How To Improve My Breathing While Running

How to Improve Breathing While Running

Running is a fantastic way to stay active and improve cardiovascular fitness. However, many runners struggle with their breathing technique, which can impact performance and even lead to injuries. Proper breathing technique is essential for runners to maximize efficiency and endurance. In this article, we will explore various strategies and tips to help runners improve their breathing while running.

1. Breathe through your nose

One effective way to improve your breathing while running is to focus on breathing through your nose. Breathing through the nose helps to filter and warm the air before it reaches your lungs, improving overall respiratory function. This technique can also help reduce the risk of respiratory infections and improve performance.

2. Coordinate your breathing with your stride

Another important aspect of breathing while running is coordinating your breaths with your stride. A common technique used by runners is to inhale for two or three strides and then exhale for two or three strides. This rhythmic breathing pattern helps optimize oxygen intake and expel carbon dioxide more efficiently.

3. Engage in diaphragmatic breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, is a technique that involves engaging the diaphragm muscle to take deeper breaths. This type of breathing allows for a greater intake of oxygen and helps to improve lung capacity. Practice diaphragmatic breathing exercises outside of running to strengthen this muscle and incorporate it into your running routine.

4. Increase your lung capacity

Building lung capacity is crucial for improving your breathing while running. Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as running, helps increase lung capacity over time. Additionally, incorporating exercises like swimming, yoga, and interval training can further enhance lung capacity and overall respiratory function.

5. Focus on proper posture

Good posture is essential for optimal breathing while running. Maintain an upright posture and avoid slouching or hunching over. This allows for more room for your diaphragm to expand and contract, facilitating deeper breaths and better airflow.

6. Practice controlled breathing exercises

Engaging in controlled breathing exercises can help improve breath control and efficiency while running. One technique is the 4-7-8 breathing method, where you inhale for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale for a count of eight. These exercises can be practiced during rest periods or incorporated into your cool-down routine to help regulate breathing patterns during running.

7. Gradually increase running intensity

When trying to improve your breathing while running, it’s essential to gradually increase running intensity. Pushing your limits too quickly can lead to shallow, rapid breathing, which may hinder performance. Gradually increase your running distance and pace over time, allowing your body to adapt to the increased demand.

8. Practice rhythmic breathing

Syncing your breathing with a rhythm can help regulate your breath while running. Experiment with different patterns, such as inhaling for three strides and exhaling for two strides, or vice versa. Find a rhythm that feels comfortable and helps maintain a steady flow of oxygen to your muscles.

9. Avoid shallow chest breathing

Shallow chest breathing, also known as shallow upper chest breathing, is a common mistake made by runners. This breathing technique limits the amount of oxygen intake and can lead to feelings of breathlessness. Instead, focus on taking deeper breaths by engaging your diaphragm and filling your lungs from the bottom up.

10. Listen to your body

It’s crucial to listen to your body when running. Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or shortness of breath. If you feel overly fatigued or are experiencing difficulty breathing, slow down or take a break. Pushing through discomfort can lead to more significant issues, and it’s important to prioritize your safety and well-being.


Q: How long does it take to improve breathing while running?

A: Improving breathing while running is a gradual process that varies from person to person. It may take a few weeks or months of consistent practice and training to see noticeable improvements.

Q: Can proper breathing technique improve running performance?

A: Yes, proper breathing technique can enhance running performance. Efficient breathing allows for improved oxygen intake, reduced energy expenditure, and better overall running performance.

Q: Is it normal to feel out of breath while running?

A: Feeling breathless during running is common, especially during intense or prolonged workouts. However, if you consistently struggle to breathe during even low-intensity runs, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional.

Q: Can asthma impact breathing while running?

A: Yes, asthma can impact breathing while running. It may cause wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. If you have asthma, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to manage symptoms and find the best breathing techniques for your specific condition.

Q: Should I breathe through my mouth or nose while running?

A: Breathing through the nose helps filter and warm the air, which can be beneficial. However, during intense exercise, it’s often more practical to breathe through both the nose and mouth to maximize oxygen intake.

Q: Can meditation and relaxation exercises help improve breathing while running?

A: Yes, incorporating meditation and relaxation exercises into your routine can help improve breathing while running. These practices can help reduce stress and tension, allowing for more relaxed and controlled breathing.

Q: Will losing weight improve my breathing while running?

A: Losing weight can help improve breathing while running, especially if excess weight is causing strain on the respiratory system. However, it’s essential to focus on overall fitness and cardiovascular health rather than just weight loss.

Q: Can inhaled medications or inhalers help with breathing while running?

A: Inhaled medications or inhalers can be beneficial for individuals with respiratory conditions. Consult with your healthcare provider to understand if these medications are suitable for your specific needs.

Q: How can I strengthen my diaphragm for better breathing while running?

A: Engaging in diaphragmatic breathing exercises, such as deep belly breathing or yoga techniques, can help strengthen the diaphragm and improve breathing while running.

Q: How often should I practice breathing exercises to improve running performance?

A: Consistency is key when practicing breathing exercises to improve running performance. Aim for regular practice, ideally incorporating them into your warm-up or cool-down routine.


Improving breathing while running is a crucial aspect of maximizing performance and endurance. By implementing the strategies mentioned above, such as breathing through your nose, coordinating your breaths with your stride, engaging in diaphragmatic breathing, and gradually increasing running intensity, you can enhance your overall running experience. Remember to listen to your body, practice proper posture, and focus on rhythmic breathing. With consistent practice and patience, you can enhance your breathing technique and enjoy the benefits of smoother, more efficient runs.

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