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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Focus on Breath for Running Endurance

I was asked the other day if I focused on breathing when running. I said I used to but now it comes natural to me.  When trying to push the pace, as I did the other day during the 5mile Summer Sizzle, I hear my own breath, otherwise, like in a marathon, I’m relaxed and very pace conscious so my breath is silent. 
Another point brought to my attention:  some people have trouble carrying on a conversation at a brisk walk. They get out of breath.  It's time to practice breathing.  REMEMBER – breathing is through both nose and mouth when you are working hard since it will help you get a breathing rhythmJack Daniels (Daniels Running Formula) suggests that runners breathe to a 2-2 rhythm:  breathe in while taking 2 steps and out while taking 2 steps.   An easy pace might be a 3-3 rhythm. Breathing practice.  In order to help build your endurance you need a strong breath.  This doesn’t necessarily come naturally.  Have you ever been in a race and you can hear the person behind you or in front of you breathing like they’re about to pass out?  It takes exercising your internal organs to get that “endurance breath”. 
Try this:
1.  Take a deep breath in, try to focus on the breath going all the way DOWN into your stomach.  Your stomach expands OUT.  Let ALL that air out and your stomach should collapse inwards as it deflates.   Called BELLY BREATHING.
2.  Block one nostril with a finger and breathe in through one nostril. Close the other nostril and breathe out.
You can do these simple exercises while sitting around at home.  While running, you can very easily (every now and then not constantly throughout the entire 10 miles of your run – you could pass out!) take a deep breath in, making sure to expand your belly, and let all that air out, deflating your belly. 
Also, practice having conversations while on the run while maintaining a good breath.   In other words, just because you are talking, don’t take shallow breaths.
A quote from Benjamin Cheever (“Strides”):   At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air….”

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