How to Breathe Properly while Running

Hi Runner !

It’s been a month since we started our running journey together and every week we are discovering new things about running.
As much as it seems like a natural thing to do, running does require techniques and practice: you learn how to become more efficient and to improve your performance.

One of the first struggles for a runner is Breathing.

How should I breathe? From the nose? From the mouth? Or both?
Through the chest? Through my belly? Is there a breathing pattern?

If you are wondering then this article is for you.

– Breathing starts with having a good posture while running: your body should be straight – not collapsing – you should be able to open your chest and breathe with relative ease.

Scan you body from head to toes: Imagine that you are being pulled with a string from the top of your head.

Every now and then during your run, make sure to adjust your posture and to scan your body.

Relax your face, your tongue and your shoulders. Otherwise you are creating unnecessary stress that will just lead you to reach fatigue faster, so relax!

Keep your face muscles relaxed with a nice smile on your face, your tongue down and your shoulders back and opened far from your ears.

Breath through your belly to maximize your oxygen intake while you are running. It’s also called the diaphragmatic breathing, you want your lungs to expand fully to take in more oxygen and to exhale as much as you can.

New runners tend to breathe through the chest which blocks the diaphragm from expanding and leading to what you call : short breath or out of breath kind of experience.

To avoid this, start practicing this breathing technique before even taking it to the run :
1- Lay down or stand up straight
2- Put one hand on your belly and another on your chest
3- Inhale and check which hand go up first (you want the belly to be expanded first and then the chest)
4- Exhale and check which hand go down first (you want the belly to get in first and then the chest)

If you are the kind to breathe through your chest then this is a very good practice for you to switch and start your belly breathing exercise.
If you are already a belly breather then this is a good practice to relax.

Nose, Mouth or Both : It all depends on your efforts.
If you are running a comfortable slow run, breathing from your nose will be your best option.
If you feel like you are adding more efforts and the run is requiring more oxygen intake then it is best to inhale and exhale through both your nose and mouth combined. This will keep your breathing steady and engage your diaphragm for a maximum oxygen intake.
If you are sprinting and here you are at you maximum effort then breathe fully from your mouth.

Breathing Patterns are generally the amount of breaths you take in parallel with the steps you make.
A 2:2 breathing pattern means you inhale every 2 steps and you exhale every 2 steps.
It’s generally better to alternate your exhales so you don’t get to exhale every time on the same foot so adapting a 2:1 breathing pattern is actually more efficient; you inhale every 2 steps and exhale for 1 step.

Remember we are all runners but yet we are all different, you get to experience which better pattern suits you and might invent one that is totally just for you.

– Last but not least: Practice makes it better.
Your breathing will gradually become better and better after each run, your endurance will improve, so your performance.
Practice, practice and practice; it will never be enough to practice, so just do it!

Every time you need to exhale remember me saying:
smile and relax.

One thing is for sure: better breathing will lead to a happier run, a better performance and a healthier mind & body!

Now take a deep breath and let’s go Run!

Drop a comment if you have any questions and leave a thumbs up 👍 if this article was useful.

You can always message me via my Instagram account (@lr.t_).

See you next Tuesday !

– L.

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