How to breathe efficiently while running

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By adopting a more efficient breathing pattern you can: 1) prevent injury, and 2) increase your oxygen capacity which decreases your times.

How Can Proper Breathing Prevent Injury?breathing-300x186

If you are one of those runners who always finds themselves injured—especially on the same side of the body— it could be because of your breathing pattern.

The impact on your body is two to three times your body weight while running. When you inhale you cause your diaphragm to contract (your diaphragm is a muscle that helps expand and contract your lungs). When you exhale your diaphragm relaxes and as this happens your core is left unstable and susceptible to injury—especially through the hips, knees, and back. So, if you are always breathing out on the same leg, you open yourself to injury.

Re-establish Your Breathing and Increase Your Capability

In proper breathing the key is to inhale longer than you exhale. Thus you flex your diaphragm longer which creates a stable core. Running experts suggest breathing in a 3:2 pattern which means you breathe in while you run three steps, then breathe out while you run the next two steps, then repeat. This allows you to alternate the leg you are exhaling on.

how to breathe


Here are 5 steps to improve your breathing:

1.Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
3. Inhale to the count of three and exhale to the count of two. You might count it this way: “in-2-3,” “out-2,” “in-2-3,” “out-2,” and so forth.
4. Concentrate on a continuous breath as you inhale over the three counts and a continuous breath as you exhale over the two counts.
5. Once you become comfortable with the inhale/exhale pattern, add foot strikes to mimic walking steps.


Essentially, once you have mastered walking the steps you move to jogging and then running.

Information compiled by Jacqueline McWade. To start your running or Pilates program with us, contact