Running in and of itself is often accompanied by some degree of huffing and puffing and while it’s natural to raise your raise your heart rate and quicken your breathing, it’s a good idea to pay attention to your breath and see what it is trying to tell you in your workout.
Your breathing is a tool in your bag of tricks that you need to use when assessing and controlling your performance. Developing a technique that works along with you and adapting it to your training intervals will help you in your concentration, control and stamina.
The way you breathe can definitely maximize your body’s ability to take in as much oxygen as possible and send it off to your tissues to make sure they are in the highest working form. Many recommend that you count your breaths are you run and time them to synch up with the movement of your legs and feet. If you inhale for one or two paces, depending on your depth and speed, exhale for the same amount of paces. This corrects your timing and enables you to control your breathing.
Additionally, it’s wise to take a couple of shallow breaths from time to time to ensure that your breathing doesn’t coordinate with the same foot meeting the ground every time you exhale. This will create an unbalanced stress on one side which can always lead to injury.
Try practicing methods that help you time and control your breath while still maintaining a continuous pace. If you were to begin your run with well-timed breaths vs. paces, you will easily fall into that pattern and not notice any possible strain on one side until sometime in the distant future. Instead, start with a finite number of paces with that breathing pattern then quicken your breath for two paces and switch the side where your foot meets the pavement on exhale.
You will begin to develop a mental counting system while you run and you might even adjust your workout music to be in time to that count. Practice to see what works well for you, even trying two more shallow inhales with a deeper exhale to offset the timing of your pace might work.
If you practice yoga or meditation, you will already know how your breath can change your body reactions and control tension and these are also elements that you will want to employ. When your breathing becomes laboured, you will have less reactionary control and you will sense yourself tensing up. This positions you to sustain injury as the more tense your muscles, the more vulnerable they become.
Some experts suggest that you inhale in more shallow breaths and force the breath out with greater force as in doing so, the pressure from within your lungs immediately responds to that and pulls the breath back in. Others disagree on the premise of the muscular reaction to inhaling within one’s core stating that while one’s diaphragm is contracted, you have greater stability and thus inhaling provides you with better balance. Breathing from your diaphragm is the best way to keep your breathing controlled as allowing your chest to do the work can create hyperventilation. This is something that you should practice while not running to get a sense of how that feels in your body.