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!
Michele is a certified personal trainer & group fitness instructor who uses fitness, motivation, and mindset to help people feel energized, live confidently, and smile more. Recognized by the New York Times as one of NYC’s Top Fitness Pros, Michele is the creator of Cardio Sweat Party and founder of Zing Kids, bringing fitness fun to adults & kids. When Michele’s not teaching or training, you can find her running through Central Park or enjoying brunch with her husband in NYC.
Now more than ever, we are valuing our runs as our time to connect with both nature and our bodies, and of course to avoid going stir-crazy! Here are some of the things we are doing to keep ourselves and others safe when running during the corona pandemic.
While we typically like running with a partner or in a group for added safety and motivation, we recommend running on your own during this time and sticking to social distancing practices. Try to think of this as an opportunity for self-care. Running alone gives you a chance to focus on yourself and gives your mind the escape it needs. If you are concerned about safety, make sure a friend or family member knows where and when you are running.
Bring your own Hydration
Make sure to carry your own water bottle to avoid public fountains. If you are planning a long run, or if you are the type of runner that needs to hydrate as you go, remember that you can add a bottle attachment to your belt. They are super comfortable, and best of all you can carry your own electrolytes everywhere!
Keep your distance and avoid crowds
Similar to our first rule of thumb to running during the pandemic, it’s important to avoid people as much as possible while out on a run. Try to run during times of the day when trails and streets are less busy. While running, do your best to keep as much distance as possible from fellow walkers and runners. The less people around, the better. If you have to run where there is people around , make sure you distance yourself around 10-12 ft from the other runners!
Wear a protective mask or a multi scarf covering
If there are people around while you are running, be sure to wear a protective mask or a cloth covering. You can even use a Fitletic Multi scarf as a comfortable option to keep your nose and mouth covered. If you can avoid people altogether, then wearing a mask is not necessary. But if there’s other runners around, please wear a mask or multi scarf…even if you’re keeping distance!
Keep your shoes outside
Another great tip is to leave your shoes outside your door when you get back home from your run. Shoes carry tons of bacteria, so wearing shoes at home should always be avoided. Especially now, take extra precaution to leave your shoes outside and to clean them properly with disinfectant solution before bringing them in your home.
Carry gloves, napkins, or wipes with you
If you need to touch shared doors or press traffic buttons, then bring gloves, napkins or wipes with you to keep your hands as clean as possible. Try to avoid touching your face while on your run.
Wash your hands
Our last tip may be obvious, but it’s the most important! When you get home from your run, make sure the first thing you do is wash your hands and wash them well. To wash your hands properly, use the CDC’s guide to proper hand washing. Wash any clothing you wore outside in the laundry machine with soap and water, and try to take a shower right when you get back from your run.
We hope these simple tips help you enjoy running at a time when we need it most! It may feel overwhelming, but it’s important to remain calm and take each day step by step. We’ll get through this together and even stronger than before.
Technician with the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Telecommunications Specialist.
I truly started running about a year and a half ago when I was going through my Warrant Officer Candidate School and needed to pass my 2 mile run. You see, before that time, I had just lost 70 lbs and was doing general workouts and cardio to lose the weight. When I started my school, and running, I was starting too really like running. One day, after one of my runs, I told my wife “I thing I am getting faster at the 2 miles” and she replied “Then run farther and see how far you can go.” So I did.
One thing I do love about running is being outside and enjoying the day no matter what had gone on before my run or was is happening after it. I run in all weather conditions because it is just “Getting out there” that matters to me. I also do love the competition of racing. Pushing myself to go farther, faster, and longer than I have before. To this day, I still think about what my wife said, “Then run farther and see how far you can go.” every time I train for a race. That one line changed the way I looked at running and how I go about getting mentally prepared for it. I guess I could say I am a running addict now and I can blame my wife (there are worse things, lol).
RACES COMPLETED: 2 – 10k’s, 2 -4mi Mud Runs, Duathlon Sprint, Olympic Triathlon, Half Marathon *please note Dan did ALL these races within one year!
UPCOMING RACES & GOALS: Carolina Spartan Beast, Polar Dash Half Marathon, His first Marathon and IN 2015 Dan is going to do an IRONMAN!!!
I just keep thinking that only 2 years ago I was a huge couch potato, and running was a four-letter-word and here I am planning to do an Ironman. WOOHOO!!
I just want to thank you for choosing me to be your runner of the month. This means a lot to me because of how passionate I have become about running and sharing it with others is awesome. You can truly see I was not a runner before and now I have found my passion.”
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