‘How to breath properly while running’ is one of the most searched for topics here at Complete Running. This article contains tips and video to show you the correct way to breathe while running.
Out of Breath?
It’s important to remember that, if you run out of breath, become dizzy or nauseous, it means you are not taking in enough oxygen for the speed you are running. Generally speaking, this means you must either adjust your speed, or the amount of air you take into your lungs. The tips below keep those two strategies in mind.
7 Key Breathing Tips
- Try slowing down before attempting to change your breathing.
- Focus on longer, deeper breaths.
- Breath more from your diaphragm (belly) than your chest (chest breathing is more shallow).
- Focus on exhaling more fully. This will remove more CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and allow for deeper inhalations of O2 (Oxygen).
- Allow air to enter through both the nose and mouth. This will allow for maximum O2 intake.
- Aim to take three footsteps for every inhale, and two footsteps for every exhale (3:2 ratio). A good descriptions of this can be found on Military.com:
Many experts will say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales. This means you INHALE on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and EXHALE fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes. This pattern is not that hard to turn into a habit, but it may require you to slow your pace down for a few runs to master the technique. You will notice a lower heart rate as you are able to get more oxygen in and more importantly push all the carbon dioxide out of your body. You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are really pushing it to the finish. That is OK. But realize it is difficult to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at a 2:1 ratio.
For those wanting more explanation about step to breath ratios, another article – based on the Daniel’s Running Formula – can be found at this link on proper breathing while running
- One last thing – try not to over-think your breathing! It’s best to try to slow down, relax, and let yourself fall into your body’s natural rhythm.
Following these tips should make breathing easier, and your runs more enjoyable. For you audio/visual learners, I’ve included two very good video clips which cover much of what I’ve described above.