Proper Breathing While Running Should Come Naturally

People learn how to breath on their own within a fraction of a second after birth, so why do you need to learn proper breathing while running techniques?

This is the type of thinking that prevents good runners from becoming great runners.

Proper breathing can help you run longer and farther with less effort.

As with most health and fitness debates, there are advocates on both sides of the nose versus mouth breathing debate.

Think about it this way – you want to get as much air into your lungs as possible. Which feature can do this better, your nose or your mouth?

Obviously, your mouth is much larger, therefore capable of inhaling more air. If your nose wants to join the party, fine. The more fresh air and oxygen you can get to your lungs, muscles and vital organs, the better.

Don't underestimate the importance of a good breathing technique when you run

Proper Breathing While Running: Finding Your Rhythm

Your running style determines your rhythm. How hard you train, how intensely you work out or how easy you like to take your runs help you find your particular rhythm.

As a general rule of thumb, beginners use the 2:2 rhythm. Once you find your rhythm, this will become second nature.

The 2:2 rhythm means that you breathe in for two steps and then out for two steps – breathe in - right, left – breathe out – right, left – open mouth and sucking in as much air as possible.

Keeping track of this rhythm can be very distracting, so the sooner you adopt your own rhythm and are able to concentrate more on your running, the better.

For slower runs or warm ups, add an extra step making it a 3:3 rhythm – breathe in – right, left, right – breathe out – right, left, right...

Never hold your breath. The rhythm should be a continuous flow, no matter what. Stretch your lungs to their full capacity.

Holding your breath will defeat the purpose. The purpose being getting as much air into your lungs as possible, giving this air time to process throughout your body, and then exhaling the bad air and sucking in more of the good.

Good breathing when you run means finding a rhythm that works for your body

Don't force the rhythm. If you aren't comfortable with a 2:2 or a 3:3 or even a 4:4, that's fine.

Until you have trained your lungs to work in the most efficient way possible, do whatever is most comfortable for you – as long as you aren't breathing solely through the nose.

However, anything less than a 3:3 doesn't give your body enough time to push out the bad oxygen and process the good.

The average runner takes about 180 steps per minute, which means about 90 steps on each foot per minute. With a 3:3 rhythm, you are taking a fresh breath about every two seconds, which is plenty of time to process carbon dioxide and still get enough oxygen into your system.

A 2:2 breathing rhythm means about 45 breaths per minute, which is the ideal pace for marathon runs, a good work out and tempo runs.

However, when you are nearing the finish line of a marathon, a 2:2 breathing rhythm might not cut it. You might want to switch to a 1:2 or 2:1. This nearly doubles the amount of oxygen going to your lungs.

A 1:1 rhythm is not advised because this will cause you to take shallow breaths.

At this rate, you can't inhale enough oxygen to properly ventilate your lungs, which means the rest of your organs won't get get sufficient oxygen either.

Do What Comes Naturally

Just remember that proper breathing while running is extremely important, but don't become too focused on the exact rhythm.

Do what feels right for you and before long, you will develop the perfect rhythm for your body.

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