Breathing Techniques for Runners

Do you often find yourself gasping for air when you are running? Or do you get the feeling that you are never getting in enough oxygen during your regular runs? If this describes you, here are some tips on breathing techniques for runners – that you may find useful.

Do you know the right way to breathe when you are running? [Photo from CDC/ Amanda Mills]

Do you know the right way to breathe when you are running?
[Photo from CDC/ Amanda Mills]

1. Breathe through the abdomen

Instead of simply taking shallow breaths through the chest, try and take deep breaths from the belly, or the abdomen. You should know if you are doing this correctly, if you feel your stomach moving in and out.

This is the most efficient way to get oxygen into the lungs, and carbon dioxide out of the lungs, during your runs. If you are an endurance runner, then this becomes more important.

2. Maintain a rhythm

If you focus your breathing patterns on a certain rhythm when running, this will help to control your stride and breathing at the same time.

The most optimum breathing patterns are 2×2 (two breaths in, two breaths out) and 3×3 (three breaths in and three breaths out). By doing this when you run, it will help you to feel very much in control of yourself.

3. Run in a less polluted environment

And the more polluted the environment in which you are running, the more your breathing will be affected too when you are running. So try and choose areas that are less polluted such as park connectors and trails in Singapore. This should help you to breathe more freely and maintain a more even rhythm.

A polluted environment is not conducive to running. [Photo by Petr Kratochvil]

A polluted environment is not conducive to running.
[Photo by Petr Kratochvil]

4. Breathe out through the mouth

Breathing out through the mouth, especially when fatigue begins to set in, will help to get as much carbon dioxide out of the body as possible during your runs. For breathing in, this depends on how comfortable you are; you can breathe in through either your nose or mouth depending on which one you are more at ease with.

5. Practice

And finally, as they always say, practice makes perfect.

So even at times when you are walking, or not exercising at all, try and maintain the 2×2 rhythm of breathing and after some time, you will find that this may become a natural part of you and you may no longer need to consciously think about how to breathe when you are running.

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