This article in Women’s Running discusses ways of improving breathing control while running. Better breathing will help you run better and improve your performance.
Control your breathing to improve your running
Your breathing may feel laboured while running. However if you breathe correctly you will find running becomes easier. The article refers to four ways that will help.
Loosen up and check your posture
It suggests that the way you hold yourself could interfere with your breathing. Perhaps you are stiffening your rib cage as you run. If so, this will affect the way you breathe. You need to ‘free your rib cage’. Sean Carey, world-renowned practitioner in the Alexander Technique explains how to do this in the article.
Synchronise your breathing with your running
This is what Professor Alison McConnell suggests to make your breathing more comfortable while running. To achieve this start to inhale as your right foot strikes the ground. Continue to inhale as your left foot strikes. You should then start to exhale as your right foot strikes the ground for the second time.
Get in touch with your diaphragm
Another idea that is proposed is to ‘discover your diaphragm’ once again. As you get older, as a result of stress and poor posture, you start to develop poor breathing habits. This includes breathing from your chest. You should be breathing from your diaphragm, your main breathing muscle. Like any other muscle your diaphragm can suffer fatigue. This will result in laboured and uncomfortable breathing. It can also lead to intense breathlessness.
Research has shown that exhausted breathing muscles will divert blood away from your legs, to help keep you breathing. This will result in the supply of oxygen to your legs being reduced. As a result your running performance will be impaired.
How POWERbreathe can help
POWERbreathe Inspiratory Muscle Training specifically targets your breathing muscles. It exercises them. You breathe in through the device against a ‘load’, or resistance. It’s this resistance that exercises your breathing muscles to become stronger. Stronger breathing muscles means more breathing stamina too and reduced fatigue. This in turn will improve your performance. You’ll be able to run for longer and with less effort.
Practice deep breathing
The final tip offered by Women’s Running is to practise pranayama, yogic breathing. But POWERbreathe IMT can also help you here. By using POWERbreathe IMT you are training yourself to take deep breaths. This will help you breathe to your full capacity.
The article finishes by offering some good advice. That is to think about breathing from your diaphragm and deep breathing as you walk. As you become more confident and it becomes more natural, you can introduce it while running.