Proper breathing will make a big difference in your overall comfort and efficiency when it comes to running. Although your body can adjust your breathing pattern in response to changes in your activity level, you can have breathing patterns according to your ability to function efficiently.
It’s essential to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream while running (or doing some exercise). Glycogen, a concentrated source of readily accessible glucose, is converted into energy for strenuous activities, including exercise by oxygen.
Learn from various ideas on how breathing impacts running and tips about breathing properly during your runs.
Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing
Many runners have learned that they can only breathe through their nose and out through their mouth when running. Yoga and some martial arts encourage this breathing pattern. However, vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise like running isn’t necessarily the most effective process.
When running, several runners find that breathing through both the mouth and the nose is most successful. To keep going, your muscles need oxygen, which your nose alone cannot provide. Indeed, as your speed picks up, you can see adjustments.
Many Factors, including activity type and speed, influence whether you breathe normally through your mouth or your nose.
Sustained Pace Running: Nose and Mouth Breathing
When you run at a comfortable speed, you’re more than likely to get ample oxygen solely from your nose. This helps you to maintain a conversation without having to pause and suck for air through your teeth.
Your body, on the other hand, requires more oxygen as the speed and intensity rise. To satisfy your body’s needs, you must breathe through your mouth. Although your nose can warm and filter the incoming air, breathing through your nose alone is insufficient. This is where mouth breathing comes in handy.
It would help if you aimed to inhale more through your nose and exhale more through your mouth during your quicker, sustained runs (such as tempo runs or races). Concentrate on thoroughly exhaling, which will make you inhale more deeply while still exhaling more carbon dioxide.
As your running speed and strength rise, you’ll find that your nasal breathing changes to mixed nose/mouth breathing to meet your body’s elevated oxygen demands.
Sprints: Mouth Breathing
You will note that during a speedy run, you automatically switch to mouth breathing. It sounds like you’re inhaling and exhaling fully through your teeth. This can make you wonder if mouth breathing is appropriate for these high-intensity work bursts.
Researchers looked into the impacts of mouth breathing and nasal breathing during high-intensity anaerobic workouts. Researchers looked at how test subjects performed and their heart rates as they had to breathe either through their noses or only through their mouths in a small trial.
They discovered that when athel used mouth breathing, the RER (respiratory exchange ratio) was higher. RER is a test of the body’s ability to obtain energy by oxidation. It can be used to determine one’s level of fitness. They also discovered that by breathing from the nose, the heart rate was higher.
The researchers suggested that athletes use their chosen breathing method during high-intensity bursts because breathing mode has little effect on power production or performance metrics.
Deep Belly Breathing
Deep diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, will strengthen the breathing muscles and promote maximum oxygen exchange. As a result, the breathing process will be more efficient, and your body will use oxygen more effectively. Deep belly breathing helps you to inhale more oxygen, which can reduce the likelihood of side stitches.
When lying flat, you should practice belly breathing:
- Lay down on your back with your legs slightly bent on your bed, sofa, or some other flat surface (you can place a pillow or rolled-up towel beneath them for support).
- Rest one hand on your stomach and the other on your shoulders to get a better sense of how your stomach expands and contracts.
- Inhale deeply from the nose. Push your stomach out by still using your diaphragm to push in and down. You should see your abdomen expand more than your upper chest expand. With each – breath, you’ll be able to take in more oxygen.
- Slowly and uniformly exhale from your teeth.
Try to do belly breathing a couple of times a day for about five minutes at a time when you’re first practicing it. It would help if you tried exercising in an upright (seated or standing) posture until you’ve mastered lying down.
Pay attention to your upper body shape, whether you’re sitting or standing. Your back should not be hunched up or slouched forward, and the stance should be straight. Your head should not be jutting out but should be in line with your spine. If you’re hunched over, you won’t be able to breathe deeply.
It would be easier to integrate effective breathing habits during your runs until you are more familiar with diaphragmatic breathing.
Breathing and Footstrikes
Researchers have known for a long time that as most animals (including humans) run, they use a rhythmic breathing pattern. That is, they match their breathing to their locomotory movements, especially their footstrikes. The patterns are known as locomotor-respiratory coupling by scientists (LRC). All mammals, including humans, engage in some LRC, but humans are the most adaptable in the flexibility of potential patterns.
Preferred Breathing Rhythm
If four-legged animals typically breathe at a 1:1 LRC ratio (one breath per footstrike), humans can breathe in many ways and sometimes do not use LRC at all. According to research, a 2:1 coupling ratio is preferred. That means you take one breath after two strides.
Tip: As a runner, you can find yourself falling into a habit of breathing in for two or three-foot strikes and breathing out for the same amount of foot strikes.
According to a 2013 study, runners’ breathing and footstrikes are typically linked in an even-foot fashion, resulting in them often exhaling on the same foot.
Running experts such as Budd Coates, author of “Running on Air,” proposed breath patterns that would alternate the foot that will be hitting between inhalation and exhalation, based on the hypotheses advanced in this article. For example, take three-foot strikes on every inhale and two-foot strikes on every exhale.
You should try this alternative breathing pattern, but it may or may not be beneficial. According to one of the study’s scientists, even-foot-breathing habits are unlikely to be harmful.
Don’t panic if the prospect of coordinating your breathing with your footstrikes sounds difficult.
According to research, worrying too much about running and breath will decrease your running performance.
Little research conducted in the Journal of Sports Sciences in 2019 assessed running economy in 12 subjects, focusing on either internal factors (such as breathing mechanics) or external factors (such as terrain) (watching a video). According to the findings, deliberately concentrating on breathing and activity will reduce running performance and economy.
Breathing During Races
While it is relatively easy to slip into a breathing rhythm during training runs, maintaining consistent breathing during a race is more complicated. Nerves on race day will increase the breathing rate before a race and make breathing harder during the race.
On the other hand, establishing a breathing routine can assist you in focusing and settling into a race-pace rhythm. As a result, turning your attention inward and finding your breath will be beneficial during your run.
Find your Race-Pace Rythm: Finding this rhythm during your race can help to calm your nerves and boost confidence if you’ve developed a clear routine breathing pattern during training runs.
Your breathing rhythm can change depending on the speed when you race past another runner or run up a hill. Returning to your regular breathing rhythm, on the other hand, will assist you in resuming a steady rate.
Your breathing rate is expected to rise when you are near the end of the race. When you’re trying to run to the finish line with sore muscles, the breathing rate will increase, and each breath will get deeper. Trained and experienced athletes, on the other hand, should sustain their LRC, or powerful rhythmic breathing pattern, according to research.
And what happens at the end of the race? After ten to twenty minutes of running, the breathing can return to normal. Your breathing rate will progressively slow, and you will switch from mouth to nose breathing. Your pulse rate will return to normal as your breathing returns to normal. You’ll see that this phase takes less time as the health level improves.
Long Distance Running has a few Words for You
As a beginner runner, attempt to run at a speed that allows you to breathe comfortably. To determine whether your speed is sufficient, use the “speak test.” You should be able to talk in complete sentences without stopping to catch your breath. This is often referred to as a conversational tempo.
Experiment with various breathing patterns and breathing rhythms as you incorporate faster-paced tempo runs and speed intervals into your training sessions. Often, practice diaphragmatic breathing. Your body may find a good breathing pattern itself, so don’t push a breathing pattern that you don’t like.
Be aware of your favorite breathing pattern and use it as another weapon in your arsenal to calm your nerves and run faster in runs.