Breathing the right way is a crucial component of effective exercise, especially when running or doing other cardiovascular exercises. Proper breathing does not come easy to most runners, beginners or not. In order to breathe properly while running, you need to put conscious effort into the process, otherwise your breathing pattern won’t improve much and your performance will suffer greatly.
Proper breathing has too many benefits. For starters, you ensure the constant delivery of oxygen into your body and working muscles. Oxygen is the key to life, and performance. Without it, expect discomfort, pain and premature fatigue even with the slightest efforts. In addition, correct breathing helps you get rid of excess carbon dioxide, and thus lessens fatigue and discomfort when exercising. As a result, if you want to learn how to breathe properly when running, here are 4 breathing guidelines that can help:
Breathe In Through The Nose
Simple enough, yet most runners overlook the effectiveness of nose breathing. Inhaling through the nose allows you to set the pace and get into a rhythm. In addition, it stabilizes your heart rate and makes you more focused. If you’re a beginner, it will help you keep the intensity on the low end.
However, once you reach a certain intensity, inhaling solely from the nose may prove difficult. For that, make sure to breathe in from the nose with some assistance from your mouth. Just keep the intensity under control and stay within your fitness level. If you’re grasping for a breath each step of the way, then you’re probably doing too much and may risk injury or overtraining. Make sure to exhale through the mouth as this breathing pattern promotes relaxation and fights off fatigue.
Most runners are chest breathers. This isn’t the best way to breathe when running. In fact, it will only leave you fatigued and disappointed. Instead, the better way is deep breathing. This type of breathing ensures the constant delivery of oxygen into your working muscles, thus allowing for maximum performance and effectiveness. Furthermore, deep breathing promotes a sense of relaxation and fights off fatigue, which are very crucial to increasing performance and staying in the injury free zone.
As a result, make sure to breathe down from your belly and diaphragm. Fill your lungs with as much oxygen as possible and exhale slowly. Keep contracting your diaphragm and core muscles with each breath you take. On the inhale, imagine as if your belly fills up like a balloon, and that balloon deflates every time you exhale.
At first, this may sound difficult, but as the training progresses forward, you will build the habit of deep breathing and it will become instinctive and automatic.
Synchronizing your breathing pattern with your body movement will help you get the most out of your running workout. This is what is known as Cadence Breathing. And it’s the way to go if you want to use breathing as a training tool to boost your performance, increase running speed and energy economy, and decrease the likelihood of discomfort and injuries. Nevertheless, mastering cadence breathing is no easy task, it requires some effort and constant practice.
The best cadence breathing technique for a beginner is the 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio. You fully breathe in on your right-left strides and breathe out fully on the following left-right strides. Nevertheless, don’t follow this pattern verbatim, instead let your breath dictate your pace and cadence ratio. No suit fits all. Find what works best for you and stick with it.
There you have it! The above breathing guidelines are key to improving athletic performance and excellent health. Nonetheless, knowledge is just potential power so you need to take action and readjust your approach accordingly. Therefore, make sure to put into practice what you’ve just learned and always stay within your fitness level.