Get to know your breath and you’ll have a powerful tool for keeping yourself calm and focused on the run or anytime, as I explain in this piece at Competitor.
Your breath can have a profound effect on your nervous system. Consider the admonition to take a deep breath when you are upset—this has a basis in physiology, as deep belly breathing can help you relax. Long exhalations stimulate your vagal nerve, engaging your parasympathetic nervous system. When the parasympathetic nervous system dominates, the relaxation response kicks in and your blood pressure, heart rate, and level of anxiety fall. Conversely, when the sympathetic nervous system is in charge, you’re primed for fight for flight, with adrenaline levels, heart rate, and muscle tension all higher.
Read more at Competitor Running and in The Runner’s Guide to Yoga.