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What Are the Breathing Techniques for Long-Distance Running?

Many runners, especially novices who are just getting started, are not very good at breathing, or perhaps should say, do not use efficient breathing methods; you may have this experience, as long as the running speed is fast, the slope is steep, or the competition When you are nervous, you will gradually feel out of breath, as if you need to carry an oxygen bottle to have enough oxygen. What comes next is your legs becoming increasingly heavy, your body hunched over, and even annoying symptoms may occur. I had pain in my flank, so I had to slow down, even if I didn’t want to slow down.

Most people attribute the reason why they are prone to panting when running and unable to climb hills to cardiopulmonary training and insufficient muscle strength. This may be one of the reasons, but have you ever thought that these conditions are also closely related to breathing skills?

If you are used to breathing through the chest, the air in your lungs is mostly passively discharged when you exhale. This is often not done completely enough, causing the amount of oxygen you inhale to be limited when you inhale again. We call this efficiency less efficient. Poor breathing is “shallow breathing”. Muscles during exercise require an endless supply of oxygen to continue to function. If the oxygen inhaled is not enough, the muscles will have no energy, so they have to reduce their work efficiency, and the more you run, the harder it will be.

It may be hard to imagine, but the diaphragm and intercostal muscles actually bear up to 80% of the respiratory function. From the picture above, we can see that our diaphragm and ribs cause the chest cavity to expand (inhale) or shrink (exhale) , if you use the diaphragm as the starting point for breathing, you can introduce air into the abdomen, increase the volume of air entering the body, and because of the increased space in the abdominal cavity, the ups and downs of the chest will be smaller, thereby guiding oxygen into the deep lungs department.

Brunel University in the UK conducted a study on the correlation between the respiratory muscles and leg muscles of marathon runners and found that runners who breathe harder have greater burden on their legs; David from the University of California Medical Center in the United States. Dr. Ross also said, “The deeper you breathe, the more lobes of the lungs are involved, and the alveoli are more efficient at exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide, so your muscles can get enough energy to maintain exercise.”

As for the flank pain that some runners may experience, this is not only caused by excessive exercise load, but also related to the lack of training of the deep muscles near the diaphragm, resulting in a poor ability of the diaphragm to contract. Once the exercise intensity increases, It is easy to twitch and cause flank pain.

So what is an efficient breathing method? Compared with shallow breathing, using the deep “abdominal breathing” of the abdomen and diaphragm makes exhausting active. On the one hand, it can expel metabolized carbon dioxide more completely, and on the other hand, it also increases the capacity during inhalation. Let the inhaled oxygen penetrate deep into the alveoli and improve the efficiency of blood oxygen exchange. At the same time, this breathing method that uses deep muscles can also help you focus more on your core muscles, so that your running posture and movements will not be easily distorted due to increased intensity or distance.

This time it’s time to talk about abdominal breathing. If you’ve never tried it, you can try following the steps below:

  1. First of all, you must have a good standing posture. Stooping over will compress the chest and abdominal cavity, making the inhalation capacity smaller, and the squeezed diaphragm and core muscles will also be difficult to activate; try to spread your feet Shoulder width, upper body straight, imagine your spine gradually lengthening, extending from the top of your head to the sky. Many people’s shoulders are prone to tension, so you might as well jump and turn your shoulders to let your shoulders hang naturally on both sides of the body.
  2. First gently inhale a little bit, place your hands on your chest and abdomen respectively, then slowly and deeply, gradually close your belly while exhaling through your mouth. You will feel your diaphragm naturally relax and rise, and your abdomen will Exhaust air from the chest cavity. If you do it well, the hand on your abdomen will move inward with your abdomen, while the hand on your chest will only press in slightly or even without any change.
  3. Try to exhale completely, then slowly inhale through the nose. While inhaling, focus on the abdomen and let the abdomen slowly expand with the inhalation of air. You will feel the tension of the diaphragm gradually increase and contract. Descending, air is introduced from the abdomen and gradually fills the entire abdomen and chest. If you have mastered the technique of abdominal breathing, the hand on your abdomen will move as the air is introduced and the abdomen swells, and the hand on your chest will float slightly.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 several times to experience the feeling of active exhaust, relaxed inhalation, and feel the movements of the chest and abdomen. If it does not go smoothly, recheck whether your upper body is upright and whether the inhalation and exhalation are slow and steady. Deeply, place the mind on the abdomen, initiate from the abdomen, and guide the air to be expelled and inhaled through the mouth and nose.

Abdominal breathing is a technique that can be practiced at any time. You may not be used to such deep muscle work at first, but try to visualize and use this breathing method all day long, and start with slower and easier running. Match the rhythm of abdominal breathing with your running speed until you can use abdominal breathing comfortably, and then gradually increase your running speed. Soon you will find that the effort level at the same speed is reduced, and long-distance running My endurance has also improved, and my running pace seems less urgent and more relaxed than before. These will be the benefits brought by the “invisible power” of abdominal breathing.

If you want to further achieve good results in long-distance running, you can try the corresponding breathing training:

In addition to consciously breathing through abdominal breathing in daily life, you can also use breathing trainers to strengthen the strength of your muscles. This was originally designed for patients with asthma or breathing disorders, but now many people also This method will be used to train the inspiratory and expiratory muscles.

After a certain amount of training, you can obviously feel that breathing becomes smoother and you are more sensitive to breathing. This increases the oxygen content in the blood, strengthens gas exchange, and drives the overall circulation, making the body capable of withstanding higher training intensity, effectively Improve physical performance; proper respiratory muscle training will also stimulate deeper core muscles such as the abdominal balance muscles, increase muscle mass, and increase metabolism.

There is another way – Pilates training:

Pilates stretching is not just about pulling ligaments, it requires more control and better extension. Everyone’s flexibility is greatly affected by talent and acquired experience. It’s difficult to practice to the point where everyone can do the splits. However, all can be extended based on the existing flexibility to ensure the correct alignment of the joint bones. Fully extend the range of motion of muscles and joints. By controlling breathing, the range of motion of each joint is gradually increased.

Pilates attaches great importance to breathing control, because correct breathing can save energy and help get more oxygen. After training, even during intense running, you will no longer leave your breathing to instinct, but will consciously control your breathing volume and rhythm.

Pilates’s stretching and breathing training make it the best cross-training for running, allowing you to have time and energy to focus on things that are ignored by your daily training.

After talking about the training methods, let’s talk about the points you need to pay attention to when breathing during running:

Many people experience problems such as “choke” and difficulty breathing during running. To solve these problems, you need to pay attention to the gradual, rhythmic and controlled breathing during running.

Don’t start running too fast, especially in winter, and allow your entire body, including your breathing, to gradually adapt to the cold air. You can first run 1-2km at a slower speed as a warm-up. Run at a familiar pace while your body is already sweating slightly. This will avoid the “stuck” phenomenon that occurs when running.

Maintain a rhythm during breathing and match the frequency of breathing to the frequency of your steps. This is a method that allows people to run easily and breathe smoothly. Don’t pay too much attention to the few steps of breathing, just be comfortable and smooth.

During running, you also need to control your breathing. Relatively intense exercise requires the body to require more oxygen. The body’s use of oxygen has a certain range. A large amount of oxygen taken in may not always be used by the body, and excessive work of the heart and lungs may not only consume a lot of energy but also cause discomfort. Therefore, during running, control the amount of air you inhale. Do not open your mouth wide and breathe quickly, but breathe rhythmically, long and deeply.

Although our requirements for beginners are to breathe freely, as long as they feel comfortable. But when you start long-distance training, you have to pay attention to the issue of breathing. Breathing can make you easier, less injured, more efficient, and run farther… In order to achieve effective deep breathing, the general methods are: Two steps, one inhale, two steps, one exhale, three steps, one inhale, three steps, one exhale, two steps, two inhales, two steps, two exhales. A study from the University of Utah found that always landing on the same foot when exhaling is more likely to cause injury because it puts constant pressure on that side of the body. The 2-2 (or 3-3) pattern of breathing is Meaning you always land on the same foot when exhaling and inhaling. Therefore, you can change your legs more often, or use odd-even asymmetrical breathing methods such as 2-3.

Coach KK from the Trailwalker Classroom in Hong Kong believes that the two-step, two-step, two-step, two-exhale method is the most suitable for beginners. This breathing method allows you to pay attention to your steps. Each breath and your feet form a set of movements. , allows you to pay more attention to your pace. If the pace is too fast, there will definitely be problems with breathing. At this time, you need to adjust your pace by slowing down or taking deep and long breaths. Before encountering an uphill slope, take a deep breath about 5 seconds in advance. After reaching the top of the slope, you should slowly exhale all the air in your body.

Good breathing allows you to control your pace during running, keep your rhythm stable, and move forward at a constant speed without losing control of your speed. Matching your steps with your breathing is a very difficult exercise because you need to consider your heart, lungs, strength and road conditions. But no matter what, deep abdominal breathing will be emphasized.