Many factors affect our running stamina; lack of sleep, stress, diet, but one important factor that runners tend to forget about is our breathing technique. Learning to regulate our breathing when we run makes a huge difference in our energy, stamina and muscle power. Our body benefits from fresh oxygen on each stride.
Tips to Improve our breathing:
Take deep breaths- Our lungs are just a bit smaller than our rib cage, but most people only use the top of their very powerful organ. When taking a deep breath, our lungs expand, pressing down the diaphragm, causing our abdomen to expand as our lungs fill with air. Learning to take deep breaths while running will help to increase the oxygen intake, preventing nausea and dizziness, especially while doing some uphill or fast paced running. Including some breathing training and stretching to release the torso and rib cage, will help so we can breathe to our full potential and increase our endurance and stamina. Doing some yoga sessions can help us learn to breathe from our diaphragm.
Match your breathing to your steps- Training for the proper breathing tempo takes a bit of practice when running; at an easy pace try to inhale 3-4 steps and exhale for the same amount. Count the steps in your head to adjust the breathing tempo. When running at a faster pace, increase your breathing tempo to support your energy output and run faster. At a faster pace, try to breathe in for 1-2 steps and exhale for the same amount. If you can’t match your breathing tempo to your steps, that means you are running above your level, slow down and get back into your rhythm.
Dealing with breathing in cooler weather- When running in very cold weather, breathing can be challenging. It is important to breathe through the nose while running in cooler weather, because cold air is dry and breathing through the mouth increases the dryness while decreasing the temperature of the air. The feeling we get when breathing through the mouth is asthma-like symptoms, wheezing, coughing. Breathing through the nose has other benefits, such as filtering out air impurities and warming cool air to the body temperature, creating less shock for the lungs.
Learning to breathe through the nose- While running I often mention how important it is to take some deep breaths through the nose. When we are not use to it, some practice might be necessary. Breathing through the nose helps breathe more deeply and efficiently, which helps no matter what the temperature is. When you find yourself huffing and puffing, take a deep breath in to get a great amount of oxygen in your body. To do this regularly when running will help increase your stamina. Also, eating beetroots or drinking beetroot juice or shots will have a major impact on our oxygen need. Beetroots contain nitrate which is converted to nitric oxide when processed by the body. Nitric oxide increases blood flow to the muscles, which makes it easier for our “power generators” known as mitochondria to produce energy while reducing the oxygen cost.
So try to focus on your breathing technique when training, eat and drink some nice beetroot to increase your stamina and improve the ability to withstand the training intensity for a longer period of time.
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!