How to Breathe When Running

Breathe deeply and you'll go far.
Breathe deeply and you'll go far.

Breathe through your ears. That's what legendary running coach Arthur Lydiard once answered when asked how runners should breathe. "Breathe through your mouth. Breathe through your nose. Suck the air in through your ears if you can," he said.

There are a lot of opinions about whether you should breathe through your nose or through your mouth when running, but most experts fall in line with Lydiard's thinking that it should be a combination of the two. The reason? Simply put, your body runs on oxygen, and the more oxygen you can give it, the better it will function.

Dr. Denis Boucher, who manages an exercise physiology lab in Quebec, explains,

Breathing is a response to running intensity. If you are out of breath it's because you are running in the severe intensity zone. When you reach the severe intensity level, blood lactate builds up in your body and you must breathe much faster to eliminate carbon dioxide. At this level, running will lead to exhaustion.

With practice, you can maintain a breathing pattern that lets you take in a maximum amount of oxygen and exhale all of your carbon dioxide. You'll be able to run longer and faster and enjoy the experience.

Read on to learn how you can develop proper breathing technique.