How to Breathe Properly When Running (Part-1)

Proper breathing affects your body in ways you might not have imagined. It can make a difference in terms of your overall comfort and performance when running.

Although, most of it comes naturally, you may have some breathing habits that affect your ability to run efficiently.

Nose vs. Mouth Breathing: This breathing pattern is promoted in yoga and some martial art form. They ask you breathe in through the nose alone and breathe out only through the mouth. However, it is not very efficient when you perform a vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running. A lot of runners find it most effective to breathe through both your mouth and nose when running.1 Your muscles need oxygen to keep moving and your nose alone simply can't deliver enough. In fact, you may notice changes as your pace increases.

The way that you breathe is often determined by factors including activity type and activity intensity.

Sustained-Pace Breathing: You are likely to get enough oxygen primarily through your nose alone when you run at an easily sustainable pace. This allows you to carry on a steady conversation without stopping to gasp for air through your mouth. But your body needs more oxygen as your pace and intensity increases. While your nose can warm and filter incoming air, breathing through your nose alone won't cut it. This is when mouth breathing kicks in to help out.

You'll notice that nose breathing often shifts to combined nose/mouth breathing to accommodate your body's increased oxygen demands as your pace and intensity level increases during runs.

Breathing During Sprints: While you are speeding up, you might notice that you naturally shift to mouth breathing. At times, it feels like you breathe in and breathe out fully through your mouth. This might lead you to wonder if mouth breathing is wrong for these high-intensity bursts of work.

However, the researchers found that breathing mode does not affect power output or performance measures. Hence, they concluded that athletes should choose their desired breathing preference during high-intensity intervals.

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