Did you know that breathing inefficiently during your runs could be the reason you’re not progressing or meeting your running potential?

Most new runners don’t have a pattern to their breathing yet as they focus more on their running technique. As a runner, you may be thinking more about your stride, keeping your knees in line, pushing on and off while watching your elbows. You think more about maintaining a proper running form as you push yourself faster and farther.

And if you didn’t think that your breathing was an essential component to your running performance, you’d be wrong.

Nose or Mouth?

You need as much oxygen as possible while you’re running and you get the most oxygen through mouth breathing.

Nose breathing and chest breathing is much too shallow a form of breathing for running. They simply don’t bring in the adequate amount of oxygen you require and doesn’t fully expel your lungs when you exhale. For these reasons, the best runners don’t breathe through their noses when they run as it slows them down.

Breathing through your nose is mostly associated with meditation. Because the breaths are shallow, they put your mind and body in a calm and relaxed state. While running can be quite therapeutic for most, staying alert is crucial for runners and getting enough oxygen guarantees that.

Many experienced runners have developed a breathing rhythm to run to. What is a breathing rhythm?

Ask yourself how many steps you take during your inhale and how many you take during your exhale. If you take 2 steps as you breathe in and then 2 steps as you breathe out, your breathing rhythm is 2:2.

Remember that we’re not all the same. Breathing rhythms between individuals vary. Your running buddy may have a different breathing rhythm and forcing yourself to follow their pattern may hurt your running performance it doesn’t feel natural for you.

Instead, listen to your internal cues. Be aware of natural inclination to inhale and exhale with every step. Does breathing through your mouth feel right or do you find yourself inhaling through your nose? If you do, make the necessary corrections. You may struggle with the transition at first, but it will feel natural soon enough.

Ultimately, when it comes to a breathing technique when running, consistency is the most important thing. Not only will your running improve but your lungs and breathing muscles will get stronger.