Running and breathing techniques are essential for physical performance, but it only works efficiently in certain instances. We recently wrote about two of our team members, Courtney and Angela. They are in training for their first marathon in January. A critical thing that they have had to master, is to correctly breathe when they’re running.
What happens with your body when you run?
If you’re a runner or are looking to start, breathing is an essential aspect of your training. Improper breathing can cause your body harm and diminish your performance. When you’re doing an exercise activity, your heart and lungs are working harder. The heart pumps the oxygen into the lungs. It then expels the carbon dioxide from your body and brings in the oxygen for energy. Because of the extra work your body is doing, your body needs to increase its breathing.
What can happen to your body from improper breathing while running?
When people begin to run, one of the things that can happen is that they run out of breath. That’s a sign that they are not breathing well or are running too fast. Running out of breath is one stress that can happen in the body. But, there is another when the timing of each stride and exhalation occurs. An article in Runner’s World explained the greatest impact while running happens when the foot strikes the ground. The runner is also beginning to exhale. If you start to exhale when the same foot hits the ground, that side will experience high stress. It could also suffer potential injury.
It could cause injuries if you’re always putting a strain, say, on the right side of your body.
How to breathe when running
It’s simple to avoid body stress injuries from running. You can also increase performance. But, it’s vital for runners to understand how running and breathing techniques. In other words, you have to know how to breathe well as a runner. And that will enhance your performance and limits injuries.
Practice deep breathing.
When you’re running, you should practice deep, or diaphragmatic, breathing. That is to say, you should contract your diaphragm. When air enters into your lungs during this type of breathing, your belly will expand. Your chest will not rise. Deep breathing helps you maximize oxygen intake. It is much better for you than if you were to do shallow chest breathing, which is many times what new runners do. When you are instead doing deep breathing, you are using the entire capacity of your lungs. You’ll prevent side stitch, which can be that sharp stabbing pain in your ribs.
Breathe through your mouth.
When you’re running, it’s vital to ensure that your body is receiving all the oxygen it requires to keep you going without problems. The most effective way to ensure this happens is to get in the habit of breathing through your mouth. Don’t breathe through your nose, which cannot intake as much air. When runners increase the intensity, it becomes more critical to take in lots of oxygen. Yes, the air gets filtered and warmed through the nose. But, a knowledgeable runner knows that they have to instead breathe through their mouth.
Manage your breathing rhythm.
When running, runners usually develop a pattern for breathing. But, as mentioned earlier in this article, if the beginning of an exhale occurs at the same time as the foot strike of a specific leg on the pavement, it can cause a lot of stress on that side of the body. A strategy for running and breathing and to cut stress is to practice rhythmic breathing. Also, alternate the foot that is striking the ground when the exhale begins. Practice taking a longer inhale breath. Then, have your foot hit the ground during inhalation. For practicing a 3:2 breathing pattern, take a look at this article from Runner’s World.
Take the time to understand that you can minimize injuries. You can also maximize performance and results. All you have to do is learn about proper running and breathing techniques. Do that, and you will enjoy your runs much better!
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