When it comes to Marathon Training and running athletes are always looking for ways to train smarter and not harder. In this quest to train smarter it has emerged that you can actually improve your running by controlling the way you breathe. You are probably wondering what breathing has to do with anything. Let’s review this marathon breathing techniques below.
Well stay with me and I’ll let you in on the secret on exactly how you are supposed to be breathing whilst running. I will give you some of the best Marathon Training Breathing Techniques known to the best runners of our time.
The Role of Breathing in Running
The explanation of the role breathing plays in running is largely scientific but I will break it down and simplify it for you and by the time I’m done it won’t sound scientific at all. You already know that the body needs large amounts of energy during endurance running.
If you read through the marathon training diet articles on this site you will find more detailed discussions of this.
The energy is usually stored by the body as glycogen and then converted to energy when running. The process of converting glycogen to energy requires oxygen. And in a nutshell, there is your explanation right there. So the idea is to control your breathing when you are running in such a way that your body receives enough oxygen to cope with your activity level.
There are some people who tend to run out of breathing whilst running and then get tired quite quickly. The problem might just lie in the way they are breathing. If they could change the way they breathe they just might notice an improvement in their performance level.
Marathon Training Breathing Techniques – How to Breathe When Running
Mouth vs. Nose
Normally we breathe through our nostrils. This is because the normal everyday activity does not require large amounts of oxygen. When endurance running however you do need a large amount of oxygen and the amount supplied by the nostrils is not enough to live up to the level that is required by the body.
So; when running you should largely be breathing through your mouth.
You can use your nostrils as well together with your mouth but a larger percentage of the oxygen require will be via the oral cavity.
Chest Breathing vs. Belly Breathing
You probably know what chest breathing is and might not quite understand what belly breathing is. Well to explain what belly breathing is I would advise you to lie on your back and breathe when you see just your chest rise and fall that is chest breathing if you notice your stomach/belly rise and fall as you breathe then that is belly breathing.
Now that you know what belly breathing is, that is how you should be breathing also when you are running. The advantage of belly breathing is that you inhale in more oxygen and expel more carbon dioxide as opposed to when you are chest breathing.
It is quite hard to master belly breathing as initially, it will require a conscious effort on your part, with time however itis something that you will be able to do subconsciously.
In addition to breathing from your belly, your breathing needs to have a certain rhythm to it. Rapid shallow breaths usually tend to leave you breathless and wanting more oxygen. Instead, you should try and take slow and deep breaths, inhale fully and fill your lungs. When you are exhaling you should do the same as well, exhale fully and expel as much carbon dioxide as you can.
There are some experts that even go so far as to recommend a breathing pattern that involves counting the number of strides and inhaling and exhaling after a certain number of strides. Whilst this does work imagine having to concentrate on belly breathing, counting strides, inhaling, and exhaling, I mean, this is, after all, meant to be a simple uncomplicated marathon training.
When it comes to running and breathing I would recommend that you take slow deep breaths. As for the frequency and timing, do what feels comfortable for you. If you feel you can handle calculating length of strides then you are welcome to try it.
So there are some of the best Marathon Training Breathing Techniques. Continue below for more information.
Other Ways to Improve Your Breathing
There are also some exercises that you can do to improve your breathing. The idea is to get your lungs used to filling to capacity and strengthening your diaphragm. I won’t go through them here but you can check out RunnersWorld.com for some tutorials and videos that you can use to stop huffing and puffing whilst you run.
Read also: Marathon Training For Beginners