How to breathe while running

How to breathe while running

Table of Contents

Breathing is one of the easiest ways to improve your running performance. This article shows you how to breathe while running.

How to breathe while running

Running can be exhilarating and rewarding but also a struggle if you’re not breathing correctly. Understanding the right way to breathe when running is essential to improve your performance, preventing injuries, and maximizing your workouts. Let’s delve into two main types of breathing techniques: short breaths with upper body movement versus long slow breaths with no upper body tension.

Imagine sprinting towards the finish line or challenging yourself in high-intensity interval training. In these situations, you’ll want to use short breaths in and out combined with upper body movement. This technique helps keep your heart rate up while ensuring an optimal oxygen flow during extreme exertion levels above 80%.

Now let’s shift gears to endurance activities such as distance running – this is where taking long, slow breaths in and out without any upper body tension becomes a game-changer. Why? It’s all about providing enough oxygen to your active muscles during prolonged runs (exceeding 20 minutes). Using an inhale-in/exhale-out technique increases ventilation without unnecessarily elevating your respiratory rate.

Knowing which breathing method to apply based on your exercise type and goal is paramount! Whether you’re gearing up for adrenaline-fueled speed work or setting sights on marathon lengths, mastering the art of breathing will help elevate your performance from ordinary to extraordinary.

So next time you lace up those running shoes, remember – it’s not just about how fast or far you run but also how well you breathe!

Key Takeaways

  • Consistently slouching at your desk can contribute to back pain.
  • Core-strengthening exercises, such as Pilates, are essential for improving posture.
  • Lifting weights and targeting upper body muscles can support the spine and improve posture.
  • Targeting lower back muscles through exercises like prone back extensions and hip bridges can provide pain relief and support the spine.
  • Maintaining good posture is crucial for preventing and reducing back pain.
  • Incorporating core-strengthening exercises, stretching and flexibility exercises, upper body strength training, and targeting lower back muscles can all contribute to better posture and reduced back pain.
  • Posture-enhancing yoga poses can also alleviate back pain and improve posture.
  • Consistently incorporating these habits into your daily routine can lead to long-term benefits for your posture and overall well-being.

How to breathe while running?

Breathing while running can greatly impact your performance and comfort. Here are some tips to help you breathe better:

  1. In Through Your Nose, Out Through Your Mouth: This is a common technique for breathing during exercise. It helps to ensure your body gets enough oxygen and prevents dry mouth.
  2. Use Belly Breathing or Diaphragmatic Breathing: Instead of shallow breathing from your chest, try breathing deep in your belly. Not only does this type of breathing take in more oxygen, but it also helps stabilize your heart rate.
  3. Establish A Breathing Rhythm: Try synchronizing your breath with your steps; for example, inhale every two to four steps and exhale for the same count.
  4. Practice Breath Control During Training: Include workouts focusing specifically on your breath control. Over time, this will become automatic.
  5. Stay Relaxed: Staying relaxed while running can prevent holding tension in the upper body and thus facilitates easier breathing.
  6. Warm Up Properly: Warming up before getting into full pace enables steady increase in breathing and heart rates, making the process smoother.

Everyone is different, so you must find the best rhythm and method for you!

The Art of Breathing When Running: A Comprehensive Guide

Breathing acts as the rhythm section in the symphony of running. It is essential to your performance and overall health during your run. Getting it wrong can hinder your progress, but getting it right can significantly enhance your running experience. This guide will explore two core types of breathing techniques used when running, elucidating their applications and impacts.

Short breaths in and out with upper body movement are typically employed for sprinting or intense short-burst activities, keeping heart rate high and maximizing oxygen delivery during high exertion levels (>80%). Conversely, long slow breaths in and out without upper body movement (tension) are more suited to endurance activities such as distance running. Here, the objective is to increase ventilation without raising respiratory rates unnecessarily – delivering just enough oxygen needed by active muscles during long runs (>20 minutes).

Optimal Breathing Techniques for Runners: Enhancing Performance and Preventing Injury

Mastering proper breathing techniques while running is essential for optimizing performance and minimizing the risk of injury. Whether you have asthma or not, understanding the science behind breathing can significantly impact your running journey. This article explores strategies, including nasal breathing, rhythmic breath patterns, and specific exercises to improve respiratory muscle strength.

Protracted Exhalation

It’s not just about inhaling; extending exhale duration plays a quintessential role here. The optimal time varies depending on individual fitness levels and running speed but typically ranges between 15-20 seconds. Extending exhalations further bolsters lung capacity – ensuring you get every bit of air out before drawing a new breath. Note to self: any sign of pain or discomfort should signal you to dial down the pace.

Mouth Breathing: An Essential During Workouts

While nose breathing has virtues, mouth breathing takes precedence when working in a workout. Primarily because it aids hydration maintenance, reduces cough disruptions, and permits more oxygen to reach the lungs while staving off fatigue or cold-induced germ exposure.

Nose Breathing: Technique Matters

To achieve effective nose breathing during workouts, concentrate on the act itself. You’re aiming for belly expansion on inhalation followed by contraction upon exhalation – dubbed diaphragmatic or belly breathing technique. Incorporate this practice into daily routines, such as lying down before breakfast for optimal results.

Balancing Mouth and Nose Breathing

Mouth and nose breathing during workouts

Combining both methods creates an ideal balance for adequate respiration while running — inhaling through the nostrils while exhaling via mouth achieves maximum benefit from both processes.

Rhythmic Breathing: Stride Synergy

Rhythmic breathing involves coordinating your inhales and exhales with your stride pattern while focusing on maximal lung-filling capacity rather than forceful exhalation.

Tips for mastering rhythmic breathing include avoiding holding breath and focusing on bottom-up filling rather than top-down shallow breaths that impede effective oxygen diffusion into the bloodstream.

As you advance through different stages of running, like deep belly or chest breathing, understanding how changes in pace impact our breath duration is essential too!

Finally, remember that comfort is key! Whether you prefer mouth or nose intake/exhale combination or something else entirely, whichever method feels best for you matters most!

Nasal Breathing: Filtering Air and Boosting Efficiency

For runners, especially those with asthma, nasal breathing offers multiple benefits. By inhaling and exhaling through your nose instead of your mouth, you ensure that the air you breathe is adequately filtered, warmed, and humidified before it reaches your lungs. This helps prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms and allows for efficient oxygen exchange. Nasal breathing also reduces stress on the respiratory muscles, enhancing overall endurance.

Mastering Rhythmic Breath Patterns to Maintain Pace

Understanding breath patterns is essential for maintaining a steady pace during runs. For beginners or those aiming for a conversational pace, utilizing a 3:3 pattern (inhaling for three steps, exhaling for three steps) can be effective. As you progress to faster paces, adjusting the rhythm to a 2:2 or 2:1 pattern enables increased oxygen intake to meet higher demands.

Strengthening Respiratory Muscles with Specific Exercises

Incorporating breathing exercises into your running routine enhances both performance and lung function. Deep belly breaths and rhythmic breathing techniques help strengthen the diaphragm muscle while improving respiratory mechanics. These exercises maximize oxygen intake while efficiently expelling carbon dioxide. Working with a running coach or exercise physiologist can provide personalized guidance on selecting the most appropriate activities based on your goals.

Remember to consult a medical professional before implementing significant changes to your exercise program or if you experience breathing symptoms during runs. Adopting optimal breathing techniques will enhance your running performance and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on your fitness journey.

Here are some tips for learning how to breathe while running:

Don’t hold your breath.

This will only make you feel like you need more oxygen than you do

Focus on filling up from the bottom up

Try not to take shallow breaths from the top down as this makes it harder for oxygen to get into your bloodstream

Breathe in over your left foot.

The best way to breathe while running is to take a long stride and inhale as your left foot lands on the ground. As your body rises up during the swing phase of the stride, take another deep breath, exhaling over your right foot as it makes contact with the ground. By doing this, you’ll avoid taking shallow breaths that can lead to hyperventilation or dizziness during or after exercise.

Deep belly breathing

Deep belly breathing

The most common form of running breathing is chest breathing, which tends to be shallow and inefficient. The chest wall muscles may not be working as hard as they could be, which can cause fatigue in the legs much sooner than otherwise.

Belly breathing is a more efficient way to breathe while running. It’s also called diaphragmatic breathing because it uses the diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle located just below your lungs, to expand and contract your chest cavity. When your belly breathes, you fill your chest cavity with air but keep your abdomen (the area below your chest) relaxed and flat.

How to Do Belly Breathing While Running?

Belly breathing can help you run longer and faster by improving oxygen delivery. In addition, it may lower your heart rate, allowing you to recover quicker between bouts of exercise or long runs. To use belly breathing during exercise:

Focus on relaxing your upper body to focus on diaphragmatic breathing without being distracted by other factors like posture or movement patterns (e.g., lifting shoulders when we breathe). 

Chest breathing

Chest breathing is the most common type of breathing for runners. In chest breathing, you breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. Chest breathing creates a vacuum in your chest that draws air in. This type of breathing is most common when running because it’s easy to do and doesn’t require a lot of concentration.

Chest breathing is often called “belly breathing” because it pushes your belly out when you breathe in and then relaxes as you exhale. However, if you’re not sure if you’re doing it right, there are other ways to tell if you’re doing chest breathing:

Your shoulders move up and down with each breath

You hear yourself breathing with each step (this can be hard to hear on windy days).

If you’re a chest breather, the breath starts in your chest when you breathe in. When you exhale, you do so primarily through your mouth.

Chest breathing can be an issue during exercise because it causes your diaphragm to work harder to pull air into your lungs. This causes the body to use larger muscles to breathe, and these muscles can fatigue more easily.

Plus, chest breathing may lead to shallow breaths that don’t provide enough oxygen for optimal performance. So if you are out of breath when running or doing other exercises, try taking some time off and focus on learning to breathe correctly.

Shallow breathing

It’s hard to breathe while running. And it’s even harder to breathe deeply.

Shallow breathing is common among runners, leading to chest pain and lung tightness. “The more you run, the more you develop a habit of shallow breathing,” says Michael Sachs, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Boston Marathon Medical Team member.

Shallow breathing occurs when your chest rises and falls quickly, but your stomach barely moves. This means you’re not getting enough oxygen into your bloodstream because you aren’t taking deep breaths that fill your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs). Your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body when you’re running if it’s not getting enough oxygen from each breath. That can make you feel tired and short of breath even though you’ve been exercising for a short time.

Breathing pattern

Breathing while running is a complex process, and it is essential to understand the best way to breathe when you are running. When running, you should try to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This will help you to maintain a steady rhythm and prevent hyperventilation.

When you run, your body needs more oxygen than at rest, so it makes sense that your breathing rate will increase. However, taking in too much air too quickly and holding it in your lungs for too long can cause hyperventilation. When this happens, carbon dioxide levels in the blood fall too low (hypocapnia), and oxygen levels rise above normal levels (hyperoxia). Hyperventilation can also occur if you breathe too shallowly; this takes in less air per breath than normal but still uses up all of the available oxygen in your lungs. Breathing deeply but slowly through your nose while running is the best way to avoid hyperventilation.

The best way to become aware of how you should be breathing is by practicing mindful meditation or yoga. These activities teach you to control your breathing and observe your body’s signals while exercising. They also help relieve stress and improve overall health and well-being – two things that can make a huge difference in how easily and fast you run!

How you breathe is based on what feels the most comfortable for yourself.

How you breathe is based on what feels the most comfortable for yourself.

Now that you know how to breathe while running, it’s important to point out that your breathing technique will depend on what feels the most comfortable. You can breathe through your nose and mouth or only one at a time. Some people prefer to inhale through their nose and exhale through their mouth, while others do it in reverse. It’s entirely up to you!

When we run, we tend not to pay as much attention as we should when breathing—especially if it feels natural. We don’t think about which nostril we’re breathing through or whether our chest rises and falls with each inhales/exhales cycle; instead, we do what’s easiest (sometimes, this means holding our breath!). But if you’re having trouble getting enough oxygen during those long runs or feeling dizzy after jogging around the block once too often, then maybe now would be a good time for self-reflection on how exactly this process should work without causing any damage over time.


1. How should I breathe while running? To optimize your breathing while running, try to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth in a steady rhythm.

2. Should I breathe from my chest or belly? It’s best to breathe from your diaphragm, allowing your belly to expand as you inhale deeply. This helps maximize oxygen intake and promotes efficient breathing.

3. How can I control my breathing while running? Practice rhythmic breathing techniques like the 2:2 or 3:3 pattern, where you match your inhales and exhales to your steps. This can help you maintain a steady breathing rhythm.

4. Are there any specific techniques to improve breathing efficiency? Yes, you can try pursed-lip breathing, where you slightly constrict your lips during exhales. This helps slow down your breathing and can improve overall efficiency.

5. What should I do if I experience shortness of breath while running? If you feel short of breath, slow down your pace or take a short break. Focus on deep breaths and gradually resume running when you feel ready.


So there you have it, a few different ways to breathe during your next workout! Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule here, and it won’t make or break your performance if you do it wrong. We recommend trying out various methods and seeing what feels the most comfortable. This will help develop good habits and prevent injuries caused by overworking specific muscles.