BREATHING IN RUNNING
extracted fm http://www.posetech.com/training/archives/000411.html
How to breathe in running? Deep…Smooth…and Quiet! I am just kidding. In spite of the fact that breathing is a "natural" and "automatically maintained" process in living organisms, it would be a mistake to think that we know "how" to breathe. It is a question for many athletes, elite and recreational runners and just for normal people. It is really important, I would say, vitally important for our existence. Breathing is a question of life and death. Just a 2-3 minute break in our breathing function could cost us our life. And most of us are well aware of that.
Breathing is a way to maintain life, the delivery of oxygen to our working tissues is a process of supplying them with energy. So our breathing is energy for our life. Therefore, the question of how to breathe is the question of how to better maintain our life, and if we extend it further - how to maintain our movement. Historically, the question of "how to breathe" was always an important point of interest and development in human society. It is enough to just mention yoga or marshal arts breathing techniques in order to understand the depth of this problem. The simple fact of mere existence and development of breathing technique throughout the entire human history is evidence enough of the importance of the way of breathing for our life.
But at the same time, to this day, we are still seeking the answer to how to breathe better and it's particularly the case with running. There are lots of different opinions and points of view, without prevalence of either one, on how to breathe in running. Recommendations range from exhaling and inhaling in rhythm of each step, or each two steps, or short inhale and long exhale, and so on. We have "breathe only through the mouth or nose (nostrils)", "use diaphragm or ribs", “breathe shallow or deep”, "inhale naturally and exhale forcefully" commands or vice versa. This list could go on, but the idea here is that everyone seems to be just as lost with all of these recommendations as everyone was before and still can't get to the point and get clear instructions.
Indeed, what is the right answer and does it exist? In order to understand these things we have to draw the line of "breathing logic" related not only to physiological functions of delivering oxygen, but also as a part the psycho-emotional and mental state of the body. Our breathing is a part of our interaction with the environment where the main stimulator of oxygen consumption is gravity or, to be exact, the rate of using it. When we run faster, meaning, we fall more, the use of oxygen increases.
Another important factor of increasing oxygen consumption is our mind. When our psycho-emotional condition is going crazy, when we get scared, for example, our breathing is going harder. It could go this way even without increasing the speed of running, just from expectation of it, or just from uncertainty. So the first question of how to breathe right should be applied to the problem of how to reduce the dependence of our breathing from the mental and psycho-emotional condition of the body. That is the reason for the use of different kind of breathing - deep, through the nose, by diaphragm, with a certain rhythm, breathing to reduce our mental and psycho-emotional stress by focusing on breathing technique.
Another component of optimization of breathing is related to reduction of unnecessary hard work of breathing organs - lungs and diaphragm, which themselves become the major consumers of oxygen while length and intensity of movement are increasing. At a certain point they start consuming more oxygen, than the working muscles of the body, like, for example, legs in running. In this case, a shallow and fast breathing technique makes a lot of sense. This kind of technique could be observed in fast running animals (dogs, for example) and elite runners.
In conclusion, I would like to say that most of breathing techniques have their own specific meaning and goal, which should be recognized, learned and used for the purpose. In general, I am talking about development of special breathing skills, which is the main answer to the question at the beginning of this article.