My colleague got to the door today and he was completely out of breath. A stitch. Circulatory problems. Complete overload because he was running late.
But honestly, what does he think about this? It’s not just the experienced runners but also gym-goers who can get it right. A good point to explain why all of us will get out breath at some point or other.
We all know about stitches. But where do they come from? At the very least many of us will think of breathing. There’s lots of literature online about breathing techniques for runners which discuss the “correct way” of breathing when jogging
, and for good reason.
However, breathing is a very intuitive instinct which we are better off not trying to control. Instead of achieving a regular rhythm, this conscious attempt at breathing will knock you out of rhythm and cause a stitch.
Think about your last run; did you get a stitch? Maybe you were going too fast, maybe you consciously tried to alter your breathing?
Breathing tips for joggers
Mouth or nose? Many runners ask this question.
Breathing through your nose is advantageous in that we warm up, filter and dampen the air and therefore avoid a dry throat. Oral respiration can quickly lead to a scratchy throat and in the worst case a sore throat.
Sooner or later you’ll have to move on to oral respiration, because nasal respiration is no longer sufficient to provide your muscles with enough energy at high speeds or over long distances. More energy basically means more oxygen; more oxygen means deeper breaths, or even more.
It’s obvious that we can’t just immediately increase our lung capacity, but over time it is possible.
What we can do straight away is completely max out our lung capacity through deep abdominal breathing. All the air in the lungs will be replaced, even in the lower regions, compared to flat chest breaths. Therefore, oxygen intake will be increased resulting in more energy for the muscles.
Compression clothes support the muscular system and reduce energy use.
Exhalation is more important than inhalation when running anyway. Active, conscious exhalation
of all the air in your lungs prevents you from hyperventilating – another cause of stitches. At the same time, regular breathing leads to an economic running style, so that you can run longer, further and faster ;-).
Tips for beginners
We recommend that beginners take a slow start to their career as a runner. Choose your tempo so that you remain comfortable. With that you’ll be in a good aerobic state and shouldn’t have any problems with breathing or stitches.
It naturally makes sense to incorporate regular breathing exercises into you training plan in addition to endurance
and strength training
, because you’ll increase your lung capacity and maximum oxygen intake over time. Beginners inhale between 0.5 and 1 litres of air, trained runners can even get to 4 litres!
Don’t concentrate so much on breathing when running, but rather train away from your runs. You’ll eventually enjoy your run not count your steps huffing and puffing trying to stay in rhythm!
Have no fear. Tie your shoes and go running.
You’ll certainly be faster than my colleague ;-)