Posts Tagged ‘cross country’

Run The Rock: Better Breathing

High school cross country practice was almost exclusively running with a small amount of weight training. Distance days we learned the layout of the city, running the streets around town to put in mileage. Speed work was always done on the track, mostly in the form of 800 or 400 repeats. If you want to build speed an endurance then you should work on running fast and far right? After six years of cross country I certainly didn’t know any better, but as it turns out running isn’t the only way to a faster race time.

One thing that was never taken into account when I was trained to run was technique, specifically when it comes to breathing. What is the most energy efficient way to breathe while running? What should I be doing to provide my body with the most fresh oxygen in every breath? These are the questions that occurred to me the other day, and I found the answer… one answer any way. HowToRunAMarathon.net provided me with an article called ‘Belly Breathing‘ that I decided to put to the test.

Wednesday evening I set out on a short run to train for a half marathon and practice this new breathing strategy. Half of a mile into my run, I had just broken a sweat and settled into a comfortable pace, I turned my attention to my breathing. Shallow and harsh,┬áin and out through my gaping mouth. I don’t know how I was getting enough oxygen to stay conscious much less active.

Taking advice from the article I began forcing air out of my lungs by tightening my stomach muscles as I exhaled. This required constant focus specifically on breathing. Gasping for air when my lungs were at capacity I would realize that I had quit belly breathing and would again have to focus. As the next few miles passed beneath my feet it took less concentration, and even became comfortable. The same pace seemed much less demanding and I was able to breath strictly through my nose for the first time. With only one run of practice belly breathing is a method that I intend to adopt permanently. In addition to the increased endurance that I am sure will result, the effectiveness of this technique has inspired me to work on my form in the near future.

Do any runners know where I could find running technique suggestions?