Breathing Techniques for Running: How it can help your Running.

Breathing hacks for runners

Breathwork For Runners.

Breathing Techniques for running is a very much asked question in running circles. The basic and answer in its simplest form is that everyone of us is different. Below I have tried to address some of the more popular techniques, to help with the best way to breathe while running.

Running is the age-old art of escaping from that “healthy” friend who insists on inviting you for a jog every Saturday morning. We’ve all been there, struggling to keep up with those seemingly superhuman runners. But fear not! Running isn’t just about your physical fitness; it’s about your breathing too. It turns out that all runners have their unique quirks when it comes to coping with the elusive art of breathing while on the run. To help you unlock your inner running beast, we’ve gathered some hilarious insights and tips on the best way to breathe while running, various breathing exercises for running, the proper way to breathe while jogging, and how to control your breathing while running.

Breathing and Running: A Perfectly Imperfect Match

Have you ever wondered why some runners seem to glide effortlessly, while others resemble asthmatic penguins attempting to moonwalk on a treadmill? It’s all in the breath. Each runner has their unique way of dealing with the ever-persistent task of oxygen exchange. Some huff and puff like a locomotive chugging up a hill, while others seem to have an oxygen reserve big enough to power a rocket to Mars.

The truth is, when it comes to breathing during a run, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Runners are a quirky bunch, and their quirks extend to their choice of breathing technique. Some embrace deep diaphragmatic breaths, inhaling with the vigor of a vacuum cleaner at a cat hair convention. Others prefer rhythmic breathing, orchestrating a symphony of inhalations and exhalations in sync with their stride.

Nose breathers are the purists, channeling the elegance of a wine connoisseur as they inhale and exhale exclusively through their nostrils. Mouth breathers, on the other hand, go full turbo mode, opening up the oxygen floodgates to meet the immediate demands of high-intensity workouts. Some opt for belly breathing, expanding their abdomen like a balloon animal to maximize lung capacity, while others master the art of shallow breathing, perfect for those quick sprints or intense bursts.

Pursed-lip breathing, resembling the delicate art of blowing out birthday candles, helps control the breath’s rhythm and fend off side stitches. Alternate nostril breathing, while not a practical in-run technique, serves as a ritual to balance energy before or after the run.

Breath awareness adds a touch of mindfulness to running, inviting you to connect with your breath’s rhythm and sensations.
Cadence breathing, like conducting your own running orchestra, aligns your breath with your cadence, ensuring a consistent and efficient pace.


control breathing while running

In a world where each runner dances to their unique respiratory rhythm, it’s crucial to understand that the best technique depends on various factors. Your fitness level, running intensity, and personal preferences all play a significant role in choosing the right technique. The ability to switch between methods depending on your specific needs is a valuable skill for runners.

Now, let’s dive deeper into each breathing technique:

Breathing Techniques for Running

Diaphragmatic breathing, or as we like to call it, the “deep breath dive,” is your secret weapon. Imagine using your diaphragm, a muscle that’s been hiding beneath your ribcage your whole life, to suck in more air than a vacuum cleaner at a cat hair convention. This technique is perfect for marathon enthusiasts and anyone looking to be the next Iron Lung champion.

To practice diaphragmatic breathing, follow these steps:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place where no one can see you.
  2. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen – not like you’re preparing for an opera solo, but just for reference.
  3. Inhale slowly through your nose, focusing on inflating your abdomen like a balloon animal. Your lower hand should rise, while your upper hand stays as still as a statue.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth and watch that abdomen go back to its shy, non-balloon animal form.

With diaphragmatic breathing, you can master the art of oxygen intake. You’ll be like a human air filter, ensuring a constant flow of fresh air to your muscles, and your endurance will skyrocket.


Rhythmic Breathing Techniques for Running

Let’s talk about rhythmic breathing – the dance party for your lungs. It’s like having your own breathing DJ, ensuring every inhale and exhale hits the beat. Picture yourself syncing your breath to your running stride, like you’re creating your unique cardio symphony.

To give this a whirl:

  1. Start running at a pace you feel comfortable with. Don’t worry; you won’t be judged by the squirrels.
  2. Pay attention to your running stride. Count the steps you take for each inhale and exhale. It’s like creating a running rhythm in your head.
  3. Experiment with different patterns until you find one that suits your running pace and makes you feel as fabulous as a disco queen.
  4. Once you’ve nailed your rhythm, maintain it throughout your run. And don’t forget to imagine your dancefloor.

The American Lung Association – states “Rhythmic breathing can train us to time the force of impact more with our inhalation (more stability in our diaphragm and core muscles) and also train us to shift the impact from the right foot to the left.”

Nose Breathing Techniques for Running

Nose breathing, or as we like to call it, the “nasal ninja,” is the technique for those who want to add a little elegance to their runs. Inhaling and exhaling through your nostrils makes you feel like a seasoned wine taster, savoring the crisp, filtered air. It’s the ideal technique for those who want to filter out impurities, humidify the air, and experience an elevated level of zen during their runs.

To make the most of this method:

  1. Start running at your favorite pace, preferably while pretending to be a wise sage.
  2. Inhale and exhale through your nose like you’re smelling the finest bouquet of air.
  3. Revel in the sensation of air flowing gracefully through your nostrils and nourishing your lungs.

While nose breathing may not be the best choice for a sprint to catch the ice cream truck, it’s great for building endurance and lung health. And it’s far more elegant than drooling while panting.

Mouth Breathing Techniques for Running

Mouth breathing – the go-to technique when your body decides it needs oxygen faster than a kid finishing their Halloween candy stash. It’s your body’s way of saying, “Give me all the air, now!” Picture yourself as a dragon, voraciously inhaling a sea of oxygen to fuel your inner fire. Mouth breathers can be hard to run beside as they are so loud! The easy way to counter this is to run faster than them. Read on.

Key considerations for mouth breathing:

  • It’s your turbo button for oxygen intake.
  • When you’re sprinting like Usain Bolt or escaping from a rogue ice cream truck, your body naturally goes for the mouth breathing option.
  • Plus, it has a cooling effect. Great for hot and humid runs, but not so much for your partner running behind you.

Remember, while mouth breathing is crucial for intense exercise, you’re no quitter. You can switch between nose and mouth breathing as needed to strike the perfect balance between oxygen intake and performance. It’s all about mastering the art of running and breathing simultaneously.

Belly Breathing Techniques for Running

Belly breathing, also known as the “abdominal accordion,” is all about maximizing your lung capacity and oxygen exchange by letting your diaphragm and abdominal muscles do a little dance. This technique is perfect for those who want to feel like they’re inflating their lungs like balloons. Belly breathing can also help with digestive issues too – read this article for 7 ways better breathing can improve your life.

Here’s how you can practice belly breathing:

  1. Find a comfy spot, preferably one where you won’t be mistaken for a yoga enthusiast.
  2. Place your hands on your abdomen, but remember, this isn’t a séance.
  3. Inhale slowly through your nose, directing your breath into your abdomen. Imagine your belly becoming the Michelin Man.
  4. Exhale gently through your mouth, letting your abdomen fall back to its slimmer, non-balloon state.

By mastering belly breathing, you’ll be like an oxygen ninja, optimizing your oxygen intake and lung capacity. No more gasping for breath; you’ll be the marathon Mozart.

Shallow Breathing Techniques for Running

Now, shallow breathing is like the espresso shot of breathing techniques. Perfect for sprinting, high-intensity workouts, and those times when you need a quick hit of oxygen. Think of it as a rapid-fire breathing technique to deliver that oxygen boost.

To give shallow breathing a whirl:

  1. Begin by sprinting or engaging in some high-intensity activity. Maybe you’re fleeing from a swarm of bees – who’s judging?
  2. Focus on quick, shallow breaths, like you’re sprinting through a field of daisies, or, you know, away from those bees.

Shallow breathing is your body’s way of keeping up with the high-octane demands of your muscles during intense exercise. It’s like a pit stop for your lungs to refuel and get you back on track.

Pursed-lip Breathing Techniques for Running

Pursed-lip breathing, resembling the delicate art of blowing out birthday candles, helps control the breath’s rhythm and fend off side stitches. This technique is essential for your “I’m not stopping” running mantra.

Nose breathing tips for runners

To give it a shot:

  1. Start your run at a comfortable pace – not too slow that you’re mistaken for an extra from The Walking Dead, and not too fast that you turn into the Flash.
  2. Inhale through your nose, counting to two. It’s like a quick sip of air.
  3. Exhale through pursed lips for a count of four. Picture yourself blowing out those invisible birthday candles.
  4. Keep this pattern going throughout your run, maintaining a steady rhythm.

Pursed-lip breathing is your secret weapon against side stitches, ensuring that your lungs efficiently expel carbon dioxide. Plus, you’ll look sophisticated while doing it.

jelly 3

Alternate Nostril Breathing Techniques for Running

Now, alternate nostril breathing is like the tea break of breathing techniques. It’s all about balancing your energy and breath through your body. While you might not want to practice this mid-run, it’s perfect before or after your jog to find your inner Zen master.

Here’s how to go with the flow:

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit, preferably away from the chaos of your daily life.
  2. Place your hands in a way that makes you look like you’re about to challenge someone to a thumb war.
  3. Inhale through one nostril, then exhale through the other nostril. Keep switching back and forth like a human seesaw.

Alternate nostril breathing helps balance the flow of energy in your body and promotes relaxation. While not directly related to your running performance, it’s the perfect practice to zen out and connect with your inner runner before or after your jog.

Alternate nostril breathing technique


Breath Awareness

Breath awareness adds a touch of mindfulness to running, inviting you to connect with your breath’s rhythm and sensations. It’s like becoming a Jedi with the Force, tuning into your body’s secret language. Here’s how to practice it:

  1. Start your run at a comfortable pace. Think of yourself as an athlete, but cooler.
  2. Pay attention to your breath, feeling it rise and fall like ocean waves on a sunny beach day.
  3. Tune in to the sensations of each inhalation and exhalation. It’s like your body’s secret language.

Breath awareness isn’t just about running; it’s about mindfulness. It’s about staying in tune with your body and connecting your physical sensations with your mental state, making your runs a spiritual experience.

This all leads to a better mental health too – read another of my articles here.

Cadence Breathing

Cadence breathing is your chance to be the master conductor of your run. It’s all about aligning your breathing with your running cadence, ensuring a consistent and efficient pace. You’ll feel like you’re conducting your running orchestra. To give it a whirl:

  1. Establish your running cadence by counting the number of steps you take per minute. You’re like a human metronome.
  2. Sync your inhalation and exhalation with your cadence. If your cadence is 180 steps per minute, aim to inhale and exhale every three steps.

Cadence breathing ensures you maintain a steady pace, reduces fatigue, and keeps you focused on your run. You’ll be the maestro of your own running symphony.

Factors to Consider

Now, remember that the best breathing technique for running is like choosing the perfect ice cream flavor – it’s highly individualized. It depends on your fitness level, running intensity, and personal preferences. And just like how you sometimes crave chocolate chip cookie dough and other times want triple chocolate fudge, your choice may change with every run. So, stay flexible and open to experimentation. It’s all part of the fun!


So there you have it, a comedic guide to the art of breathing while running. Whether you’re into diaphragmatic breathing for marathons, rhythmic breathing to dance through your runs, or a combination of techniques, you’ve got an array of options to level up your running game.

Just remember, the journey of becoming a seasoned runner isn’t just about your strides and lung capacity; it’s also about mastering the art of breathing. With the right technique and a dash of humor, you can conquer new challenges, explore uncharted distances, and truly enjoy the magic of running. So, lace up those sneakers, take a deep breath (using your newfound techniques), and embark on your running journey with a smile. Happy running! May your breath carry you to new heights in your running adventure.



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