“Sometimes you gotta lose your breath to find your heartbeat”.
Running and breathing, two peas in a pod!
Without our breath we wouldn’t be able to run. And without running we wouldn’t know what our breath is truly capable of.
There is something truly magical when your breath and body are in sync. And yet the breath is the reason a lot of people give up on running before they’ve even really started. I know for myself personally I struggled with keeping my breath in a nice even flow when I first started running and I now know that it was simply because I was running too fast and not breathing. I wasn’t appreciating the power of the breath to help me through with my run rather I was fighting against it and only concentrating on the movement of my legs.
Today, my breath is what guides me through my runs. And I’ve grown so tuned into my breath that I don’t feel fatigued as a result of my breath rather I can talk, talk and talk some more. But this has come with practise and the use of other avenues to help me understand my breath outside of running before being able to apply it to my running.
What are my tips for connecting with your breath?
Meditation - Is a fantastic way to understand and connect with your breath. There are a variety of breath associated meditations but all of them essentially help you rest your attention with your breath. Simply feeling the way your breath comes in and out of your body, effortlessly. I find meditation works well for my running because if there is a time when I am feeling out of breath or I feel like I am not breathing properly I tune into the breath just as I do during meditation.
Yoga/Pilates - Another favourite practise of mine to get to know your breath and how it moves through your body. Yoga and Pilates use different breathing techniques. In yoga for example you breathe through your nose from your diaphragm and then exhale through your mouth. Pilates on the other hand involves you breathing in from the side of the ribs and then breathing out as your retract your lower abdomen and pelvic floor. I do not favour one technique over the other, but both have given me knowledge into how to use my breath for better body control and using my breath during running.
Walking - We all do it, in some capacity. Have you ever tuned into your breath when you walk? Do you feel puffed out or do you feel you have capacity to push a little harder and increase your rate a bit? Understanding how you breathe whilst walking I think gives you an insight into how your breath may work whilst running. Noticing how you breathe particularly when push a little harder will give you an insight into how fast or slow you could run.
Talking / Singing whilst running - a fun way to notice your breath. I love talking and I love singing and I always find any excuse I can incorporate these into my running. The best thing these do is show whether you are running too fast or potentially slower than you are capable of. Particularly if you are unable to talk or sing comfortable whilst running then you are running too fast. Better to pull it back a bit and push out that power ballad.
If you are new to any of these techniques I encourage you to give them a go. At the end of it our intention is to running better so why try them. If you are new to meditation, try out my free meditation available at www.runningfitbox.com.au
Week 10 - what an epic week of running. It was a 53km week of longer runs. I incorporated more hills into my runs and loved every bit of it. And I overcome a huge mental hurdle when I did 4 laps of the Albert Park Track in Melbourne. I have never run that many laps before as it's always been a challenge running past my car. It is a fantastic way to strengthen your mind and be challenge yourself with how you overcome the monotony of the same scenery.
See you next week and Happy Running and Happy Breathing.