Most of us run with our mouths open, scooping in air to fill our lungs and power our legs. But are we really using our full lung capacity? If you are using your diaphram to pull your lungs full of air you might be missing some lung capacity. The solution is to breath more through your nose. The idea is you pull in more air, reduce your breathing rate and at the same time lower your heart rate. In this great article by Matt Frazier, he shares his journey into switching to breathing through his nose.
Use your Nose to run Faster
The mental image is of a hurricane: immensely powerful winds moving at tremendously high speeds, but at the center of it all — in the eye — peace and stillness.
It’s an appealing ideal for how you should run — the winds, of course, being your limbs; the eye, your lungs and heart.
And it’s for real. Since I’ve started running this way, breathing this way, I’ve gotten my share of funny looks from the people out for a stroll in the opposite direction whom I pass. I’m moving along at a decent pace — okay, maybe more like a breeze than a hurricane — but the visible and audible signs of stress are none.
No huffing and puffing, no familiar “runner’s mask,” where the mouth hangs slightly open to help the nose take in air. Instead, a calm, closed-mouth smile and an unlabored “Hi there.”
Whereas I used to take a full 30 breaths per minute (in for three steps, out for three steps, at 180 steps per minute), I’ve slashed that number in half, often dipping down to only 12 breaths each minute (five seconds per) on flat or downhill stretches. And with these longer, deeper breaths comes a drastically slower heart rate — hovering around 125, when at a similar pace in the past, the slightest hill, headwind, or even an upbeat song on the iPod would push me over my target rate of 140.
Changing my breathing has changed how I run. The biggest key: training myself to breathe entirely through my nose, instead of my mouth. [Read More…]
So give it a try. On your next easy run, only breath through your nose and see what it feels like. If you stick with it like Matt, maybe you will even increase your efficiency and lower your heart rate. Leave a comment if this works for you!