The key to becoming an advanced runner is finding the right breathing pattern. The reason that the woman on the treadmill next to you can run for five miles but breathe like she’s standing still is because she knows how to breathe. It takes practice at first, but when you’ve mastered it, breathing while running will become second nature. Learning how to breathe correctly while running will help to prevent those annoying side stitches, get more oxygen into your bloodstream and increase lung capacity and endurance. Follow these breathing tips and your runs will becomes less labored and more enjoyable.
5 Breathing Tips For Runners
- Belly Breathing: If you’re not breathing deeply enough, your running will feel labored, and you may get side stitches. To determine whether you’re breathing deeply enough, hold your hand over your stomach; if your stomach is expanding, that means you’re utilizing your diaphragm and breathing deeply enough.
- Make Room for Oxygen: Many people think they’re doing a good job of breathing while running, but they’re not exhaling long enough. Once you get up to a steady pace, try breathing in for three full seconds and then breathing out for three seconds. When you empty your lungs, you make more room for new oxygen. When you start you may have to count during your inhales and exhales, but it will come naturally eventually.
- Start Slow: When you’re learning a comfortable breathing pattern, start slow. Begin by walking and focus on your breathing. Make sure your stomach is expanding. Then move to jogging and continue to focus on your breathing. Lastly try some running. Every time you progress it will get harder, but you can do it!
- Stand Up Straight: Sometimes when you’re exercising, you feel like bending over or curling up, but don’t do it. You should keep your spine straight and your head aligned with your spine. Relax your shoulders and focus. When you lean over or lack good posture you actually reduce the amount of air that can get into your lungs.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Leave Your Mouth Open: If you‘ve heard “breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth,” you’re not alone. Although some runners will argue that they like nose breathing because it warms the air before it gets to the lungs, the general consensus among runners and studies is that you should breathe in through your mouth to get more air in at one time.
The breathing tips above should help you to enjoy your runs a little more…or hate them less, whichever way you want to look at it. A note: If you feel like your lungs are simply tight, and you cannot seem to get enough air in them while exercising, you may have sports-induced asthma. Please see your doctor!