How to breathe better while running

Your breathing is an incredible training tool (Picture: Getty)

Breathing is always important. Vital, even. But when we exercise, we tend to focus much more on the process.

The way we breathe when running can make a big difference. If you ever found yourself breathless or clutching your chest after sprinting down a big hill – you’re not alone. But change the way we breathe and increasing our awareness of our breathing can help us become better runners.

Physically exercising our bodies during a run means our muscles, blood cells and organs need more oxygen – so we have to breathe deeper and harder than we normally do.

Your ability to breathe easily and rhythmically during a run can be an indicator of your fitness level or how your body reacts to the intensity of your workout. You may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest tightness if you overexert yourself.

Most runners will have techniques they swear to breathe on during a run. Maybe it’s meant to breathe only through your nose or lengthen each breath by four beats. Either way, having a system can keep you on track and help reduce pressure on your respiratory system.

“My first piece of advice for anyone who has trouble regulating their breathing while running is to observe whether you’re breathing through your nose or your mouth,” the yoga leader tells BLOKLeo Oppenheim.

“When you breathe through your mouth and take big breaths of air, you are actually upsetting the balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the body. It is likely that difficulty regulating breathing while running is also related to C02 tolerance in the body.

Lion says you should train your breath just like you would other elements of your running practice, like timing or rhythm.

“A great way to regulate breathing while running is to start breathing through your nose,” he says.

“Try to find and observe the rhythm at which you run” (Photo: Getty/

“The nose creates resistance that allows the body to use the inhaled air more efficiently. Nose breathing during training also increases the body’s tolerance to C02.

“Mouth recording is an effective way to do this while running and is also a great way to improve your sleep.”

Yes, Leo literally means banging a piece of tape over your mouth while you run. You might feel a little silly, but it’s an effective way to train your breathing. Read on for more specific advice on how to try this for the first time.

“Another way to increase this tolerance is to practice breathing and breath retention outside of your running practice,” he adds. “Breath holds have similar benefits to altitude training and can improve your running BPs.”

Leo says awareness of the breath and its rhythm is often overlooked in a runner’s practice, but rhythmic breathing can have huge benefits for running times and can even help alleviate injuries.

“Try to find and observe the pace at which you run and how your inhales and exhales match your stepping,” says Leo.

“Start including running sessions in your program that are specifically focused on how you breathe.”

Breathing techniques to help you tackle a long run

Breathing is one of the most powerful training tools we have. It is also one of the most underutilized.

Harnessed correctly, it can unlock a long list of benefits, from boosting performance and energy efficiency to preparing your body for your next long run – especially useful for anyone who trains. at the marathon.

To explore its potential, breathing facilitator and BLOK trainer Craig Seaton shared his best techniques to help runners tap into the power of their breath:

Try different breathing techniques depending on your run (Photo: Getty/

Full breaths

Best for: A natural pre-run boost

Before any run, Craig recommends taking 20 to 30 deep abdominal breaths to increase blood oxygen saturation and prepare the body for action.

“If your breath is quite stagnant or stuck in your chest, you’re not going to perform as well,” he explains.

Sit down calmly and place one hand on your belly.

Take a deep breath in through your mouth – watch your hand come up, then exhale through your mouth (this indicates you’re breathing into the pit of your stomach rather than taking shallow chest breaths).

Without pausing, inhale for four seconds, exhale for four seconds.

The breath holds

Best for: Preparing your body for a long run

Breathing wedges flood your body with oxygen, trapping bubbles of O2 around cells to enhance your aerobic output.

“Take 10 full breaths through your nose without pausing, then on the next breath inhale and let the breath stay in the body, making sure you don’t tense up,” says Craig.

nasal breathing

Ideal for: improving energy efficiency over the long term

Inhaling and exhaling through your nose teaches your body to use oxygen and process carbon dioxide more efficiently. If this is your first time breathing through your nose, Craig suggests practicing on a warm-up run to help you get used to the feeling.

To help build more familiarity with nose breathing, BLOK’s Leo Oppenheim suggests adopting the mouth bandage while running. The tape helps ensure your lips stay sealed so oxygen comes from the nose rather than the mouth, increasing efficiency and endurance.

“If your breath is quite stagnant or stuck in your chest, you’re not going to perform as well” (Photo: Getty/

If you’re new to tape, Leo recommends doing it for the first five minutes of your run, increasing the amount of time you hold it to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, and so on.

“Take a deep breath with each breath and try to stay calm,” he says, adding that you won’t run out of oxygen.

“If panic begins to set in, return to your breath. This will help channel your focus and train your body so powerfully, improving your energy consumption and even bringing elements of meditation into your practice. physical.

breath of fire

Best for: Reaching that PB

If you need to prepare for a particularly strenuous run, Craig suggests using an exercise called “Breath of Fire,” which uses your abdominal muscles to draw in short, strong breaths.

“Breath of Fire generates intense heat in the body and triggers a more assertive energy,” says Craig. “It’s about getting you ready and ready to go.”

Straighten your spine, inhale halfway, then pump your belly button, pulling your belly button towards your spine in a quick but rhythmic manner.

Breathe through your nose throughout and try to do this for no more than four minutes.

“The belly should do the work, rather than your nose,” adds Craig. “The heat and fire you create can then be channeled into your exercise.”

Audible trigger

Best for: stretching after running

Breathing, when combined with an audible release of pent-up tension, can also play a rejuvenating role in post-exercise recovery.

“As you hold each stretch, inhale deeply through your nose, then, as you exhale through your mouth, let out an audible gasp to actively release stress from your mind and body,” says Craig.

‘Don’t force it. Let your breath guide your body.

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