In addition to the right shoes, gear, and hydration belt, there’s another essential every runner needs — and that doesn’t require any extra gear. What is it? Proper breathing.
Expert Breathing Tips for Running
- Start slow and take breaks
- Breathe into your belly
- Try postural breathing
- Follow a breathing pattern
- Try a neck gaiter instead of a mask
Why are breathing techniques so important for running?
We all breathe involuntarily, but specific breathing techniques while running can:
- Help get oxygen deep into your lungs and pushed into your bloodstream.
- Better oxygenate blood and get more oxygen to the muscles, keeping your energy and endurance up.
- Expand capacity. As you continue to run or train for a big race, you’ll need more and more oxygen to sustain an active lifestyle.
Whether you’re brand new to running or an experienced marathoner, we’re sharing breathing techniques for running below so you feel great and have endurance for all your running goals.
Starting slow is one of the best ways to learn how to breathe while running. If you’re a new runner, don’t hesitate to take frequent walking breaks or stop to catch your breath. And the same can be said for an experienced runner trying to increase their pace or training for a marathon. Taking breaks or slowing down can help you re-focus on your breathing so you can continue building stamina for future runs and races.
Breathe through your mouth and into your belly
Breathing through your nose is generally fine for shorter or slower runs, but it can ultimately prevent you from getting enough air. By breathing through your mouth, you’re allowing your lungs to get the oxygen they need to power you through more intense runs and help keep you going.
To improve your oxygen flow even more, use belly breathing — also called diaphragmatic breathing — instead of using your chest. Belly breathing forces you to use your entire lung capacity, helping air travel down to the lower portion of your lungs. As a result, your oxygen uptake increases, and your body creates more energy to improve your short- and long-term stamina.
Postural breathing can help
Another pro tip for improving your breathing while running? Good posture. When your shoulder blades are back and down, your chest is open and allows for better oxygen flow. But if you are hunched or slouched over while you run, your shoulder blades will pull forward, forcing you to use your chest for breathing instead of your diaphragm.
Pro tip: If you’re experiencing lower-body pains while running, they could also be related to bad posture. Jay Dicharry, the author of Running Rewired, says that upper-body mobility issues can cause lower-body issues. In other words: Better posture = better running.
Develop a breathing pattern
Breathing patterns can be helpful for runners who are focused on their pace. The idea here is that you inhale and exhale based on your foot strikes. For example, if you’re following a 3:3 pattern, you would inhale for three foot strikes and exhale for three. Here’s a quick guide to help you get started:
- Low-intensity runs: 3:3 pattern
- Medium-intensity runs: 2:2 pattern
- High-intensity runs: 1:1 pattern
It’s important to note that developing a breathing pattern can be difficult for runners and feel complicated. So if you don’t pick it up right away — no sweat! Just do what feels comfortable while running, even if it means doing away with a breathing pattern and simply focusing on other breathing tips.
Invest in a neck gaiter (for running with a mask)
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced runners (and all athletes) to exercise with a face mask or covering. While they’re necessary to combat the spread of the virus, masks can also impact runners’ breathing techniques. Our advice? Invest in a neck gaiter. The lightweight fabric won’t disrupt your breathing, and they’re easy to pull up and down when you can’t maintain six feet of social distancing.
Pro tip: If you really want to step up your face mask game, check out our Multi-Scarf Headwear. You can use it as a headband, scarf, and face-covering to stay warm and protected during any adventure.
Breathing Tips for Running: Breathe easy with Fitletic!
At the end of the day, applying new breathing tips while running takes a lot of practice. While it may feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first, it will only help improve your stamina and techniques in the long run. Before you take off, don’t forget to arm yourself with Fitletic running gear. From hydration running belts to running accessories, we’ve got you covered. Explore our best running essentials now!