As a new runner, you probably haven’t given much thought to how to improve your breathing while running. After all, who should be taught to breathe? However, as you progress, you will undoubtedly begin to worry about how to improve techniques to increase performance.
Understanding the best breathing technique while running is one way to achieve better results in your runs. Most runners could benefit from learning breathing techniques.
This article describes how to breathe while running to increase your running performance.
How to breathe when running?
Here are some tips on how to improve your breathing while running so that you can control your breathing and ensure you have a great run every time:
- Become an abdominal breather
Most people breathe through the chest. This is not the best way to maximize your oxygen consumption. Do you tend to take shallow breaths when you feel tired?
Abdominal breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a technique that allows you to maximize oxygen consumption while running.
The key to this technique is learning to feel the diaphragm and creating more space in the chest cavity. This allows the lungs to expand to take in more oxygen fully.
Abdominal or belly breathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the muscles and prevents muscle fatigue for longer.
In addition, we are breathing in this way while running can have other benefits. Many studies have confirmed that abdominal breathing has a calming effect, which can improve concentration and mental strength. (3,4,5)
An easy way to practice deep belly breathing is to lie on the floor and place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest. Breathe normally and see which area rises first. Practice breathing deeply into your belly first, then bring your breath to your chest as you exhale. This is the same technique as doing hypopressive crunches.
- Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth
Inhaling and exhaling through your mouth alone can have a hyperventilating effect, while inhaling and exhaling through your nose alone will not provide enough oxygen in the race. The best way to breathe while running is to inhale with your nose and exhale with your mouth.
Breathing through both your mouth and your nose will keep your breathing steady and activate your diaphragm to improve maximum breathing capacity.
Practice breathing through your nose and mouth throughout the day. While it may be difficult at first, once you have mastered the technique, you will notice the results when running.
- Learn breathing patterns
Learning the proper breathing pattern to match your run can help prevent those lingering injuries and increase your running performance.
Rhythmic breathing, also called cadence breathing, is based on the number of steps you take as you inhale and exhale. Like most runners, you have a natural tendency to have an even number of foot strokes for each inhale and exhale.
For example, if you know that you have a 2: 2 breathing pattern, you will surely inhale and exhale every other step. This consistent breathing pattern can be counterproductive because the exhale is always on the same foot.
Try to focus on a breathing pattern that alternates from one foot to another. For example, a 2: 1 breathing pattern where you inhale for two steps and exhale for one is ideal for running. This alternating pattern will increase your core stability and reduce your risk of injury. (5)
Abdominal pain when running?
You are not alone if you frequently get side stitches in your runs. According to one study, 70 percent of runners report experiencing this throbbing pain.
Although the exact cause of side stitches is still uncertain, it is known to occur when the diaphragm muscle begins to cramp. Considering how the diaphragm muscle is so essential when breathing, it stands to reason that improper breathing can cause abdominal pain.
Side stitches seem to occur more frequently in new runners, supporting this theory. Warming up the diaphragm before taking off at your usual rate can reduce the chances of developing this annoying side stitch. First, start by practicing your diaphragmatic breathing technique to relax the muscle.
Then start slowly and focus on maintaining your breathing technique. Gradually increase your running speed to give your diaphragm time to adjust to more difficult breathing. This will warm up your entire body and allow you to run without stitches.