Majority runners focus on training their heart and legs but seldom focus on training their respiratory system. Better oxygen intake means better oxygenation for muscles, resulting in higher endurance levels for your muscles.
How should you breathe when you run?
Mouth breathing is the best way to breathe during a run because it allows more oxygen into the lungs than nose breathing. While breathing through the nose is more strenuous for the runner, breathing through the mouth relaxes the jaw muscles and the rest of the body. With practice, some runners also breathe both through the nose and the mouth alternately while running; this causes more air to get in and out during breathing. It is ideal to breathe through mouth during a run because you inhale more oxygen into the lungs.
But the most important thing to note is that even if you breathe in through your nose or mouth, deep breathing or stomach breathing should be practised.
Why should you practice stomach breathing during a run?
Chest breathing is a shallow form of breathing while stomach breathing is a deeper way of breathing. Breathing through the stomach involves the stomach, intercostal muscles along with your diaphragm to expand your lung capacity, that maximizes the inflow and outflow of oxygen.
To make the switch from chest breathing to stomach breathing easier, cross-training with pilates should be done. Doing pilates as a part of your fitness routine stretches your intercostal muscles, strengthens the core, improves your flexibility and eventually helps in deeper breathing and enhanced running. Practising deep breathing when not training is also the best way to get your body accustomed to stomach breathing.
Best Pulmonologist in India also suggest to train you to breathe in rhythmic patterns and also helps to develop your diaphragmatic strength. Start with a 2-2 pattern initially, which means breathe in while stepping with your left foot and then right foot. Then breathe out while you step left and right. Then advance it to 3-3 sets which means breathe in - step left-right-left and then breathe out - step left-right-left.
Therefore, for an efficient injury-free run at peak performance practice deep breathing while breathing through your mouth.