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How to Let Oxygen Power Your Run (Basically How To Breathe While Running)

September 20, 2015


Okay, okay. I know you know how to breathe.

But did you know that most people only use one third of  their lung’s capacity? One third?!!!

Oxygen is really important (duh). This is why really knowing how to breathe while running is a big deal. Everyone knows that. But do you know why?

It’s because oxygen basically powers your muscles and can actually have a big effect on your energy. When oxygen is brought to your lungs, a chemical exchange happens that results in the production of ATP.  When your body doesn’t have enough oxygen, your muscles make glucose into lactic acid instead of ATP which makes you start to feel tired and run down.

Here are some super tips on how to breathe while running (and in turn, power up your run!).


+ Figure out the best way to breathe through your nose.

This may sound funny but there’s more to having a proper running breath than just trying to suck all air in through your nose. In colder air, you may want to try to take in air more slowly to reduce the shock of the cold. If you just generally have trouble breathing through your nose, you can try inhaling mostly through your nose and then a bit through your mouth. It’s all about trial and error.

+ Breathe from your diaphragm!

This way you’ll be getting more air in a more powerful way. All you need to do is feel like you’re pushing down on your abdomen when you inhale. Let your stomach expand. Congrats, you just used your lungs’ full capacity! Isn’t learning how to breathe while running fun?

+ Breathe on the beat.

Figure out a rhyme that works for you. Inhale for two steps, exhale for three or match your breath to your music. The goal here is consistency. Once you have a good beat, you won’t even have to think about your breathing and can really zone out ad enjoy that run.

+ Don’t breathe too slowly.

You know those days when you just can’t find your beat? You may actually just be breathing too slowly. Your body not only needs oxygen, but also needs to get rid of carbon dioxide. No one wants to be panting mid-stride but if you’re having breathing trouble speeding up your breathe just a bit can help. Again, it’s all about finding what works for you.

+ Got a stitch? Don’t panic.

If you get stitches when your run (a sharp pain by a lower rib), fear not. There’s a super magical trick that can get rid of them in seconds. All you have to do is start inhaling on the opposite foot-strike. So if you find yourself starting your breath when your left foot is down, try inhaling on the right foot instead. You can also try fixing your posture; straighten up and use that diaphragm breathing.

What are your running tips? How do you find your pace?


*image from here


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