Breathing the right way while you run can improve your endurance, writes Nandini Reddy.
Breathing right is important for all runners but many runners do not pay much attention to it and end up feeling winded after just a few hundred metres of running. A marathon is an endurance event that asks your body to sustain the routine for a long stretch of time. In an aerobic exercise like running, it becomes important to have the right breathing technique if you want to get the most of your run.
Like you find a certain rhythm in your pace and in your stride you need to also find a rhythm in your breathing. Before you find your rhythm you need to learn the basics of belly breathing.
Diaphragmatic Breathing or Belly Breathing
Working your diaphragm to the fullest potential you need to fill your lungs with air and then exhale by pushing all the air out. The simplest way to ensure that you are breathing from your belly is to ensure that your belly rises when you inhale and collapses totally once you exhale. If you do it slowly in a count of 5 then you will feel that full effect of the deep breathing technique.
If you are breathing from your chest then your diaphragm will not work to its full capacity and you will end up taking shallow breathes. Shallow breathing will tire you out faster. Using your diaphragm and breathing in using your belly will ensure you sustain your energy through the run.
Practicing belly breathing
- Lie on your back
- Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach
- Take a deep breathe and ensure your belly rises
- Exhale slowly and lower your belly
- Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth
Rhythmic breathing is the next level of belly breathing. It is the best form of breathing to ensure you stay injury free also. It helps coordinate your foot strike with your inhalation. When you inhale your body is tight and this is the perfect way that your foot should strike the road. In a tight state there is less chance of injury. When we exhale the body relaxes and if you strike the ground with your foot at this time you are setting up for body for injury. The stress on your body when you foot hits the road is high so it should be prepared to take that stress and not collapse under it.
Another thing that should be focused on is that you do not exhale and strike your foot down on the same side every time. If one foot is under stress all the time you will increase the risk of injury on that side of your body.
Importance of Rhythmic Breathing
There are several advantages to rhythmic breathing:
- Helps you centre yourself and gain control of your body
- Helps gauge the effort for running
- It allows for precise control
- It has a calming effect
- Helps sustain you through long runs
- Your body is in harmony
It takes time and practice to get the breathing right and runners should spend time on it if they want to run longer and injury free.