BREATHING. It’s a vital part of your Running Form. Get it right.
So much is being throw around about this topic – everyone’s got an opinion. The misinformation is piling up so fast runners don’t know where to start.
The biggest of them all: the Nose or Mouth debate.
Let’s get that one settled once and for all: BREATH THROUGH YOUR MOUTH. When running, your muscles need oxygen. A lot. As fast as they can get it. That’s why – even though your nose might assist just a little bit at times – your body needs the biggest opening it’s got to do just that. Simples.
Another easy winner: belly breathing over chest breathing. Get as much air in as possible by pulling that diaphragm down.
Now that we got those two out of the way we’ll dig deeper and make it practical.
Training your breathing muscles
Just as we strength train our hips or hamstrings to improve our leg strength, we can strengthen the muscles used for breathing.
In fact, researchers at the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunel University in England demonstrated a direct link between the strength of your diaphragm and fatigue during the marathon.
The easiest way to start is by lying on the ground. While lying on your back, breathe deeply so your belly rises with your chest as you inhale, and lowers while you exhale. Continue to practice this while lying down until you feel confident to move upright. ……….
Your exact breathing rhythm will depend on how hard or easy you are running and/or the intended intensity of your workout.
Breathing rhythms refer to the number of foot steps you take with each foot while breathing in or out.
For example, a 2:2 rhythm would mean you take two steps (one with your right foot and one with the left) while breathing in and two steps (again, one with your right foot and one with your left) while breathing out.
Typically, you’ll find that a 3:3 rhythm (three steps – one with your left, one with your right, one with your left – while breathing in) works best for warm-ups and most easy paced days. This allows plenty of oxygen to be inhaled through the lungs, processed, and then exhaled with relative ease.
Don’t try to force yourself into a 3:3 breathing rhythm on an easy day if it isn’t feeling comfortable. Remember, the purpose of an easy day is to keep your effort comfortable and to help the body recover. If a 2:2 rhythm (described below) is more comfortable, go with it.
Breathing slower than a 3:3 rhythm is not advised because you’re not giving your body enough time to clear carbon dioxide. The average runner should take about 180 steps per minute (some a little less, others a little more), which means you take 90 steps with each foot in a one minute span. A 3:3 rhythm enables you to take about 30 breaths per minute, ample time to process carbon dioxide while still getting in the oxygen you need.
How to BREATH on those Moderately and Hard paced runs – and the hills! – Cont’d on the next page!