October 5, 2021

Improving Your Breathing with these 10 Tips and Tricks While Running

Improving your breathing is very i mportant and need to be carefully considered since breathing is automatic, it’s unlikely that you think about it every day. Running, or any other cardio activity like running, can make it difficult to think about your breathing. It’s not your legs, but your lungs that are working extra hard. Running requires extra effort so it is important to practice proper breathing techniques. Two experts discussed why running can be so difficult and what tips and tricks you can use to make your next run easier, because it is important to be improving your breathing.


  • Steve Stonehouse, a USATF-certified coach and director for education at STRIDE Franchise, is a USATF certified run coach.
  • MaryKate Welch, a trainer at RumbleBoxing, is also a CPT.
  • Briana Bain DPT, PT is a Virginia Beach physical therapist.

Why Is It So Hard to Breathe While Running?

Running is a great way to increase oxygen intake. Steve Stonehouse, USATF-certified coach for runners and director of education at STRIDE Franchise, says that “any time we ask our muscle to work, they’ll need more O2.” Running is a full-body exercise. This means that your whole body needs more oxygen. You will need to be able to breathe in more oxygen (and more quickly) to get it.

MaryKate Welch is a trainer at Rumble Boxing and a CPT. She says that increased breathing indicates an increase in physical stress/increased demands on the body during running. It’s quite common for people to find running difficult or uninteresting. Welch explains that when you breathe, you inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Poor breathing, such as shallow breathing, can hinder your body’s ability to recover and perform optimally. The good news is that practicing breathing techniques can help in improving your ability to breathe efficiently and effectively. This can lead to a better feeling and running.

Should You Breathe Out of Your Nose or Mouth?

Stonehouse suggests that you breathe through your nose whenever possible. “Nasal breathing can be a great line of defense against airborne pathogens. Our nasal passageways are designed to support the respiratory system. He says that the nasal passageways, hair, and nostrils help filter allergens out of your lungs to keep foreign bodies from entering.

Welch suggests that you breathe through your nose as well as your mouth. She says that it’s okay to breathe through both your nose and mouth during casual runs. If you have trouble carrying on a conversation or are having difficulty with your breathing, mouth breathing may be a good option. Most people will notice that breathing through the nose is much more difficult as they increase the intensity or pace of the conversation. This is because the nose doesn’t have the oxygen it needs. It’s best to use your mouth to inhale.

Stonehouse concurs: “When you do low-intensity exercises (e.g. long-distance running), breathe through your nose. It’s difficult, but it is possible to improve your skills with training. Mouth breathing is necessary for high-intensity exercises (e.g. sprinting) because your body will need more oxygen and CO2 faster.

10 Tips, Tricks, and Techniques to Try which will be helping In improving your breathing

Running will cause you to have trouble breathing. Here are some tips and techniques to help you run more efficiently on the treadmill or road. Different techniques work for different people. Find the one that works best for you.

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Stonehouse stresses the importance of not holding your breath during training. He says, “It sounds absurd, but many people do it without realizing it.” Remember, the purpose of inhaling and exhaling is to bring oxygen into your body.

Focus on Your Breathing Patterns During Your Warm-Ups for Improving your Breathing

Your start can make or break your run. Welch suggests that you focus on your pre-run to increase your heart rate and align your breathing with your run, which will eventually help you in improving breathing.

Track Your Breathing Patterns During Your Cool-Downs

Good habits will help you end your run in the same way that it started: with good habits. Welch suggests that you focus on your cooling down by reducing your breathing to the same steady pattern that you use every day as your heart rate drops.

Do Nasal Breathing as You’re Warming Up and Cooling Down

Stonehouse also recommends that you use your cool-downs and warm-ups to learn how to breathe through your nose. Once you feel comfortable, incorporate nasal breathing into your workouts. He says it takes some time but you will get there.

Practice Breathing Rhythms for Imroving It

Welch says, “The goal of deep belly breathing is to replace shallow breathing.” This breathing technique can be used for various types of runs.

  • Easy runs: 3 to 3. (Three steps while you breathe in, three steps when you exhale)
  • Medium runs: 2:2
  • Maximum runs: 1:1

Master Belly Breathing for Improving Breathing

Welch recommends that you practice belly breathing on the ground if you want to concentrate on your breathing. Bain says that it helps to strengthen and isolate your diaphragm (which is the main muscle involved with breathing). Here are some ways to practice belly breathing.

  • Place your hands on your stomach and lie on your back.
  • Concentrate on expanding your belly while you inhale, and then releasing it as you exhale.
  • Once you’ve mastered this, move on to walking and then to jogging and finally to running at your best pace.

Maintain Proper Running Posture for Improving Breathing

According to Welch, a body check can help you breathe more efficiently and healthier. Do a body check the next time you go for a run.

  • Keep your chest open, and look forward.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed while keeping your core engaged.
  • Smooth control will help you land your strides.

Learn What Feels Right for Your Body

Stonehouse says, “As your aerobic capacity or endurance increases, your body will begin to understand what it should feel like at an easy’ pace and a pace that is ‘temporary’, and even a sprint pace.” “At STRINGE, we use levels to indicate where your effort should be. We also specify how your breathing should feel during these intervals. This awareness will reduce stress-related breathing associated with certain exercises.

Do a Breath Workout

Stonehouse suggests doing at least 3-5 cycles of the below in order to improve your breathing.

  • Five deep breaths, where you exhale and inhale for five second each.
  • 20 rapid belly breathing (keep a steady rhythm you can control).
  • Only use nasal breathing.
  • Take two deep breaths, with the slowest exhale/inhale possible.

Try “Dry-Land Swimming”

Stonehouse recommends that you try a “dry land swimming” test. This involves multiple rounds of intense breathing and high-intensity exercises, which ultimately helps in improving breathing.

  • 5 burpees/3 regular breath(s)/maximum distance loaded gait (sled, farmer’s transport) You should note how far you can walk before your need to breath. All gait work should be done on the exhale.
  • Rounds 1 through 3: Burpees can be done completely (rest for between 1:30 and 2 minutes). These rounds are interspersed.
  • Rounds 4 – 6: Burpees should be done with nasal-only breathing. Between rounds, you can rest to fully recover and end up in the process of improving your breath.