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How to Breathe Efficiently While Running
I am not a runner. I do not think this comes as a surprise to anyone, running just ain’t my thang. But, I have had people ask me how to breathe efficiently while running and it is very similar to breathing while working out in general. The question really is how do you increase your aerobic capacity during any aerobic activity – running, swimming, a ChoreoKick class (cough cough).
What we want to experience is that ability to run for a period of time without feeling utterly out of breath and to be able to transport oxygen to the rest of our muscles so we can sustain the actual movement for a period of time.
The answer? Simple. PRACTICE! It’s not quite the sexy answer you were looking for but it as with anything in life, it takes practice. Like muscles, which over time gets stronger the heavier your lift, your heart and lungs will over time learn to adapt and actually increase its aerobic capacity. Exercising in general improves the conditioning of your diaphragm. We are talking about the lungs, specifically, here.
The key is to always take slow deep inhales and take slow deep exhales. That’s it! It’s that simple! By learning to take control of your breath, you always learn to control your heart rate as well (another blog post in itself)
Now, running in general, especially for beginners, is tough. So I always recommend to slowly ease into it. Your body all over will be shocked – heart, lungs, and every single muscle group in your body! How do you easily break into it? Do interval walking, then interval jogging, and eventually interval running. Once that is mastered, lengthen the times during your interval which eventually turns into more of a steady state cardio. (Anaerobic stage).
Things you want to constantly improve upon are: a) breathing, b) muscle adaptation, c) time, & d) speed.
For the sake of just breathing, set yourself a timed run. Start with just a 10 minute jog or run. Do that for a week and start practicing your breathing technique. SLOW INHALE, SLOW EXHALE the whole time! In Week 2, move on to a longer time period (15-20 minutes) and practice the same thing. Then Week 3, go ahead and try to increase your speed during a 15-20 minute jog or run and practice that same technique, fully engaging your diaphragm. The problem is most of us don’t know how to fully engage our diaphragms which is why breathing is troublesome in any exercise or activity.
Once you’ve mastered your diaphragm, then you can focus on muscle adaptation, time, & running speed.
Till then, happy slow and full breathing!
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