Breathing comes without thinking. Or so it should. Not so when you add running and sprinting to the mix. Suddenly your lungs are burning, you’re taking shallow, labored breaths and all you can think about is taking a little rest.
If you want to be a better runner, mastering better breathing is crucial to your success. When you can get more oxygen into your muscles, you recover faster and have better endurance.
A few years ago I had a running coach run next to me while I ran 800 meter repeats. He was telling me when and how to breathe. I ran my fastest 800’s to date with him at my side, showing me the correct way to breathe and get more oxygen to my burning muscles.
We can’t all have a running coach everyday, so it’s important to practice on your own. Here’s how to master better breathing on the run.
3 Ways to Master Better Breathing on the Run
- Take deep breaths – focus on longer, deeper breaths so you bring in the most oxygen you can with every inhale. This will in turn be delivered to your muscles and keep you running stronger, longer.
- Focus on a pattern – There are many breathing patterns, so you have to find what is best for you. One of the most common is the 2:2 method. Taking an inhale every two steps. If you are working on taking deep breaths you may want to take longer inhales and exhales, such as a 4:4 method, taking an inhale every fourth step and an exhale every fourth step.
- Hire a coach – Even if only for a few sessions, a coach can really analyze your breathing and help you discover your best breathing pattern. It’s a valuable investment in your running career and can make every run so much easier.
Remember that practice is how you get better at anything. Breathing is especially difficult for new runners, but with time, practice, and a few technique changes, you will become a better runner in just a few weeks. Continue practicing and improving and there is no limit to what you can do.