Shortness of breath, inadequate breath and lack of oxygen can cause early fatigue, cramps and discomfort for a beginner runner. Proper breathing techniques ensure that runs are enjoyable and comfortable.
Ease your way into a running program. Run at a slow pace initially; your respiratory system will gain endurance and strength with each run.
Breathing drills before a run warm up the muscles and get oxygen flowing to the lungs and throughout the body. Deep breathing, or diaphragm breathing, opens up the lungs, filling them with air and helping them dispel carbon dioxide (waste in the body). Lie on the ground and take a deep breath. Inhale as much as possible, hold your breath for 5 seconds and then fully expel the breath. During inhalation, your stomach should cave in, and it should expand toward the ceiling during exhalation. Without holding your breath, incorporate deep breathing into your runs.
Breathing through the nose allows the body to warm and filter air before it enters the lungs, while mouth breathing allows the facial muscles to relax during a run. All runners are unique and should find a pattern of breathing that works best for them. Some feel more comfortable with nasal rather than mouth breathing, while some prefer a combination of both. Try all three and and see which feels natural and makes your body feel more comfortable and strong during a run.
Poor posture can affect breathing during a run. Beginner runners tend to cave their shoulders forward when they become tired. This posture tightens the chest muscles and makes breathing more challenging during a run. Relax your upper body and shoulders and stand straight during a run. Slow down or walk if you get tired; don't compromise your form.
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