Deep Belly Breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing—also known as belly breathing—helps to strengthen your breathing muscles and encourage full oxygen exchange. This not only makes the breathing process more effective but allows your body to use oxygen more efficiently. By preventing side stitches, deep belly breathing also allows you to take in more air.
Breathing and Footstrikes: What scientists refer to the patterns as locomotor-respiratory coupling is the sync in breathing to locomotor movement, researchers have long known them as a form of rhythmic breathing pattern that most animals and humans practice. Also called LRC, it is the practice of pairing your breath with your footstrikes.
Preferred Breathing Rhythm: Humans use a variety of breathing patterns, unlike animals that often breath at a 1:1 LRC ratio (one breath per footstrike). However, studies suggest that a 2:1 coupling ratio is favored. That means for every two strides, you take one breath. As a runner, this might mean that you fall into a pattern where you breathe in for two to three footstrikes and breathe out for the same number of footstrikes.
Alternating Rhythm: A research paper published that runners naturally couple their breathing with their footstrikes in an even-foot pattern. This results in always exhaling on the same foot. While you can try this alternate breathing pattern, it may or may not have any benefits.
Natural Rhythm: Do not worry if the idea of trying to coordinate your breathing with your footstrike seems overwhelming. It has been suggested by the researchers that thinking too much about running and breath can lead to a decreased efficiency in running mechanics. They also believe that consciously focusing on breathing and movement can lead to a decrease in running efficiency and running economy.
Breathing During Races: It is relatively easy to fall into a breathing pattern during training runs, but it can be harder to maintain steady breathing during a race. Race day nerves can increase your breathing rate before the race and can also make it harder to get into a rhythm during the race.