A Deep Breath

While running, I find myself panting for air.  I slow down and my breathing gets under control but the second I start back running, I lose it again.  And when I say panting, I really mean panting.

And this breathing difficulty is not just due to running.  I have a tendency to pull my stomach in when I inhale and push it out when I exhale (who does that?) which definitely means I’m not using my full lung capacity.

What gives?

I’m trying out a few breathing exercises to see if I can improve my breathing.  I’m convinced that improved breathing would increase my running endurance.  So here’s what I’ve found thus far.

Use your diaphragm: If I use my diaphragm when breathing, I’ll take in significantly more air and be able to run longer distances.  To train my body to breathe deeply, I need to lay on the floor with a book on my stomach.  Practice inhaling deeply so that the book rises and exhaling slowly so that the book falls.  Focus my attention on the book.  The other diaphragmatic exercises involve the same general principle but from seated and standing positions (sans book).

Run to a cadence: In this way, you time your breathing to your steps.  Recommended cadences are 2/2 and 3/3 although you should do what feels best for you.  You inhale for the specified number of steps and exhale for the specified number of steps.  Because your drawing out the breathing process, the panting problem is remedied.

I’m trying both of these.  Let’s see if they enable me to run longer than 2 miles.

How to you regulate your breathing when running/exercising?  Are there any resources you can recommend?

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One Comment

  1. Carol Frank
    Posted January 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I do the same thing. I have found that the breathing technique that is taught in yoga is helpful. It teaches you to inhale deeply and to exhale using your abdominals.

    Or I should say I used to do it. I stopped jogging a long time ago and went for power walking. That is more my speed and I can keep it up on a regular basis, provided my back can take it.

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