I’ve been struggling immensely with breathing while running. It’s like my brain has instant memory loss and cannot remember a single thing it is supposed to be doing. I had a moment of clarity while swimming yesterday. (Some of my deepest thoughts happen in a pool.) If I can do rhythmic breathing while swimming why couldn’t I apply that to my running? Apparently, I was pretty close to home base with this one. I went home last night and researched several articles on breathing while running. I’m forever craving the written word to validate my random musings. I found some great articles and tips I thought I’d share.
In a great article, How To Breathe When Running, posted on the CompleteRunner blog network by Mark Iocchelli, he gives these tips for keeping your breathing even.
- Try slowing down before attempting to change your breathing.
- Focus on longer, deeper breaths.
- Breath more from your diaphragm (belly) than your chest (chest breathing is more shallow).
- Focus on exhaling more fully. This will remove more CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and allow for deeper inhalations of O2 (Oxygen).
- Allow air to enter through both the nose and mouth. This will allow for maximum O2 intake.
- Aim to take three footsteps for every inhale, and two footsteps for every exhale (3:2 ratio). A good descriptions of this can be found on Military.com:
Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you INHALE on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and EXHALE fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK. But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio.
For those wanting more explanation about step to breath ratios, another article – based on the Daniel’s Running Formula – can be found at this link on proper breathing while running
- One last thing – try not to over-think your breathing! It’s best to try to slow down, relax, and let yourself fall into your body’s natural rhythm.
Following these tips should make breathing easier, and your runs more enjoyable.
So today I headed out for my run at lunch..what else do you do with an hour lunch break? I wanted to see if applying the 3:2 ratio would help and I was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t cramp the first time and I noticed I didn’t run out of breath as quickly as usual. It is a little difficult to think about breathing, running, and your surroundings all at the same time. I found myself running longer intervals and my side was cramp free..halllellluyerrrrr. I think tomorrow I’ll try it on a treadmill so I won’t have to be concerned with traffic and weird vans on my running route.
For you audio/visual learners….. How to Breathe When Running
Hope this helps!
XOXO ~ Lemon Raindrop