Breathing Techniques

Usually breathing is a natural process, but sometimes the physical effort of running may lend itself to quicker, more shallow breathing. This can be inefficient, but may also cause stitches (cramps) in the stomach or sides. If breathing is an issue for you, consider trying the exercise below.

Although it is unusual to think about something that occurs so naturally, breathing can be a critical aspect of running comfortably and increasing your distance. When you are training it is important to breathe through both your nose and your mouth. Oxygen should come from the diaphragm not the chest. If this is done correctly the stomach should contract in and out. The more effort you exert, the faster the rate of your breathing should be. For example, during a warm-up your breathing should be the slowest.

If you breathe in rhythm with your foot cycle you become an oxygen meter. Warm-up breathing should be 3:3, in other words three footstrikes during inhale and 3 footstrikes during exhale. As you begin to increase your effort breathing should become 3:2 (a healthy supply of oxygen) and eventually breathing can reach 2:2. If your breathing reaches 2:1 you are going exceptionally fast and may want to allow your body to recover. Keep in mind that your inhale should always be even or slower than your exhale. Every few cycles it is normal to break your rhythm for a deep breath; however, you should never take shallow breaths.

The correct breathing technique enables you to pump more oxygen into your blood and avoid fatigue, and dizziness. Another way to achieve a breathing rhythm more naturally is to sing along with your ipod to a song that has a steady beat. It may be easier to focus on the music rather than your breathing. Keep in mind that if you can hear your breathing while you run, you may be running too fast or not taking in enough air.

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