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How to breathe while running: tricks for good oxygenation

If we are able to control and train our breathing, we will deliver a greater amount of oxygen to the muscles more efficiently.

Breathing is something natural that we do automatically from birth, and perhaps this is why, when we enter the world of ‘running‘, we focus on adding kilometers, do series, train slopes, even in food or rest, but no one talks about breathing. We limit ourselves to catching and releasing air. However, we have all experienced those days when we pick up the pace and our breathing doesn’t seem to keep up with us: we have the feeling that not enough air is getting through.

Oxygen reaches our body through the lungs and is essential for muscle function. When we perform aerobic exercise such as running, we need it in large quantities: a trained athlete can increase his oxygen consumption during intense effort up to 30 times more than at rest. If we are able to control and train our breathing, we will deliver more oxygen to the muscles more efficiently.


How should we breathe?

It is usual to take air through the nose and expel it through the mouth, but there are people who do it indistinctly. Here there is no consensus: breathe through the nose or through the mouth, as you do it freely in the most natural way. Breathing through the nose offers advantages: the air enters the lungs cleaner and in the right conditions of temperature and humidity. However, about 50% of the work involved in moving air is done in the path from the nose to the mouth, which is why when we are fatigued, we tend to reduce the work of breathing, breathing through the mouth.

Try to take in air deeply, from the diaphragm, until you fill your lungs completely to use all your lung capacity. You will notice that your abdomen swells. Then expel the air completely. It is very useful to concentrate on your own breathing, trying to reduce the frequency and increasing the volume of air moved. The exercise itself develops lung capacity and exercises the abdominal muscles, diaphragm and thoracic musculature. Running will also provide us with an upright posture, without slouching, keeping the head forward and a correct posture of the arms.

It is very easy to see that, by maintaining a steady pace, we lower our heart rate.

Maintain a constant pace over time, which is easy to maintain, natural, not forced, and can be increased or decreased depending on the pace of the race.
Fast and shallow breathing is not effective breathing, because not enough oxygen will reach the muscles, the body will increase the heart rate to try to compensate and in turn the oxygen demands will increase. In the end, we will end up exhausted.

Nowadays, it is very common to run with heart rate monitors. It is very easy to see that, while maintaining a steady pace, if we take deep and less frequent breaths, our heart rate drops; and vice versa: if we take fast and shallow breaths, our heart rate increases.

As with other aspects, breathing in running also requires us to train it, to be aware of it and to make it more effective. At first it will be difficult, but then we will create the habit, we will do it automatically, it will be easier to maintain and we will increase our performance.

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