Running Well: Breathe

I believe that one of the ways to live a simple life is to carefully choose a few select activities to pursue and to focus on really excelling at them. For me, running has become one of those select activities that I want to become really good at. Running is a great form of exercise. It’s cheap. It’s a great cardio workout that gets your heart pumping. And you can do it anywhere. Best of all is running outside in beautiful weather, which I love to do.

But I’ve noticed that I’m really not very good at running yet. At all. My form is nonexistent save for a few techniques I picked up from Chi Running (most notably keeping my feet straight instead of letting them bow out as I run). My breathing sucks and I am constantly heaving in breathes through my mouth, without rhythm, and clearly in a way that prevents the proper flow of oxygen I need to keep my energy up. I don’t have a warm up or cool down routine, which seem to be an important part of the running process. I guess the main problem is that I don’t have an established running checklist, a routine that ensures I’m building good habits that point to a long and fulfilling running career.

I decided to start with breathing. Baby steps, right? This is what I found:

  • Chi Running recommends a technique called belly breathing. This is something I was also taught while I was learning Pilates and yoga. Essentially, you inhale air into your stomach instead of your chest, which allows you to ingest more fresh oxygen than if you were just breathing into your upper lungs.
  • Breathe through your nose and mouth. Get as much oxygen as you can into your body while running. Generally, most of the articles I read recommended a 3:2 inhale to exhale ratio.

There are some helpful videos from the Internet I found valuable that discussed breathing while running. I’m definitely going to consciously utilize these techniques as I continue my runs this week. Here goes!

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