How to Breathe When
The main focus when considering how to breathe when running is that of
taking in as much air as possible with each breath so your muscles
are being supplied with the largest amount of oxygenated blood as possible.
The way you do this varies according to the situation you’re in, for example
running in cold weather or becoming very fatigued will both the effect the way you need to
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Firstly you need to breathe as deeply as
possible so you fill your lungs with the greatest amount of oxygen. Concentrate on breathing down to the depths of
your belly. If you’re doing this bit right,
you should be able to feel your tummy rise and fall with each breath not just your chest.
Secondly for the most efficient way of breathing, try to use both your nose
and mouth at the same time. This is the best way of taking in the largest amount of oxygen and expelling the
greatest amount of carbon dioxide.
Breathing out through the mouth allows you to exhale fully, removing more carbon
dioxide which is a waste product of the breathing process. However this is sometimes impractical as the nasal
passage may be blocked because of allergies or a cold for example, so you may just be limited to breathing though
Try to breathe rhythmically and develop a pattern. This ensures
that you are constantly taking in as much oxygen as possible and breathing out as much carbon dioxide with each
breath, thereby avoiding panting or breathing too shallow. When you breathe this way you’ll also notice that your
heart rate lowers much faster.
You should generally be able to hold a conversation when you perform the majority
of your runs, unless you are using a more intense type of training. If during a typical training session, you can’t
string a sentence together without gasping for breath, then your breathing may be too shallow or you’re running too
If you find you are getting breathless it can sometimes help to focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the
mouth. This may sound a little contradictory, but the purpose here is to focus on breathing, slowing down
the rate and increasing the amount of oxygen taken in through each breath.
Running in cold weather is also a time when you may want to consider breathing
through the nose because the nasal passage is much more efficient at filtering and warming the air
as opposed to taking it straight in through the mouth.
Whilst knowing how to breathe when running is important, it isn’t fatal
if you don’t get it right. Don’t worry about it too much, you’ve managed to breathe every moment of your life
up until now, it’s just a case of learning a slightly different way if you plan on becoming a good
In a nutshell, here’s how to breathe when running:
Take deep belly breaths
Breathe in through your nose and mouth
Breathe out through your mouth
Focus on creating a breathing pattern
Slow down your breathing rate as much as possible
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