March 30, 2012
Once you get over the intimidation of running, finding a steady breathing pattern will help your run efficiency.
Short shallow breaths are detrimental to your performance. It’s a common mistake because many people feel they should just know how to breath. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. When you’re running, your body feels similar, and has similar biological reactions it would have if you were scared or in a panic (flight or fight). Muscles need oxygen. Blood pumps oxygen. Heart rate increases. Oxygen enters the body through breathing thus, we breathe faster or heavier or deeper. Unconsciously, the body may feel like short quick breaths are the best way to increase our oxygen levels. On the contrary, the body does not receive enough oxygen making our heart rate increase and we feel much worse than we should. Hmmm…That may be a lot of information.
To the point: consciously breathe long deep breaths, both in and out. Find a rhythm. It may consist of breathing in for 2 steps and out for 2 steps. It may be several beats of a song, in for 4 counts out for 4 counts. At first you WILL have to tell yourself to breathe correctly. Breathing appropriately may not be automatic, but learning to control your breathing will help bring your body to “steady state” a little sooner. (Steady state is where your body finds a consistant heart rate during sustained cardiovascular activity.) Learning to breath appropriately will also help first time runners not feel so “panicky” or “in a rush” when learning to run. Take your time.