Breathing Techniques For Running
Whether you pant worse than your pooch from a few laps around the track or suffer from dreaded side stitches during trail runs, learning good breathing techniques for running can make all the difference in your enjoyment of the sport. Lucky for you, several breathing techniques exist for different running problems. Experiment to see what works for you.
- Side Stitch Stopper If side stitches sabotage your runs, try the pursed-lip breathing technique. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly, pursing your lips as if blowing a bubble-gum bubble. The resistance keeps your alveoli inflated just a little bit longer, delivering more oxygen to your blood. Sure, you will look a little goofy, but it beats the humiliation of stopping a run early—and if it is good enough for professional runners, it is good enough for you.
- Take the "Hyper" Out of "Hyperventilation" Breathing too fast or too shallow can set you up to hyperventilate. Try a patterned breathing technique to maintain control over your breath and prevent you from overdoing it. Patterns vary from runner to runner, but you can start with a two-two pattern, which means you inhale for two counts and exhale for two counts. You could easily change that to three-three or something else. Find what works for you; the idea is to stay in control.
- Engage your Core It seems logical to breathe with only your lungs, but the truth is, good breathing technique for running requires you to engage your diaphragm and abdominal muscles, too. Inhale all the way into your belly and let your belly expand. Exhale deeply and visualize pushing out the air with your abdominal muscles. This breathing technique helps you maintain your breathing patterns and even improves ventilation. The lungs are elastic and the pressure helps them spring back for the next inhalation—a double whammy of a breathing technique.
- If you can hear yourself huffing and puffing, you are breathing much too hard. Get your breath under control using one of the breathing techniques above.