Updated: Jun 10, 2021
This is a brief overview of how breathing can impact your running. Keep in mind that breathing and the heart are complex organs inside complex biological systems. This is the equivalent of explaining chemistry to an elementary school student, it's an oversimplification.
Related: Running and Breathing Video
I also want you to keep in mind that there is limited research available on the quantitative results for this subject, so it is theoretical. As always, I would suggest reading and experimenting with the different aspects, listen to your body and see if or how much it works for you.
In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of and how to listen to your breathing, understand what it is telling you and how it relates to effort level.
Mechanics of the breath
There are two large aspects of breathing while running that we have some control over:
How deep you breathe.
How quickly you breathe.
Although you don’t have complete control over these aspects, you are consciously able to change how deep and how fast you breathe. So which is better for you? In order to understand the answer we have to understand how each aspect impacts our body. But even before that we need to understand the muscle that helps us control these aspects: The diaphragm.
The diaphragm is a powerful muscle. Because our body is, generally speaking, a closed environment, as the diaphragm expands and contracts it actually impacts the rest of