On Breathing

Here’s a video that just went up on Competitor Running, part of a series I’m doing for the site. Check it out: Matt Fitzgerald, one of my favorite writers, is doing a great job loading the site with interesting information, and another of my favorite writers, Kristina Pinto, has moved her blog to the site. You’ll hear my take on breathing during running, and you’ll also hear my neighbor’s very loud standard poodle barking in the background. If you’ve wondered about the location of the rock I love so much, now you know: it’s directly across the street from my house.

Up here in Colorado Springs, I find myself out of breath climbing the stairs to my dorm room at the Olympic Training Center. My running this week is all very light (as it should be anyway, as I continue recovery from Ironman Coeur d’Alene). But my yoga practice seems to be unaffected by the thinner air, which makes sense. While my practice has a lot to do with breathing, it has very little to do with cardiovascular exertion.
Getting to know your breath across your various paces isn’t hard. You can get a handle on it in five minutes’ time. But it is a powerful tool, one that will stay with you even when your heart rate monitor battery dies or your GPS unit refuses to work on a trail. Go study your own breath, and let me know how it affects your running.

3 Responses to “On Breathing”

  1. Greg says:

    Was just thinking about breath this AM as I had only my 2nd run back after 4 weeks of injury time. As expected, despite my swimming and workouts, it's the breath that was tough to get settled again. I sometimes have a 3-step inhale and only a 2-step exhale. It would seem I'm not using all the air I'm inhaling. Thoughts? Thanks for the tips and I look forward to something new to focus on during Friday's run.

  2. Sage says:

    Hmm. I think that's actually not a bad ratio, since it will balance you out, if that makes sense. You're changing the foot hitting the ground as each new cycle starts. I'll have to think on it, and feel it myself.

    Of course, you need to be sure you're exhaling fully so the subsequent inhalations can be full, too.

    Your run will come back. But you have GOT to do it slowly, Greg, and I know it's hard. If you push it, you'll send yourself back to square one. Good luck! And remember, yoga is good during recovery.

  3. Kristina says:

    I was just thinking about the breath while running, too, after reading Born to Run, which draws an interesting comparison between the breathing of animals and humans (in relation to cadence) while we're running. A good read.
    (and thanks for the shout out!)