Take a Deep Breath… Part II

I finally found some time to write!   Lost of fun and new things happened since last post!  Last weekend we spent it in Maine visiting Dustin’s dad Tom and his wife Laura.  We spent most part of our Saturday on one of the 4,613 gorgeous Islands on the Coast of Maine enjoying the beautiful weather, we went on a boat and, I even did a 5 K.  But I will talk more about that later.  This week is also a start of a new and exciting beginning for me…and I will also talk about that later =D  What I am going to talk about today is how to breath properly while running because  how you breathe during your run could make a difference between a good and a bad run, and maybe enable you to run at a faster pace with less effort.  If you run out of breath, and become dizzy, it means you are not taking in enough oxygen for the speed you are running.  Generally speaking,  you must either adjust your speed, or the amount of air you take into your lungs. The tips below will help you understand how to improve your running breathing.

  • Make sure to take the time to properly warm up by jogging or walking fast for 5 minutes.  This will allow your breathing to increase more gradually.  Another way to trick your body into running and breathing without tension is to take 10 minutes and repeat running for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute.
  • Allow air to enter through both the nose and mouth.  Breathing in and out through the nose only, often results in not getting enough oxygen and  the breathing would become quite an effort, sometimes causing those annoying and uncomfortable painful side stitches.  Next time you go for a run try breathing in and out through both the nose and mouth.  Your mouth should be held open just slightly, in a position called the “dead fish”…and that is what you will look like =D  This allows for the maximum intake of air into the lungs.  The breaths should be short, shallow, and comfortable, not deep and long, in tune with your natural rhythm.  However, every now and then I do take a deep breath just to re-group, and that’s absolutely fine.  If you become short of breath, you might be running too fast.   Slow down a little and try to take deep breath. This will help you relax and your breathing should slow down.
  • Breath from Your Belly rather than from Your Chest.  Belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is better than chest breathing.  This is because belly breathing will  contracts the diaphragm  helping you control your breath resulting in breathing more efficiently.  It will also allow you to inhale more oxygen and get rid of more carbon dioxide, so you won’t feel like you are running out of breath! You might ask, how do I know I am breathing from my belly?  Well, you could check it by lying on your back and placing your hands over your stomach.  If your stomach rises and fall as opposed to your chest, you are golden!  At the beginning it’s not easy to automatically breath from you belly but with a little training and some stretching you can breathe to your full potential, and increase your endurance.  Practicing Yoga or Pilates can help you learn to breathe deeply and effectively!
  • Breath on the Rhythm of your stride.  Aim to take three footsteps for every inhale, and two footsteps for every exhale (3:2 ratio).  Experts say that to fully oxygenate the muscles and clear the body of carbon dioxide you should breathe a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio; full inhales and full exhales.  That means you INHALE on the LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes and EXHALE fully on the RIGHT, LEFT foot strikes.  It is a pretty easy pattern to turn into a habit, but it may need you to slow down for a few runs to master this approach.  You may notice that you naturally drop to a 2:1 ratio when you are racing or doing hills.  That’s fine but keep in mind that it is harder to maintain a pace that requires you to breathe at that ratio.
  • Avoid fatty foods or large meals right before running and give yourself few hours to digest the meal before you run.  A full stomach or heavy, fatty foods can conflict with your stomach and diaphragm as you begin to breath and bounce.
Last thing, try not to over-think your breathing!  It’s best to try to slow down, relax, and let yourself fall into your body’s natural rhythm.
Happy running!

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