How To Breathe While Running

How to breathe while running is a common question I have received from runners over the years.

What is the proper way to breathe?

Do you breathe through your mouth or nose?

We are all individuals in this sport.

What works for me may not work for you and vice versa.

Running properly and more efficiently isn’t just about how many miles we run. Furthermore, it is about quality versus quantity. Remember, specific racing goals require specific forms of training.

Eating junk food, getting poor sleep and partying on the weekends is not a formula for success in this sport.

Don’t get me wrong. Life should be enjoyed and some time away from it all, hanging out with friends is an absolute must.

That being said, good to have a great time but overdoing it can be counterproductive.

How to breathe while running is basically what works best for you. I breathe through my mouth when I am running.

I love getting emails asking me how to breathe while running.

Why Do I Struggle to Breathe when Running?

A lot of times it can be simply due to not being in better shape. Of course, your style of breathing is difficult to change.

My wife breathes through her nose and then out of her mouth as she runs. I would have a much harder time running in this manner. Again, everyone is different. Again, it is vital to focus on being as relaxed as you can be while running. Remember, the more muscular and mental tension you feel the harder it will be to perform at a high level.

That being said, it is very hard to change a pattern you have been accustomed to all your life.

It would be like telling an athlete to keep his or her hands open when they have clinched them their entire career. In addition, trying to change your stride length.

Furthermore, it makes logical sense to do what works best for you. Listen to advice, seek knowledge, but ultimately do what you feel most comfortable with.

How Do You Run without Getting Out of Breath?

Focus on training at speeds that are considerably faster than your goal race pace. Remember, the end goal is to improve our body’s lactate tolerance. So, the only way to do this is to run more of your weekly volume at a higher percentage of your max heart rate. I highly recommend investing in a heart rate monitor.

I use the Garmin 245. It helps me to stay at the proper paces during my long runs and tempo runs.

It still goes back to what we have been saying.

Do you feel more comfortable breathing through your mouth?

How about breathing through your nose?

You may be able to to change breathing methods while running comfortably. An easy way to see how it feels is simply if you can carry a conversation while you are running.

Experiment with both. See what it feels like to breathe through your nose if you normally breathe through you mouth. Try the opposite. Which feels most comfortable?

There is your answer.

Notice any changes in your breathing, muscle tension and arm carriage?

Your whole physiology changes. You have to be as relaxed as possible and no matter what any coach or high level runner tells you, always follow what works best for you.

What Are the 3 Breathing Techniques for Runners?

  1. Focus on breathing in and out through the nose. So, the first method is to focus on breathing exclusively in and out through your nose.
  2. Breathing through the nose and out through the mouth.
  3. Focus on breathing in and out through the mouth.

I do this quite often on my long runs and during harder tempo runs. I feel more relaxed even while at race pace when I breathe through my mouth. Of course, every runner is different. For example, you may feel more comfortable breathing through your nose.

It is so important to learn to relax while at higher anaerobic efforts. That being said, this takes practice and patience to achieve.

Have you ever watched a world-class athlete run at top speed? Have you seen the way they look?

Smooth, confident, relaxed and as if they are floating.

Shoulders are low, knee lift is high and their feet seem to be only on the ground for a split second than back in the air.

The point here is being as relaxed as you can while during sub maximal efforts.

We all can relax running easy but once the heart rate gets above 150 your breathing comes even more into play.

I take in deep breaths through my nose a few times during long runs and tempo efforts. It seems to help me stay relaxed and grounded during hard efforts.

Should We Breathe Through Nose or Mouth while Running?

It really comes down to how comfortable you feel with one or the other. Again, some runners feel more in control when breathing through their mouth. Of course, others may feel more powerful and relaxed breathing through their nose. Also, some runners will feel more in tune with their body using a combination of both.

Remember, stay mentally tough and in control. Remember, we are always in control of your thoughts and attitude.

Less thought, better running.

Have you ever heard of being in a ‘flow’ state? Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term.

He states when we are most relaxed our emotions are not only charged and working properly but filled with positivity.

We are fully prepared and focused at the task at hand. I have had many flow experiences as I am sure you have as well.

Think of what you were doing at that particular time. Were you relaxed? Did you feel effortless?

Make it as simple as you can.

The process of breathing while you run is not something you necessarily even want to try to change.

How Do Elite Runners Breathe?

The majority of elite runners breathe through their nose and mouth. Again, everyone is different.

Run the way you feel most comfortable.

If anything take the time while you’re running to say positive words to yourself.

  • I am strong.
  • Stay relaxed.
  • It is a great day to race well
  • I feel awesome
  • Nice and smooth

Whatever you need to do to stay calm and relaxed.

This is the best how to breathe while running tip there is.

Closing Thoughts

Make sure to subscribe to the RunDreamAchieve YouTube channel. I create new videos each week to help runners such as yourself get to the next level. Remember, focus on doing 1 tempo run, 1 long run and at least 1 vo2 max workout per week.

Again, the end goal is to improve your lactate tolerance. Easy running is still important. That being said, it will not help you when it comes to racing. Our goal is to minimize slowing down. In addition, to sustain goal race pace longer than our competition. So, longer periods of time training at or below our anaerobic threshold is essential.

The world’s top runners run between 35 to 40 percent of their weekly volume at this intensity. Yes, they make it look easy for a reason. It is not just because they have genetic talent. Of course, they do have that but talent that does not work will get beat by the athlete with work ethic that does.

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