In the same vein as the daily breathing tools, I thought I’d list some of the breathing methods I find useful when running. I’ve thought of some names to hopefully help remind what each one is for, alongside a brief description of how to use each one.
Roll – For those easy runs, where you just roll along for as long as need be.
- Breathe through your nose for the whole run. Keep your breathing calm and run to the speed that this dictates.
- If never tried nasal breathing when running before START EASY!!!! Choose a middle portion of a run and nasally breathe for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Repeat for the next easy run.
- Slowly increase the time that you nasally breathe on your easy run until you can run like this for the whole run
On Your Marks – Something to try before an interval / speed / tempo set to push oxygen into your muscles, to work your diaphragm and get your body primed.
- The last km of your warm up run (or last 5 minutes) all of this is done through nasal breathing.
- For the first 500m of the last KM inhale / exhale and hold your breath for 5 paces.
- Take another 3 breaths nasally and repeat the 5 pace breath hold
- After 500m extend the breath hold to 10 paces.
- Continue the 3 breaths / 10 pace hold until you reach the end of the last KM of your warm up.
- Alternatively do 5 pace hold for 2.5 minutes and 10 pace hold for 2.5 minutes.
Get Set – Pre running get your lungs, thoracic spine & diaphragm ready to work.
- Stand up straight, arms crossed over and hands holding onto opposite shoulder blades at back
- Take a long, slow nasal inhale as you let go of your shoulder blades, straighten your arms, spread your arms out as wide as you can forcing your shoulder blades together. Visualise your diaphragm being drawn down, air being pulled into the base of your lungs as your rib cage expands front, sides and back allowing your lungs to fill with air.
- When finished inhaling bring your arms back together to your starting position (holding opposite shoulder blades). As you exhale picture your diaphragm returning to its’ resting position, lungs emptying, ribcage contracting back to original size.
- Repeat another 5 times for a total of at least 6 good breaths.
GO – Following on from Get Set, after drills and mobility the last exercise to carry out before you GO!!!
- Find a straight stretch, no more than around 50m long.
- Stand at the beginning of the stretch, breathe in / out through the nose and hold.
- Begin to walk a few paces, then jog, run, then stride until you feel definite air hunger.
- Stop and take 6 small sips of air, in and out, through your nose.
- Stand still and recover for 30 seconds.
- Do another 4 sets (for a total of 5 and no more than 5)
- Do your session.
Lift – This is a great tool to use mid tempo / hill / interval / speed work to get recover your breathing, focus, mind, body and prep yourself for the next set.
- At the end of your set 5 full breaths in through the nose and fully exhale through the mouth. Really empty the lungs of any waste CO2, stale air and helps the diaphragm move in a more relaxed fashion
- Next 5 sets of physiological sighs. 2 quick nasal inhales, followed by 1 full mouth exhale. This pops open the airsacs in your lungs to allow more oxygen back into the blood.
- These first 2 exercises should take around 30 seconds
- Now breathe nasally for the next 30 seconds, slow down your inhales and exhales. Allow the carbon dioxide to push the oxygen into your muscles, feel your body recovering, feel your heart rate slowing a little, feel your tiredness being replaced by focus and readiness to go again. If feeling strong go onto next stage below, otherwise continue to slow breath and feel body recover
- Next 30 seconds small breath holds (inhale / exhale and hold for 5 paces of walk / run recovery). After each hold take 3 more nasal breaths and repeat. If feeling strong go onto next stage below
- Next 30 seconds small breath holds (inhale / exhale and hold for 10 paces of walk / run recovery). After each hold take 3 more nasal breaths and repeat.
- End of small breath holds go back to full breath in though nose, exhale and allow lungs to empty (do not force this) ready to start again
Done – At the end of any session time to tell your brain, body, muscles, central nervous system, the lot that you are done.
- You’ve finished work, finished all of that good stress, now time to recover.
- This will switch your body into a rest / parasympathetic state that lets all that adaptation you want begin to happen.
- Sit down, if possible lie down and close your eyes to focus your attention on your breath and body
- Carry this out all nasally. Breathe in for 5 seconds (6 if you can manage) and without a pause let your exhale happen for the same amount of time.
- At the ned of your exhale inhale in a connected fashion, leaving no pause between the exhale and inhale
- Repeat this for 2 – 3 minutes.
- This will bring your heart rate down and in tune with your breathing.
- It will help your reinforce the movement patterns just worked on.
- If it is hard time wise then doing in a shower, whilst walking post session, driving or however you are getting back home. The most important thing is the timing of the breaths being to a count of 5 or 6 seconds, and no pause between the inhales / exhales.