One of the hardest parts of running is making sure that your breathing doesn't slow you down or tire you out. Use this guide to get oxygen to your blood faster and more efficiently.
What To Avoid
Chest breathing a.k.a. shallow breathing is something seen in beginner runners all the time. Short breathes in and exhaling out with a lot of pressure. This form is horrible and can really hurt your endurance.
Bobbing your head around like a crazy chicken can also be harmful to your body. Keeping your chin up and straight forward are something I discuss later in this article.
What To Do (Correct Form)
Breathing With Your diaphragm
While it is hard to force your body to take deep even breaths, it's well worth it. The air you breath must go all the way down in your diaphragm. Your diaphragm exists right around your lower stomach and belly button.
Focus on breathing in deeply into your diaphragm. If you are doing it right your stomach area should expand larger than your chest area.
Keep Your Mouth Open And Head Up
Keeping your chin up is very important to maintaining a steady flow of oxygen into your blood stream. If your head is looking one way that is not up and straight ahead you are cheating yourself out of valuable oxygen.
Focus On Your Breathing
Many beginning runners find that focusing on breathing and creating a pattern is incredibly useful for getting into the flow of diaphragm breathing. Over time deep breathing will become more natural and you won't have to think about it.
A pattern you could use is inhaling for 3 steps and exhaling for 3 steps. You can modify this to something you are more comfortable with.
Once you can breathe into your diaphragm as a habit you can start focusing on your ideal airflow of mouth versus nose. I find that taking 75% of the air through my mouth helps me beat cramps and stay happy during my run. Experiment to find your bodies best breathing spot.
Use Other Exercises
Using exercises that exercise your core muscle group can also be effective for breath control. I recommend planks, situps, and leg lifts, or substitute in your favorite ab exercise.
You must realize how important your breath is if you want to enjoy your time as a runner and push forward into faster times or longer distances. Breathing is the most important part of proper running technique.