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Breathing Techniques for the Serious Runner

Breathing Techniques for the Serious Runner

Breathing Techniques for the Serious Runner


From cross country running to sprints, practicing proper breathing techniques can really enhance your performance. practice these breathing techniques during your next workout or long run.

Every cross country runner or Track athlete has experienced it: run too fast, too soon and you’re quickly out of breath. Often, it’s an indicator that you need to run at a slower pace, gradually picking up momentum as you warm up. However, it can also be a sign that you’re not breathing properly. 


During a running workout, your body needs to replenish oxygen and release carbon dioxide, which accumulates faster as you work harder. With a few simple breathing techniques, you can breathe more efficiently — increasing your oxygen intake and letting go of more CO2 with each breath. 
Key breathing techniques to improve your performance and efficiency when performing running workouts:
  • Simply start by being aware of your breath: simply noticing how fast or slow your are taking in air and let it out is a great start.
  • Breathing with your belly: inhaling deep through your diaphragm and belly, not just your chest.
  • Controlling your breathing cadence: slowing your breath to align with your pace.
  • Power breathing: adding force to your exhale for stronger sprints. 


This means inhaling through your diaphragm to expand your belly, instead of just your chest. 
Here’s how:
  1. As you inhale, breathe in about two-thirds through your belly and one-third through your chest.
  2. Exhale thoroughly, first through your torso and then all the way up your chest.
How it helps you run: Breathing with your belly draws more oxygen into your lungs, helping you get more energy from each inhale. It can also help you slow your breathing, even as you pick up the pace.


Once your awareness is on your breath, you can start to control the cadence of your breathing. 
Here’s how to start:
  1. As you’re running at a steady pace, try to match your inhales and exhales to each stride, breathing deeply into your diaphragm.
  2. Try to maintain this steady rhythm through your run.
How it helps you run: When you match the cadence of your breath to your running pace, it helps you breathe more steadily, slowly and efficiently while keeping your mind focused. With practice, you can keep your breathing at a controlled pace when your run kicks into high gear, whether you’re facing sprint workouts, Hills or staircases.


Super-charge your sprints? Every track event always has a sprint workout introduced to improve mobility and speed so event throwers will benefit from learning how to “power breathe thereby sprinting faster and increasing oxygen intake when you need it most. 
Here’s how to power breathe through your sprints:
  1. Start by inhaling through your nose, steadily and all the way into your diaphragm — standard nasal breathing.
  2. When you exhale, push the air out with force while humming gently through your teeth. Try to exhale for a bit longer than you inhaled, to expel as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as you can. As you improve your nasal breathing, it’ll become easier to exhale through your nose as you hum.
How it helps you run: As your exercise intensity increases, you want to maximize the oxygen your body absorbs while expelling carbon dioxide as efficiently as possible. This power breathing technique can help you release more CO2, while the vibrations of the hum can actually help your body absorb more oxygen, by stimulating the production of nitric oxide.
If this technique is new to you, you can start with breathing out through your mouth. With practice, you can increase your efficiency by breathing through your nose, even when you’re pushing through a sprint.

Biggest Benefit

Bringing your focus to your breathing can help you tune out distractions, quiet your mind, and get in the zone. Soon, you won’t just be sprinting and running faster, you’ll feel more relaxed and more energized during your runs.