How to Manage Breathing Properly When Running?

Know the technique for managing your breathing properly when you run. You can increase your performance in time and distance thanks to breathing adequately, while also decreasing fatigue.
How to Manage Breathing Properly When Running?

Last update: 03 April, 2019

The difference between succeeding or failing in a sports competition can depend on knowing how to breathe correctly. Therefore, for those who want to start running or those who practice it regularly, learning how to manage your breathing when running is essential.

The first issue to consider is how oxygen is breathed in. Most people, including some high-level athletes, breathe in a superficial manner. This is: air does not go beyond the upper chest. Lungs complete each exhalation far from reaching their full capacity.

Ideally, to manage our breathing when running, we should become used to taking deep breaths. This means taking enough air to fill the stomach area, abdomen, and to put the diaphragm to work.

This way, blood receives enough oxygen to deliver it to all muscle tissue adequately. A factor that delays fatigue and fights feelings of tiredness.

Learn to manage your breathing when running

If your breathing habits are poor or you only breathe partially, before you take up running you should do some breathing exercises while you’re relaxed. It’s ideal to hold the air for three to five seconds before exhaling again slowly through the nose.

woman running

This exercise may be performed when lying on your back or in the lotus flower position. In a completely conscious way but without any kind of tension, you must inhale through the nose as slowly as possible. Pay special attention to the stomach inflating.

Breath through your mouth or your nose?

For many years it was believed that the best way to manage breathing when running was by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Even today, there are some physical trainers who recommend this technique.

However, the use of nostrils to inhale has a disadvantage, the amount of air entering the body is much less than if inhaled through the mouth.

On the other hand, some doctors disapprove of this last option, even though the amount of oxygen is less. This is due to the fact that nostrils have filters to keep foreign objects out of our bodies. These filters are not present in our teeth and taste buds.

How to breathe correctly?

Many trainers point out that the best way to manage breathing when running is always through the mouth, for both inhaling and exhaling.

Experts insist that by taking in a larger amount of oxygen, besides delaying fatigue, you avoid additional issues such as hyperventilation.

runners resting

In the same way, exhaling through your mouth reduces the presence of residual gas in your stomach and minimizes the risk of side stitches. One of the most dreaded nuisances of any runner.

Other trainers are more practical. They allow the athlete to decide how he’s going to take in the air, based upon how he feels comfortable. They point out that as intensity increases in any workout they’ll inevitably inhale through the mouth.

Breathing frequency to manage breathing when running

This is another issue that trainers and athletes tend to disagree on. However, most seem to agree that this is a determining factor as is the runner’s level, physical capacity, and race intensity. Terrain conditions and environmental factors should also be taken into account.

Breathing when running in winter

Basically, to manage our breathing when running during winter is no different than in summer. As long as people are in good shape there should not be any problems. This stands true if temperatures stay above  -10ºC.

couple jogging in winter

In spite of everything, it’s advisable to take some special measures in order to manage breathing when running. Wearing a scarf over your mouth and nose serves the purpose of warming the air that enters your respiratory system and avoids irritation.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.