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How to Let Oxygen Power Your Run (Basically How To Breathe While Running)

September 20, 2015


Okay, okay. I know you know how to breathe.

But did you know that most people only use one third of  their lung’s capacity? One third?!!!

Oxygen is really important (duh). This is why really knowing how to breathe while running is a big deal. Everyone knows that. But do you know why?

It’s because oxygen basically powers your muscles and can actually have a big effect on your energy. When oxygen is brought to your lungs, a chemical exchange happens that results in the production of ATP.  When your body doesn’t have enough oxygen, your muscles make glucose into lactic acid instead of ATP which makes you start to feel tired and run down.

Here are some super tips on how to breathe while running (and in turn, power up your run!).


+ Figure out the best way to breathe through your nose.

This may sound funny but there’s more to having a proper running breath than just trying to suck all air in through your nose. In colder air, you may want to try to take in air more slowly to reduce the shock of the cold. If you just generally have trouble breathing through your nose, you can try inhaling mostly through your nose and then a bit through your mouth. It’s all about trial and error.

+ Breathe from your diaphragm!

This way you’ll be getting more air in a more powerful way. All you need to do is feel like you’re pushing down on your abdomen when you inhale. Let your stomach expand. Congrats, you just used your lungs’ full capacity! Isn’t learning how to breathe while running fun?

+ Breathe on the beat.

Figure out a rhyme that works for you. Inhale for two steps, exhale for three or match your breath to your music. The goal here is consistency. Once you have a good beat, you won’t even have to think about your breathing and can really zone out ad enjoy that run.

+ Don’t breathe too slowly.

You know those days when you just can’t find your beat? You may actually just be breathing too slowly. Your body not only needs oxygen, but also needs to get rid of carbon dioxide. No one wants to be panting mid-stride but if you’re having breathing trouble speeding up your breathe just a bit can help. Again, it’s all about finding what works for you.

+ Got a stitch? Don’t panic.

If you get stitches when your run (a sharp pain by a lower rib), fear not. There’s a super magical trick that can get rid of them in seconds. All you have to do is start inhaling on the opposite foot-strike. So if you find yourself starting your breath when your left foot is down, try inhaling on the right foot instead. You can also try fixing your posture; straighten up and use that diaphragm breathing.

What are your running tips? How do you find your pace?


*image from here


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  • Elyse September 21, 2015 at 13:36

    I find when I get a cramp it helps to lift my arms over my head; I never knew breathing differently could fix it! That’s a real game changer right there!
    Both my parents were runners and they couldn’t stress enough how keeping a good posture will help you not only breathe better, but feel better after your run! Also– never put your hands in a fist, because it will use more energy (somehow)… just keep ’em loose 🙂

    Great post, I learned something new!

    • Pia S September 22, 2015 at 20:27

      I had no idea about the fist thing. Hm, good to know! I’m so glad you learned something new Elyse!!!

  • Zarrah Jane September 21, 2015 at 13:48

    Such great tips

    I love running and sometimes i tend to grasp on air so this one is helpful

    LOve it

    The Bandwagon Chic | Instagram | Bloglovin | Snapchat: bandwagonchic

  • Beth Thomas September 21, 2015 at 16:18

    I’ve never heard of that tip for getting rid of a stitch. Does it matter what side the stitch is on? Or will this work no matter what.

    Beth x // Interview With Em Sheldon

    • Pia S September 22, 2015 at 20:28

      So far it’s worked for me no matter what side. It’s a funky little tip right? Thanks for reading Beth!!

  • Ela BellaWorld September 21, 2015 at 19:32

    Another great post with great tips. Running and breathing normal… something I struggle that’s why I prefer not to run a lot however I might change this ig I can do what you say 🙂 x

  • Kat Horrocks September 22, 2015 at 08:30

    This post is SO incredibly helpful, as breathing technique is one thing I really struggle with running. My body’s so used to doing intervals and HIIT it freaks out when I have to be consistently breathing heavier and forgets how to breathe properly!! I really struggle breathing through my nose because I find it so uncomfortable, especially when I’m into the run and need to breathe quicker :/ do you absolutely have to breathe through your nose? I’m definitely getting the rhythm technique down though which has helped a lot! I also find if I’ve lost my technique I will do a big exhale and push out all the air, then that kinda ‘resets’ it and helps me get back into the rhythm 🙂

    Kat |

    • Pia S September 22, 2015 at 20:29

      I totally get the nose-breathing-thing. I tend to start m inhale with my nose but then just inhale through my mouth. I also get what you mean that once you start running faster your body seems to forget how to breathe. So glad that you liked this post Kat!!

  • Quinn September 22, 2015 at 12:05

    With summer ending, I was thinking about picking up running during the fall and winter – so this is incredibly timed for me! Thank you for these tips 🙂 It makes running seem a little less daunting


  • Emily Lowery September 22, 2015 at 20:44

    Some great tips here. I am always struggling breathing when running and will definitely be trying out these tips at the gym xo

    Emily |

  • Adaleta Avdic November 17, 2015 at 03:14

    This is a lovely post, especially for people who don’t necessarily run all the time! Thanks for sharing your tips! Even as a runner, I need to be reminded how to breathe properly! xx,

  • Chiara Marandellas November 17, 2015 at 14:55

    Lovely post with great tips! <3


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