Last night, my neighbour – a bit of a running fan – told me excitedly about her trial of nose-breathing while running. She was amazed to find how much better she felt while running and how much faster her recovery was. She’d in fact done a Buteyko course in the past and upon chatting with me rediscovered that specific aspect of breathing during exercise.
Nose-breathing is something I advocate for every runner. What happens when you nose-breathe is that your body retains more CO2 in the blood stream. This means that:
- blood vessels remain dilated improving circulation,
- the heart does not have to work quite as hard,
- you need to drink much less,
- lactic acid build up in muscles is reduced,
- and injury rates are reduced.
Overall, then exercise becomes easier and recovery is faster. The effects accumulate over time, with increased cardio-vascular efficiency the key benefit.
When you start switching to smarter breathing while running, go easy on yourself. Understand that what you are doing is retraining your body to work with higher levels of CO2 in the bloodstream than it is used to.
These higher levels of CO2 are also what causes the feeling of not getting enough air that will want to make you stop running and gape for breath. A much smarter way of handling this situation is to reduce your speed so that you can still maintain nose breathing. Rest assured, the body will adjust very quickly and in no time will nose-breathing become easy and enjoyable!
After all, a number of gold medal sprinters, e.g. Maurice Greene and Sanya Richards-Ross, won their races nose-breathing! Now, here is something to aspire to!