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Running and breathing

yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
Hey you runners out there: how do you breathe while running? I seem to be a rhythm girl and can only breathe following my steps, e.g. 3 steps in, 3 steps out. I cannot breathe out of step. Which gets annoying if I run a bit faster and find I'm getting a bit too out of breath for 3/3, but 2/2 is too fast. And thus I run faster to continue doing 3/3, which obviously doesn't work. :s I also have to avoid hyperventilating, which might happen if I run too fast. So how do you do this?
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  • MaltedTeaMaltedTea Member, Premium Posts: 1,301 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1,301 Member
    Ah, other than fiber, this may be one of my favorite reflections: breathing.

    Seriously, breathing in certain ways can be a pain control method, a cardiovascular modulator for yourself (as well as others if there's skin-to-skin contact), etc. The body's poetry is in our breath.

    That's just me. What will work for you? 🤷🏿‍♀️

    Out of curiosity and the search for some semblance of objectivity, I did a search on Google Scholar for journal articles since 2011 on...

    breathing running

    ...no quotations. The first entry wasn't a journal but a Runner's World publication from 2013. There's other interesting stuff from the results though, including triathletes, the use of treadmills and the effect of pollution on runners.

    I run with music/BPM but I let my breath go naturally unless I'm needing to reduce my heart rate (like before slogging up a steep hill). If that's the case, it still depends on the terrain, the temperature, my level of fatigue, etc.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    Ha, fab answer. Thanks a lot MaltedTea! I never run with music because it would completely mess with either my breathing or my running, or both. I'm super clumsy, and I also seem to breath in a certain rhythm when I'm walking. I also always count steps on stairs even though I know the one up to my apartment is 2x 19 steps, and it was 15 and 18 steps in a previous flat, and 14 and 15 before, etc... :#
  • LietchiLietchi Member Posts: 747 Member Member Posts: 747 Member
    I have some issues finding my own breathing rhythm, it seems to vary during my runs and it will also depend on how fast I'm running.
    But have you tried an 'asymmetric' rhythm? By that I mean: not the same number of breaths in and out. For example 3 in 2 out?
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    Lietchi wrote: »
    I have some issues finding my own breathing rhythm, it seems to vary during my runs and it will also depend on how fast I'm running.
    But have you tried an 'asymmetric' rhythm? By that I mean: not the same number of breaths in and out. For example 3 in 2 out?

    I've had success with that in the past, but have not really managed it this time around. I'll continue trying it as it would probably give me more variation between too fast and too slow. Thanks a lot
  • briscogunbriscogun Member Posts: 820 Member Member Posts: 820 Member
    I've heard every 4 steps is a goal?

    I find that if I'm thinking about my breathing its probably because I'm struggling and my run isn't going well. If I'm not thinking about it then it's probably going ok.

    EDIT: Here's an article from Runner's World last year-
    https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20822091/running-on-air-breathing-technique/
    edited April 29
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    briscogun wrote: »
    I've heard every 4 steps is a goal?

    I find that if I'm thinking about my breathing its probably because I'm struggling and my run isn't going well. If I'm not thinking about it then it's probably going ok.

    EDIT: Here's an article from Runner's World last year-
    https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20822091/running-on-air-breathing-technique/

    Thanks a lot. If I don't think about it I fall into a very strange breathing rhythm (still based on steps), which edges on hyperventilation - which is something I need to avoid for medical reasons. Interesting article. Cool.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 17,449 Member Member Posts: 17,449 Member
    I'll slip into asymmetric too when the workload goes up - faster or hill.

    Usually seems like you can breath in faster than out, and it's the CO2 levels in blood that start tripping some reactions. So to get full expulsion on lungs is very good.

    So I like going to 2 in / 3 out, or 1/2.

    And I naturally hit steps too, but I keep my turnover about the same whether slow or fast.
    I even do it on the bike though not as bad, mainly when going up. Same 90 cadence, same 2/3 or 1/2.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    I'll slip into asymmetric too when the workload goes up - faster or hill.

    Usually seems like you can breath in faster than out, and it's the CO2 levels in blood that start tripping some reactions. So to get full expulsion on lungs is very good.

    So I like going to 2 in / 3 out, or 1/2.

    And I naturally hit steps too, but I keep my turnover about the same whether slow or fast.
    I even do it on the bike though not as bad, mainly when going up. Same 90 cadence, same 2/3 or 1/2.

    Thanks, I will try that. My problem is a bit annoying: my blood pressure drops when I run and my brain seems to give a signal to my lungs that more air is needed. Which tips me into hyperventilation. My GP thinks it's something along the dysautonomia spectrum (my hr drops a bit as well when my bloodpressure crashes and only comes up when I stop with what I'm doing), but corona lockdown...
  • spiriteagle99spiriteagle99 Member Posts: 2,646 Member Member Posts: 2,646 Member
    I find that when I concentrate on my breathing, I can't find a rhythm. I end up gasping for breath instead of breathing naturally. I do much better by not thinking about it at all.

    I have issues with hyperventilation when I overheat. Only at the end of a run for some reason and only when it warms up.
  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,553 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,553 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    I'll slip into asymmetric too when the workload goes up - faster or hill.

    Usually seems like you can breath in faster than out, and it's the CO2 levels in blood that start tripping some reactions. So to get full expulsion on lungs is very good.

    So I like going to 2 in / 3 out, or 1/2.

    And I naturally hit steps too, but I keep my turnover about the same whether slow or fast.
    I even do it on the bike though not as bad, mainly when going up. Same 90 cadence, same 2/3 or 1/2.

    ditto. My breath out is normally more counts than in.

    ~

    On music: there are some playlists (various genres) on stuff like Spotify for music fitting a specific bpm range.

  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 29,762 Member Member Posts: 29,762 Member
    I'm with heybales - concentrate on the full expulsion of the breath and then a pause before the next breath. It's definitely about the CO2 for me.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    I'm with heybales - concentrate on the full expulsion of the breath and then a pause before the next breath. It's definitely about the CO2 for me.

    I can ignore CO2 rather well. Hey, I spent the summers of my childhood at the bottom of my local pool, playing astronaut or just sitting about :D When I go snorkeling and see something interesting under water I can still dive for about 2-3 minutes without really preparing for it. Last summer I was following, and trying to take photos of huge sea turtles <3
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,321 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,321 Member
    I started running only 4 years ago. The more you run the more you develop your own natural rhythm. I used to think about my breathing all the time, now I almost never do. Also, as @briscogun notes, you have to avoid getting tense and keep a relaxed attitude toward it or you can hyperventilate.

    One thing I didn't appreciate until more recently was that your cadence is something you can vary without varying your speed. Most people breath with their cadence, so, if you need to breath more, shorten your stride and raise your cadence. Breathing less should never be a problem, you just breath a bit less deeply as needed.
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    I started running only 4 years ago. The more you run the more you develop your own natural rhythm. I used to think about my breathing all the time, now I almost never do. Also, as @briscogun notes, you have to avoid getting tense and keep a relaxed attitude toward it or you can hyperventilate.

    One thing I didn't appreciate until more recently was that your cadence is something you can vary without varying your speed. Most people breath with their cadence, so, if you need to breath more, shorten your stride and raise your cadence. Breathing less should never be a problem, you just breath a bit less deeply as needed.

    I've been running on and off since 2014 and never managed to sort out my breathing properly to be honest. If I don't pay attention to it my breathing quickly turns into a puffpuffpuff, huffhuffhuff kind of rhythm just from my steps. But pressing air in/out three times during one in/exhale is rather counterproductive. yet it always happens if I don't constantly correct. Mind you, I lived in the UK for a few years and hated all the music coming from shops, people out and about etc as I'd subconsciously adjusted my walking and breathing to it. I hate rhythms because I pick up every rhythm there is :s
  • RunnerGirl238RunnerGirl238 Member Posts: 431 Member Member Posts: 431 Member
    I’m not sure. I’m going to have analyze it. I do know that including more thoughtful, breath focused yoga practiced has enhanced my running 10 fold. Probably due to breathing.

    It’s funny cause I was a swimmer before a runner and our goal was always for reduce coming up for air (for free style which was my strong stroke).
  • Holly92154Holly92154 Member, Premium Posts: 118 Member Member, Premium Posts: 118 Member
    I breath exactly the same as when walking and running. Spending time training in your aerobic zones 1-3 is a great way to build your base. Once a week I do an Interval that pushes me into the zones 4 & 5. I started with singing songs. I belt them out as loud as I please and try to sing as much of the song as possible. Over time, I went from gasping sounds of dying to almost finishing a whole song lol
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,321 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,321 Member
    I wanted to chime in again about rhythm/cadence.

    First, I never listen to music when I run because it influences my natural cadence. Podcasts are fine. Pandemic news seems to make me run faster! But, I'm fastest overall if I just pay full attention to my running. (I tend to get a bit bored on longer runs, which are slower anyway. In general, I only like to run with my AfterShokz bone conduction headphones, which leave the ear unobstructed.)

    Second, I find that I will breath in sync with my stride when running at a constant pace on flat ground. When I encounter a hill or do a sprint, I will breath asynchronously with my stride. It took a while to get used to it, but it's a useful skill!
  • yirarayirara Member Posts: 4,884 Member Member Posts: 4,884 Member
    Cool, thanks a lot for your insight! I never run with any entertainment. Actually, I don't even have any headphones that I could wear for running. I might calculate odd things in my head though. But yeah, I mostly concentrate on my running, on the traffic and everything around me. My 'i don't want to think of a route' 5k route goes past a couple of take aways with home delivery in one street, lots of streets to cross, a supermarket and other things. Especially with distancing I'm really focussing on what goes on around me.
  • goatggoatg Member, Premium Posts: 1,401 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1,401 Member
    Don’t count your steps.
  • ritzvinritzvin Member, Premium Posts: 2,553 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,553 Member
    goatg wrote: »
    Don’t count your steps.

    I laughed when I read this. I compete at orienteering, so I literally do often count steps while trail (and off-trail) running. (1 stride ~ 1 meter, give or take).
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