Breathing when running in theory and practice

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Like other topics related to running, proper breathing has been overgrown with many theories and completely ridiculous assumptions.

Like other topics concerning running, proper breathing has become littered with many theories and completely ridiculous assumptions. Many not only seek to put them into practice, but also persist in recommending that other cycling enthusiasts do the same.

Unfortunately, in most cases, you will not be told how to breathe while running correctly. Nowadays, there are many variants that claim to be exceptionally “correct” and take you away from the heart of the matter. All of these false theories can be very confusing to novice marathon runners and help reduce the productivity of the few training sessions in which the runner will try to put what he or she has learned into practice.

Correct breathing

So, nonsense aside, what is the purpose of breathing by nature? It is to bring in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide CO2, or, more simply, carbon dioxide.

When you run, your body needs to increase the amount of oxygen and get rid of CO2 more quickly. Of course, you can force it to breathe through your nose, if you think this is the right thing to do. But by doing so, you will seriously increase oxygen starvation and enter the anaerobic zone, creating early oxygen debt. Especially if you don’t reduce the tempo to a minimum.

Try running without thinking about breathing technique at all. When you speed up your pace, your mouth will automatically open and join the circulation of oxygen through your lungs. That is, the opening of the additional air intake is regulated by the body itself.

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Breathing while running in winter

When running in winter, an unprotected mouth will tend to close the airways, leaving only the nose to participate, which will inevitably require you to reduce your pace and load as a lower priority. This is part of nature’s defense. Sometimes, if you are observant, you may notice that in cold weather the tongue is slightly elevated toward the upper palate. This is done automatically in order to at least somehow warm the cold air before contact with the larynx.

Breathing rhythm and control

In fact, implementation of your control in the respiratory process at all is not required, as there is especially nothing to control. The only thing to do is to develop your lung capacity. It is very desirable to include in your life such a sport as swimming. When swimming, we periodically hold our breath and make powerful exhalations into the water.

Breathing rhythms have a right to life, but they are strictly individual. The most popular ones are 3:3 or 2:2. That is, the inhale or exhale is done in two or three steps. There are also alternative rhythms, such as 3:1 and the like. But counting steps and fitting your breath to them is not something you should strive for.

The most important thing is the stability of the rhythm and its ability to fully provide oxygen to the body, as well as to remove carbon dioxide from it. Exhalation has a very important role, because its quality (and quantity) determines the volume of fresh air, but it is rarely paid attention to.

You develop your own breathing rhythm while running over time, and you should also take into account that your technique and level of fitness are not standing still. A “square” or “even” rhythm (such as 2:2), if it suits your running pace, can easily be used as a meditative component in a marathon or other long-distance running.

In fact, there are only two main things about running concerning breathing that you need to remember:

  • Breathing should be rhythmic and not confused
  • Breathing should be belly breathing, i.e. involving the entire diaphragm.

The degree to which the diaphragm is engaged has a direct correlation with fatigue in a marathon. The English Center for Sports Medicine and Human Performance has studied this in great detail and told the world. This point will also help you avoid one of the causes of side pain in training.

Everything else is best ignored. Options such as breathing only through the nose and exhaling on a particular leg step are great ways to slow you down and stress your body, but in no way stimulate better results. In most cases, these recommendations are just another lie.

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