Ever wonder why some days you feel like you can keep runningand running while on others you have zero stamina? Certainly the amount ofsleep you got the night before, stress levels, and diet play arole in how you perform during your runs, but how you regulate your breathduring your jogging session also affects your energy levels. Here’s how topower your muscles with fresh oxygen on each stride.
Learn to breathe deeply: Your lungs are just a bit smaller than your rib cage,but most people tend to use just the top third of this powerful organ. When youtake a deep breath, you are expanding the lungs, pressing down the diaphragm,and causing your abdomen to expand as your lungs fill with air. Learning tobreathe this way while running helps you take in a lot of oxygen, preventingdizziness and nausea. With a little training and some stretching, you canbreathe to your full potential and increase your endurance. Cross-training withyoga and Pilates can also help you learn to breathe from your diaphragm, ascan meditation.
Match your breathing to your steps: For an easy-paced run, inhale for threeor four steps, then exhale for the same amount. Count the steps in your headwhile you adjust to breathing on tempo. If you are running more intensely, yourbreathing tempo will increase to support your increased energy output andbecome faster — a breath in for one to two steps and out for one to two steps.If you can’t match your steps to your breathing tempo, then you aretrying to run too fast; slow down, and get back into your rhythm.
Breathe differently in cooler temps: It’s important to breathe through yournose while running in chillier weather, because cold air is dry and breathingthrough your mouth increases the dryness while decreasing the temperature ofthe air. Since your lungs do not like dry air, you can experience asthma-likesymptoms, like wheezing and coughing, when breathing cold air in through yourmouth. Breathing through your nose not only filters out air impurities but alsowarms cool air to body temperature, creating less shock for the lungs todecrease those asthma-like symptoms.
Learn to breathe through your nose: If nose breathing is difficult for you,start experimenting with the technique now before the temperature dropsdrastically. Breathing through the nose helps you breathe more deeply andefficiently, which will ultimately help your running no matter what thetemperature is. If you plan to run in cold temps and have yet to master nosebreathing, you can try wearing a bandana (or a shirt that can be pulled up far)over your nose and mouth to help trap the moisture of your breath and humidityin the air before it reaches your lungs.