Breathing techniques for running
Breathing Strategies for Running

It is not uncommon for runners to gas out when running. Their lungs will fail them before their legs. While this is more common among beginners breathing strategies for running is often a key component of performance even among elite runners.

In 2022 I run my first two 5k races at 22 mins 22 secs each. During my preparation and the races I deployed a few breathing strategies based on my research which I believe contributed to hitting these times. In this article I will share the 5 most important ones I used on the racing day.

1 Use the max # of red blood cells possible

Preparation: 10mins before the race I performed some gentle breath holds. Ideally, they should have been a lot stronger to get the spleen and EPO effect but even the way I did them was still beneficial in my opinion.

2 Breathe Nasally as much as possible

Race: The easy part of the race – which was not a lot – was done with nose breathing, teeth touching & tongue at the top of the pallet. The reason for that was to stay as much as possible in a parasympathetic state (ie. keep my HR low).

3 Breathe at a steady rhythm

Race: During most of the race I tried to keep a rhythm in my breathing. The rhythm had to change during the race based on my stride. The slower the stride the “lighter” the breathing. Maintaining a rhythm in the breath is a common recommendation for runners. What I found necessary was to modify the rhythm in different sections of the race.

4 Recover half-way when possible

Race: The recovery parts of the race during which I had to “change gears” were by far the most critical “breath-wise”. During some of them, I had to slow down in order to reset my breath.

5 Recover faster by addressing the biomechanics

Post-race: I lay on the grass to recover but soon after I remembered that lying on my belly would help me recover faster (which it did). The reason has to do with the biomechanics of breathing.


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