How Should You Regulate Your Breathing While Running Distances?
How should you regulate your breathing while running distances? This is a question that many who are running distances arrive at sooner or later. It can be difficult to properly breathe while running distances because, of course, once a certain level of exhaustion sets in you are “sucking air.” But if can’t regulate your breathing as you run, you are inevitably going to go slower than you would if your breathing were properly regulated. You may also find longer distances hard for you to actually complete. The lack of speed and possibly of endurance that can result from not being able to regulate your breathing as you run can cost you in competition, and it doesn’t help your fitness level. Let’s look at how you can regulate your breathing when you’re putting on the highway miles with your legs.
- Breathe in and breathe out to a count. Practice slowly and deeply drawing in a breath to a four-second count, then exhaling to another four-second count. This can be difficult to do at first when you start putting on the miles, but with practice you’ll get better at it. The trick is to keep breathing to the count no matter how tempted you feel to gasp for air.
- Use the ancient Yogic technique of looking at where you are going. This may seem obvious, but think how much you look down at your feet or off to the side when you run. You do have to look down from time to time, but mainly keep your gaze fixed on some middle-distance target in front of you. You’ll find you automatically regulate your breathing better this way.
- Relax. This is the hardest part of distance running for many. Your breathing will become ragged if you don’t relax, though. Relaxation is a mental thing, so think happy thoughts, get good music flowing through your mind, or whatever works for you.
- Put your middle fingers and thumbs together to make a circle on each hand. How does this help you regulate your breathing? It prevents you from clenching your hands into fists. Clenched fists automatically make you tighten up mentally, and when you do that your breathing becomes jagged.
- Run relatively slowly for the first 15 minutes. This allows your blood oxygen levels to build up sufficiently so that as the miles mount you aren’t so desperate to suck in the air. This of course may not work the best for a race if you compete, but always do this on non-race runs.
Now you understand the basics of how to regulate your breathing when you go running. Apply any or all of these techniques and watch your times and fitness level improve.