It has been brought to my attention that I don’t know how to breathe while running. At first this was shocking to me (Hello! I’ve been running almost 20 years! And breathing for 30-something years!), but then I realized how true it is. (This also might explain why swimming correctly is such a struggle, but that’s a story for another day).
I remember in and after college wanting to always run with headphones so that I didn’t have to listen to my desperate gasps for air, and I suppose I have never really changed my breathing.
This spring I am currently striving towards speed, and this cannot be done without proper oxygen supply. Therefore, I am simultaneously striving for breath control.
After reading several articles and blogs, I have deduced that I need to be much more rhythmic with my breathing. One would think that shouldn’t be such a struggle being a musician and all, but let me tell you! It’s HARD! I tried the “inhale 3 counts and exhale 2 counts,” but I don’t do well with mixed meters (music joke). This method, initially, made me feel like I would hyperventilate, getting too much air. Then it hit me: I’m running too slow!! I thought it would be easier to focus on changing my breathing if I would go slower, silly me! Of course you don’t need as much oxygen if you’re going slowly. Duh! After speeding up to a more natural pace, I still have felt super lopsided with my breathing. As a person who loves symmetry, this 3:2 ratio of inhale-exhale really made me feel off. So I thought I would focus on a different aspect of the breathing: depth.
Diaphragmatic breathing (something I only do if I’m frustrated…or singing) is supposedly the way to go. Perhaps if I focus on how I breathe and not how long each breath is FIRST and then work on the rhythm. It is suggested that one lies on the floor and practices deep breathing to become more comfortable with the technique before running. I honestly just found this more relaxing than anything else.
After digging deeper into the internets, I found some great examples of doing more even breaths (3:3 or 2:2 inhale/exhale), with the diaphragmatic breathing, until you’re really moving at a quick pace and THEN do the uneven breathing. Now that is something I can work with!
I haven’t perfected this breathing technique yet, and it still feels a bit unnatural, but boy am I making progress and feeling encouraged!