Breathing techniques for runners!

Running is amazing for your body in so many ways. Its a great way to burn calories quickly. For some people its even therapeutic. 

However, running is also tiresome and can be hard on the joints. Since we do quite a bit of HIIT running in Circutiworks we thought we would share some tips on how to make this portion of the workout more enjoyable.

Breathing techniques
Breathe in for 3 steps, out for 2 steps. Even if this technique is only helpful by distracting you from the pain, it works. However in theory, there is more to it than that.... Let me explain.
When your foot hits the ground, the force of impact equals two to three times your body weight, and as research by Utah's Bramble and Carrier showed, the impact stress is greatest when your foot strikes the ground at the beginning of an exhalation. This is because when you exhale, your diaphragm and the muscles associated with the diaphragm relax, creating less stability in your core. Less stability at the time of greatest impact makes a perfect storm for injury.
So always landing on the same foot at the beginning of exhalation compounds the problem: It causes one side of your body to continuously absorb the greatest impact force of running, which causes it to become increasingly worn down and vulnerable to injury.  Rhythmic breathing, on the other hand, coordinates footstrike with inhalation and exhalation in an odd/even pattern so that you will land alternately on your right and left foot at the beginning of every exhalation. This way, the impact stress of running will be shared equally across both sides of your body.

Rhythmic breathing also creates a pathway to a deep centeredness. Practitioners of every style of yoga, martial arts, relaxation, and meditation use breath work to connect mind, body, and spirit. In the martial arts, this inner connection and centeredness allows more immediate and precise control of the physical body.

The same can be accomplished in running through rhythmic breathing. You achieve centeredness first by focusing your mind on fitting your breathing to an optimal footstrike pattern. Then your awareness of breathing links mind and body and creates a smooth pathway to gauging the effort of running. Rhythmic breathing helps you feel your running, and that ability to feel your running allows you immediate and precise control. 

As I mentioned before, you can see now how this also has the ability to distract your mind. Breathing patterns are also used in meditation. The ability to clear your mind and zen out will prevent you from focusing on things like the timer, pace, or how exhausted you are.

Another thing, working your diaphragm to its fullest potential allows your lungs to expand to their greatest volume and fill with the largest amount of air, which of course you need for your running. The more air you inhale, the more oxygen is available to be transferred through your circulatory system to your working muscles.

Practice. It seems silly, but these breathing techniques do take a little practice. Try it the next time you're in CircuitWorks or on a run. Promise it helps!

Source: Runnersworks and Budd Coates