Ever set out on a run, happily begin ‘“pounding the pavement,” then find yourself gasping for breath a few minutes down the road? Do you feel as though your legs are strong enough but for some reason, your breath can’t keep up?
At first--especially for those that are new to the sport--this out-of-breath feeling may be discouraging. However, the reality is, breathing uses a muscle that needs to be trained, just as much as your legs. To maximize performance, runners at all levels need to practice breathing techniques as well as tune into their breath with every step. In efforts to help you become an efficient runner, let’s take a look at some important breathing practices.
Why Breath Matters
With every breath, the oxygen that we take in powers our blood and energy output. As activity levels increase, our bodies begin to work extra hard, which triggers more oxygen intake and carbon dioxide build-up. This action results in the respiratory system focusing on build-up removal with rapid, shorter breaths. And, it is these shorter breaths with less oxygen that cause the feeling of breathlessness.
Luckily, the good news is, with time, practice, and some tips--on top of finding a pace that suits your physical fitness level--anyone can learn to leave breathlessness in the dust.
1. Nose and Mouth
After finding the nose and mouth combination, start practicing breathing rhythm patterns. Commonly 2:2, 2:3, 3:3, 4:4, 4:3, or 3:2, these rhythm patterns focus on breath and pace. For example, breath in for two inhales and 2 steps, then out for 2 exhales and 2 steps while running a 30-second hill sprint.
Not something that runners should just jump into practicing, many people begin rhythms while walking. Then, when comfortable, start running, and practice for 1 minute every mile. While rhythms may help you pay attention to breath and oxygen intake, they will also help control pace. Again to find what works best for you, practice each for a few weeks.
Breathing in the cheat instead of the diaphragm is one of the biggest reasons for feeling out of breath. With deeper breaths, more oxygen is delivered to the body, which--as we discussed above--results in more energy output. Filling the belly with air will ensure each breath is deep and efficient.
4. Lay Down and Practice
Something you may not first think about when running, the position of your body plays a big role in the efficiency of breath. Having a solid, straight posture with the head in line with the spine, will enhance air intake. Be sure to relax the shoulders away from the ears and stop slouching forward.
Slowly Yet Surely
As running longer and longer distances doesn’t happen overnight, neither does developing proper breathing techniques. Focus on your goal, slowly adapt each practice, and calmly reach your full performance level.
To help you run with confidence and focus, Crazy Compression is always here to take the stress away. With less attention on your running gear or the impact on your feet, you will have an easier time controlling every breath.