How To Breathe When Running

Nov 8, 2011   //   by James Dunne   //   Blog  //  1 Comment

One question I frequently get asked by those relatively new to running involves breathing patterns. They usually want to know how to breathe when running. Often new runners complain of difficulty breathing when running, getting short of breath long before they feel significantly fatigued on a muscular level.

Thankfully, as with all other elements of running technique, there are cues you can use to help you learn how to breathe when running, making it more comfortable as you maintain airflow.

  • Use Your Nose and Mouth: People often get given conflicting advice here. The most effective strategy to use is that which maximises the potential for oxygen intake. Breathe through your nose and mouth together to take in the maximal amount of air per breath.
  • Find A Rhythm: When running within your comfort zone, try to breathe using a 2:2 rhythm (inhaling for 2 strides : exhaling for 2 strides). You should be able to maintain this for a steady pace. If you want to run faster, it might help to move to a 2:1 rhythm (inhaling for 2 strides : exhaling for 1 stride). You will learn to regulate and maintain your breathing pattern by lining it to your stride pattern. Thus avoiding hyperventilation.
  • Take Full Breaths: To enable your body to take in full breaths of air and therefore absorb maximum amounts of oxygen, learn to breathe from your diaphragm, breathing from your belly instead of feeling your chest rise and fall.
  • Maintain Good Posture:To enable your lugs to fill to a reasonable capacity, you must maintain a good posture. Don’t allow yourself to slump forwards as you fatigue – this will in effect reduce the space your lungs can operate in and therefore restrict your breathing… adding to your fatigue. Our six week running technique program shows you the best ways to maintain proper running posture.

Try using these running tips and you will successfully teach your body how to breathe when running.

About The Author

James has an academic background in Sport Rehabilitation and a special interest in Applied Biomechanics. He currently coaches a large number of Runners and Triathletes across all levels of ability and performance. He's grown a strong reputation for enabling athletes to improve their running performance and overcome running injuries through improving their Running Technique and developing Running Specific Strength.


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