Health Tips

Effective Breathing Techniques for Running

Breathing is a natural function of the body, but once running starts, breathing can quickly become challenging. In this article, we will show you some important breathing techniques and how to make them a habit.

The Right Breathing Technique for Running

Proper breathing enables a more effective oxygen supply to the muscles, improving endurance and performance. Moreover, a good breathing technique can also impact body posture and thus indirectly affect performance and comfort.

  • Longer and more relaxed training sessions: More efficient oxygen supply allows for covering longer distances and extending training duration without excessive fatigue.
  • Reduced risk of back pain and muscle tension: Correct breathing technique relieves the respiratory muscles and reduces the likelihood of muscle tension and back pain.
  • Improved circulation: Even and deep breathing supports circulation and continuously supplies the muscles with oxygen, enhancing performance.
  • Better posture: Strengthened respiratory muscles promote an upright and stable posture, making running more efficient and enjoyable.
  • Increased lung capacity and function: Regular training of the breathing technique improves lung function and increases lung capacity.

The Classic Question: Nose or Mouth?

One of the most common questions among runners is whether to breathe through the nose or mouth. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice often depends on the pace and intensity of the run.


This method helps filter, warm, and humidify the air before it reaches the lungs. Additionally, inhaling through the nose promotes deeper breathing, as it forces the body to use the diaphragm.


As the pace and intensity of running increase, mouth breathing becomes more effective. This allows for greater oxygen intake, as the airflow is less restricted. During fast runs, muscles need more oxygen, and inhaling and exhaling through the mouth can better meet this increased demand.


In particularly intense phases, simultaneous inhaling through the nose and mouth can maximize oxygen intake. This technique can initially feel unusual and requires practice. By using both airways, the diaphragm is more engaged, further improving breathing efficiency.

Breathing Exercises


Diaphragmatic breathing allows for deeper air intake and can reduce the frequency of side stitches. This technique is easy to learn and is best practiced first as dry exercises, then integrated into your running routine.

  1. Lie on your back and place a book on your abdomen.
  2. Breathe in and out deeply and consciously; the book should rise and fall.
  3. Extend the exhalation so that it lasts longer than the inhalation.

Practice this in 5-minute sessions. When applying it during running, the pace should initially be reduced so you can focus on the breathing technique.


This exercise helps to strengthen the diaphragm and improve breathing control. When well mastered, deeper breaths can further enhance running economy.

  • Step 1: Begin with a slow walk and match your breathing to your steps. For example: two steps to inhale, two steps to exhale (2:2 rhythm).
  • Step 2: Maintain this pattern for 1-2 minutes.
  • Step 3: When you feel comfortable, increase the pace and start running while continuing to breathe in the same rhythm.

Depending on the running goal and pace, the breathing pattern may vary. A 2:2 rhythm is suitable for fast runs, while 3:3 or 4:4 is better for longer runs.


This technique aims to slow and steady the breathing, stabilizing the running pace.

  • Step 1: Breathe evenly through your nose in and out.
  • Step 2: Ensure that the inhalation and exhalation last the same amount of time.

A helpful trick is to repeat a word or short phrase during inhalation and exhalation. This method improves endurance through even breathing.


This technique, also known as Nadi Shodhana, comes from yoga and promotes relaxation and cardiovascular health.

  • Step 1: Close the right nostril with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril.
  • Step 2: Close the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale through the right nostril.
  • Step 3: Inhale through the right nostril, close it, and exhale through the left nostril.

This exercise should first be performed while sitting and can later be integrated into the warm-up routine. It helps increase lung capacity.


This technique slows breathing and keeps the airways open longer, facilitating gas exchange.

  • Step 1: Inhale through your nose.
  • Step 2: Purse your lips together.
  • Step 3: Exhale slowly through the pursed lips, making the exhalation last twice as long as the inhalation.

This exercise can be easily performed during running and offers similar benefits to diaphragmatic breathing.


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