Ever wondered why after months of running you are still not able to cross the 2km barrier? Here are some fitness tips validated by our Fitness Expert Leena Mogre, on how to improve your performance and up your game while on the run!
Lesson One: Stop breathing from your nose
No, it does not save stamina, in fact, it just uses up more. Start breathing from your mouth and see the change for yourself. I say this from experience - It helped me break the 25-minute barrier on my 5km run.
Lesson Two: Breathe from the abdomen and not with your chest
Breathing from your chest can lead to hyperventilation. The main muscle that helps you breathe is the diaphragm. This muscle separates your chest from your abdomen, and it's what helps you inhale and exhale; hence, breathing from your abdomen helps activate the diaphragm which will then, in turn, help you breathe.
Keep your hand on your belly and take long deep breaths and feel the back and forth motion on your belly. It should alternate: while you exhale, the belly should move inwards and while inhaling, the belly should move outwards. According to running expert Budd Coates “to practice breathing from your abdomen, lay on your back and breathe deeply, after that you can work your way up to breathing in sync with counting in your head and then progress to walking, jogging, and running.”
This rhythm reduces the constant huffing and puffing, thus giving you good momentum on your run.
Lesson Three: Find your pattern
Studies have found that inexperienced runners typically have no pattern to their breathing, while experienced runners synchronize their breathing with their stride for efficiency and pace. Most runners have a breathing pattern which they religiously follow until it becomes an unconditional habit.
Alternating your breaths with your footsteps is a common technique. According to most experts, to fully oxygenate the muscles and body and completely clear the body of carbon dioxide we should breathe with a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio, in time with our foot strikes. This means if you inhale on the left, right, left foot strikes, you should exhale on the right, left. However, if you’re really pushing the pace you may find it drops to a 2:1 ratio. Breathing in a set pattern like this can also have a soothing effect.
The Final Lesson: Test yourself
Try speaking full sentences out loud while running without panting or slowing down. It will come with practice, but it's a good test only test to make sure you are doing it right.
This guide should help you on your way towards breathing right on your run and keeping that heart pumping without tiring yourself. Hopefully, you should also cross that finish line with a personal best! Now that you've learned how to breathe right, check out how to eat right and do it right for improving your runtime and performance.
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