat.

You will feel the rise and fall of both your belly and chest.

What not to do

  • Don’t worry about how many breaths to take per steps. There isn’t a specific calculation for this and how to improve breathing while running overall is not a one size fits all. Breathe when it feels natural to breathe!
  • Don’t give up at the beginning, even if you find catching your breath to be near impossible even though you are using breathing techniques! Everyone has to start somewhere and it will take a bit to condition yourself. Having difficulty with your breath when you’re just starting to run is more on the side of getting in running shape than anything else.
  • Be so focused on your breathing that you ignore other signals your body is giving you. If your mouth is dry, for example, focus on hydration and stop for some water!

Improving breathing during running is something that takes practice, but it is well worth taking the time to do so. Your body and mind will only benefit from being more in sync with your breath as you run, and your body will thank you for it!

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