Essential Breathing Tips for Running Beginners

breathing tips for running

As a seasoned runner, I’ve learned that proper breathing is essential for a successful and enjoyable run. In this article, I’ll share some of my top breathing tips for running beginners. Whether you’re just starting out or have been running for a while, these tips will help you improve your technique and get the most out of your runs.

Why Proper Breathing is Important for Runners

Breathing is the foundation of running. Without proper breathing technique, you’ll quickly become fatigued and may even experience cramping or other discomforts. When you breathe properly, you can increase your endurance, improve your speed, and reduce the risk of injury.

One of the main benefits of proper breathing is that it helps you take in more oxygen. Oxygen is essential for your muscles to function properly and for your body to produce energy. 

By breathing deeply and evenly, you can ensure that your body is getting the oxygen it needs to perform at its best.

Common Breathing Mistakes for Running Beginners

When you’re first starting out, it’s easy to fall into bad breathing habits. Some of the most common mistakes that beginners make include the following:

  • Shallow breathing – Breathing too shallowly prevents you from taking in enough oxygen and can cause you to become fatigued quickly.
  • Breathing through your mouth – While it’s natural to breathe through your mouth when you’re out of breath, breathing through your nose is more effective for running.
  • Holding your breath – Holding your breath, even for just a few seconds, can cause your body to tense up and make it harder to run.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique

The diaphragm is a muscle located just below your lungs that helps you breathe deeply and efficiently. Diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing, involves using this muscle to take deep breaths.

To practice diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. 

As you inhale, focus on filling your belly with air rather than your chest. You should feel your belly rise and fall with each breath.

Once you’ve mastered diaphragmatic breathing while lying down, try incorporating it into your running. Focus on breathing deeply and evenly, and use your diaphragm to help you take in more air.

Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing

Nasal breathing involves breathing through your nose while mouth breathing involves breathing through your mouth. While both are effective for running, nasal breathing has some advantages.

Breathing through your nose helps to filter and humidify the air you breathe in, which can reduce the risk of respiratory infections. It also helps to regulate your breathing, making it easier to maintain a steady pace.

However, if you find that you need more air than nasal breathing allows, it’s perfectly fine to switch to mouth breathing. Just be sure to breathe deeply and avoid shallow breathing.

Tips for Practicing Breathing Techniques While Running

Practicing breathing techniques while running can be challenging, but it’s important to stick with them to see results. Here are some tips for incorporating breathing techniques into your runs:

  • Start small – Begin by practicing breathing techniques for just a few minutes at a time, and gradually work up to longer periods.
  • Focus on your breath – Pay attention to your breathing and make it a priority during your runs.
  • Use cues – Use visual or auditory cues to remind yourself to focus on your breathing. For example, you might count your breaths or use a mantra to help you stay focused.
  • Be patient – It takes time and practice to master breathing techniques, so be patient with yourself and keep at it.

Other Factors That Affect Breathing While Running

Breathing is affected by a variety of factors, including your fitness level, the weather, and the terrain you’re running on. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Fitness level – As you become fitter, your lungs and diaphragm become stronger and more efficient at taking in oxygen.
  • Weather – Cold, dry air can be harder to breathe in than warm, humid air. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
  • Terrain – Running uphill or at a faster pace can make it harder to breathe. Be sure to adjust your breathing accordingly.

Benefits of Proper Breathing for Running

Proper breathing has a number of benefits for runners which are as follows:

  • Increased endurance – By breathing deeply and efficiently, you can take in more oxygen and reduce fatigue.
  • Improved speed – Proper breathing helps you maintain a steady pace and avoid becoming winded.
  • Reduced risk of injury – When you breathe properly, you reduce the risk of cramping, side stitches, and other breathing-related injuries.
  • Reduced stress – Breathing techniques can help you reduce stress and anxiety, making your runs more enjoyable.

Breathing Exercises to Improve Lung Capacity for Running

In addition to practicing breathing techniques, there are a number of exercises you can do to improve your lung capacity for running. 

One good example is interval training which involves alternating periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest. This can help increase your lung capacity and improve your endurance.

Aside from that, cardiovascular exercise such as running or cycling, can help strengthen your lungs and improve your breathing.

Then we have yoga which focuses on deep breathing and can help improve lung capacity and overall breathing technique.


Breathing is a fundamental aspect of running, and proper breathing technique is essential for success. By practicing breathing techniques, paying attention to your breath, and staying patient, you can improve your breathing and get more out of your runs. 

Remember to focus on deep, diaphragmatic breathing, use nasal breathing when possible, and incorporate various tips when needed. With practice and patience, you’ll soon be breathing your way to a stronger, more enjoyable run.

If you want to get the most out of your runs, focus on your breathing technique and incorporate these tips into your routine. With time and practice, you’ll be breathing your way to a stronger, more enjoyable run.

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