How Should I Breathe When I Run?
One of the most important details of running is proper breathing. If you can control your breathing, you can run faster, further and all with less effort. Proper breathing technique ensures a constant and consistent supply of oxygen to your working muscles.
Reduced oxygen causes reduced performance. It’s natural to run out of breath as you are running. Running is an “aerobic” exercise, your muscles require oxygen to continue working, slow the supply of oxygen and slow the muscle movement, speed up the leg movement and your body will need to increase your oxygen supply to meet the new demand. Your breathing rate rapidly increases as does your heart rate in order to carry more oxygenated blood to all parts of your body.
As a beginner, try to maintain a pace that ensures proper breathing. A good rule of thumb, run at a pace that you can still carry on a conversation with a fellow runner. If you find that you cannot maintain a conversation while you run, slow down until you can.
Your body needs deep inhalations in order to get oxygen deep into the lungs where it can be transpired (processed/transferred) from the alveoli into the bloodstream. Breathing rapidly doesn’t allow you to get the oxygen you need, as rapid breathing often causes shallow breathing.
Breathing properly involves any kind of breathing pattern that works well for you. Despite what you might hear from “experts” breathing through your mouth is better than through your nose as it takes in more oxygen, while releasing carbon dioxide. Breathing through your mouth relaxes your facial muscles allowing your jaw to relax, reducing tension.
Breathe short and shallow or long and deeply, but you should be comfortable in your breathing pattern. The rhythm or pace of your breathing is also important. Try to maintain a steady rate of inhaling and exhaling regardless of what speed you run.
Find your own unique natural breathing pattern. Listen to your breathing, if you find that you are breathing too hard, you are running too fast for your current training condition. Slow down and adjust your running to your comfort level. Practice by slowing down your breathing as you run at a slower pace then gradually pick up the speed and employ faster strides to challenge yourself.
You can find your natural breathing pattern by counting the number of steps you run in a breath. It will generally be either two steps or three steps. Focus on maintaining a regular breathing pattern and rate whatever your pattern is and pay attention to your steps to inhalation and exhalation rates and other intervals to help you monitor your breathing.