Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Learning to BREATHE


~Learn to breathe more fully. Shallow breathing doesn’t exercise the diaphragm and lungs enough and most people only use a small amount of their lung capacity. Belly breathing is better than chest breathing (practice lying down observing stomach physically rising and falling). Most runners do better breathing primarily through the mouths. You will naturally breathe through mouth and nose. You can experiment with nose inhaling if you struggle with sideaches or are running in cold weather.

~Breathe deeply before a workout to oxygenate your cells. This creates energy. The more oxygen in your blood, the less fatigued and more mentally alert you are. One of the primary reasons you need a walking warm-up before running is for your lungs.

~Breathe naturally. If you feel your breathing is uneven, try counting out your strides with each breath, trying to maintain an even pattern of 2-2 or 3-3. (exhale left right, inhale left right… exhale left right left, inhale right left right) If you struggle with sideaches in the 2-2 pattern, try varying which foot lands first at the beginning of the stride. If your “natural” breathing rhythm is not an even pace for your inhale and exhale, don’t worry about it! Some people breathe 2-1 for example.

~Focus on your breathing to help you relax while exercising.

~Your breath should be pretty quiet! If you can hear yourself you are working out too hard.

~It is often the cardiovascular part of running that is so challenging for beginners. Many describe “difficulty” breathing. They’re going along at a pace that feels good to their legs, but their lungs can’t keep up. The only solution for this is to slow down. Your pace should always be as do-able for your lungs as it is for your legs.

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