In life, we often encounter a lot of moments during which we experience a wide range of positive emotions such as joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. And the first several minutes of a race as you are getting ready to start your running session is definitely one of these moments; filling you with a surge of excitement and energy.
However, it is exactly during times like this that you get so engulfed in your own enthusiasm and excitement that you forget to even breathe. Not to mention neglecting of the proper breathing during the race itself.
But do not worry! We are here to help by providing you with several efficient and useful breathing techniques for every runner with different skill levels which will help you to improve your running as well as put both your mind and body at ease.
So without further ado, here are some of the beneficial and helpful breathing techniques for runners according to the skill level:
Breathing Techniques For Beginner Runners
First of all, let’s start by saying that breathing is automatic and unconscious, meaning it is something which you do not usually think about. Like blinking the eyes, for example.
But despite breathing being a basic human function, some runners have difficulties with breathing effectively. Especially beginner runners. And since they are very unfamiliar with the art of respiration, they perceive it more complicated than it actually is. But you don’t need to fret over it because breathing techniques provided below will ensure your running success in every way:
Start by lying on your back with knees bent and your feet on the floor. Proceed by placing your hands on a belly whilst taking deep breaths into the stomach instead of your chest.
To ensure that you are doing it correctly, pay attention to your hands; if you are doing it in a right way, they will rise and fall while you breathe.
Moreover, expand your stomach with full, oxygen-rich breaths. Start by doing 10 breaths for pre-run warm-up purposes.
When you’re a beginner runner, chances are high that you’ll find yourself getting out of breath, which usually means that you are out of shape instead of implying that there may be something wrong with your lungs or techniques. So in this case, make sure to focus on building your stamina and making exercise an integral part of your lifestyle so you can eventually proceed with longer-distance racing.
Focus On Entering The Right Pace
Start your race by sticking to a conversational pace or the pace at which you’ll be able to hold a conversation without desperately panting for air.
As a rule of thumb, when you are a beginner runner, it is preferable to ensure that the majority of your runs are performed at conversational as well as relaxed pace.
In other words, if you find it difficult to even talk, it implies that you are pushing it past your limits so slow down and ensure to get your own pace under control.
Moreover, by trying to control your exercise intensity, you will learn to effectively regulate your own breathing rate which, as a beginner runner, is truly a great thing you can do.
By controlling your exercise intensity, you’ll be able to regulate the rate at which you breathe.
Breathing Techniques For Intermediate Runners
Once you’re past the level of the beginner runner, which usually happens after two to three months of your training, the intensity of your race increases as well and you require new breathing technique which needs to match to your current level.
One of these techniques is synchronizing breathing which means synchronizing one’s breathing to the cadence or breathing rhythmically as you match your breath rate to your own foot strikes.
At first glance, this technique may seem quite a difficult feat to achieve, involving a lot of work, but it’s fully worth both your time and energy as after successfully mastering it, you will become able to run much longer and faster than you did before.
You can try taking it a step further by mastering breathing in and out of your mouth and nose simultaneously throughout the whole day. This combination breathing is the thing you need to pursue while running.
How to do it: Part your lips slightly whilst allowing your cheeks to relax which will maximize the effectivity of oxygen intake as well as outtake.
Breathing Techniques For Advanced Runners
Similar to the issue every intermediate runner experience, advanced runners also face the same problem when they mismatch the intensity of their exercise and the breathing technique they are employing.
But you can get rid of that issue by cultivating below mentioned breathing techniques which are in a true harmony with your current skill level:
One of the popular techniques called deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, involves taking deep breaths regardless of breathing rhythm or training intensity.
And truth be told, deep breathing is considered as one of the most essential and valuable skills you should, as an expert runner, acquire.
Here’s how it is done:
Essentially, deep breathing occurs by engaging the entire capacity of your lungs, which, in turn, increases the length of time as you breathe in as well as breathe out.
This is a total opposite of the quick and more shallow chest breaths which we do whilst at rest.
Taking deep breaths offers a rich array of benefits such as: helping your muscles to stay relaxed, boosting oxygenation, as well as reducing fatigue – all the greatly important elements or qualities for achieving efficient training results.
So make sure that during a run, you take several conscious and relatively larger breaths and then proceed by exhaling through the mouth.
To ensure that you’re doing everything right, pay attention whether or not you feel the movement of the belly and rib cage sideways and forward.
Nose and Mouth
Most of us naturally breathe nasally whilst at rest. But as for running, what occurs naturally while at rest isn’t always the most efficient thing.
In fact, as the training intensity increases, it is followed by another kind of oxygen needs or requirements.
And when that happens, you’ll discover that you are no longer able to take enough amount of oxygen by only breathing through your nose. In truth, when nasal breathing rate greatly exceeds resting breathing rate, you will naturally find yourself switching to mouth breathing.
So in order to ensure maximum oxygen intake, focus on inhaling through your nose and mouth. And if you want to achieve the most efficient breathing possible, combine both. The reason? Because by employing both pathways, you will be delivering the maximum amount of oxygen to your body, helping you in boosting your performance.
As can be seen, there are a number of breathing techniques which you can employ for reaping the maximum benefits whilst boosting your performance. So consider your current level and the intensity you are striving for in order to find and master those breathing techniques which will ensure getting the success rate you are pursuing after.