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Become a more efficient runner when you learn to breathe properly

Proper breathing during a run is crucial. Poor or incorrect breathing techniques can lead to shortness of breath, muscle and joint stress, and even injury. To make the most out of every run, it’s vital for a runner to breathe properly, not overstress your body, and adjust when needed. This boosts your efficiency and the probability that you get the most out of your run or workout. In the beginning, these new breathing techniques might feel unnatural. However, with time and practice, they will become second-nature. They’ll get easier over time and you’ll become a more efficient runner. Make running that much easier when you pair these 12 tips with the breathing advice below.

Tips to help you be more efficient

   1. Perform breathing exercises

Become a more efficient runner when you learn to breathe properly.

When was the last time you focused on how you breathe? Pay attention to how you inhale and exhale. Breathing exercises can significantly enhance lung capacity and function. There are many breathing exercises that you can do whether you’re running or not. The trick is to decide which one is best for you. Consider the breathing techniques below. Note that times can be adjusted to fit your breathing pattern.

  • Pursed lips breathing – inhale for 2 seconds, fill your abdomen, purse your lips exhale for 4 seconds
  • Breathing through your nose – inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth
  • Numbered breathing – inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7, exhale for 8
  • Equal breathing – inhale the same amount you exhale

   2. Pay attention to form and speed

Proper form can help you breathe more efficiently.

Focus on your form and speed during your run at all times, from start to finish. This is a great way to prevent side stitches during your run. You’ll notice your body breathes differently throughout. Understand what your body is doing and what it needs. If you begin running too fast too soon, you’ll deplete your oxygen reserves and pay for it later in your run. Start off with a smooth and easy pace, then build up as your body adjusts. Form is vital too. Maintain good posture, with your head bent slightly forward. Keep it in line with the spine and don’t lean forward or backward too much. Keep your shoulders relaxed and away from the ears. Avoid slouching or hunching forward.

   3. Try diaphragmatic breathing

This is a form of deep abdominal breathing. It’s designed to strengthen muscles that support breathing. This technique is helpful if you hold a shallow breath. Chest breathing sometimes causes tension in the shoulders, making it feel natural to breathe from your belly. Diaphragmatic breathing is something you can do throughout the day. Pro tip: focus on this type of breathing during this 10-minute warm-up.

   4. Practice rhythmic breathing

Stretching before you run is a great time to practice your breathing techniques.

This technique maximizes your oxygen intake while reducing the stress on your body. Every time your foot hits the pavement, the impact puts stress on the body. To prevent imbalances in the muscles, alternate your breathing pattern with your left and right feet. This puts less pressure on the diaphragm. It also helps balance the impact of running on your body. Consider following the 3:2 pattern. It enables you to alternate which foot will receive the impact during an exhale. Take in a deep breath for three steps and breathe out for two. For fast runners, consider using a 2:1 pattern. Practice this type of breathing during your long run. Make sure you follow this long-run recovery timeline to begin the recovery process.

Running is a strenuous activity for the human body. It makes the respiratory and circulatory systems work harder than usual. The need for more oxygen and the necessity of getting rid of carbon dioxide accumulation puts stress on breathing. However, with these simple yet effective strategies, you can breathe properly and improve your running performance. If you ever feel like skipping your run or workout, use one of these 5 excuse busters and get after it!

Running at night has its benefits, but make sure you follow these safety tips

Why do you prefer running at night? Do you work late and like to sleep in? Is your schedule during the day hectic and unpredictable? Maybe you prefer to breathe in the energy of the day as it comes to a close. Whatever your reason, running at night has its benefits. But like running at any other time, there are some safety tips to follow. Pro tip: as your miles increase, one of these running mantras could give you the spark you need.

Benefits

1. Less foot and vehicular traffic

You could have the roads to yourself when you run at night.

Running in the morning lets you absorb the sun and fresh air. But you also encounter cars, buses, cyclists, and fellow runners. This can make your morning run seem congested. Most people are at home in the evening, probably eating dinner or watching their favorite show. This means they’re not out riding their bike or driving their car. 

2. Provides stress relief

Deadlines, office politics, and relationship management can make you feel like you’re carrying a mountain on your shoulders. Luckily, running at night can shave off that workplace stress. Let go of your frustrations and tension with every mile you complete. Laughter provides stress relief too. These hilarious running memes will brighten your day!

3. Increase running consistency

Are you NOT a morning person? Don’t let your morning blues stop you from following a training plan. Mornings aren’t the only time you have to complete your workouts. Running in the evening gives you another opportunity to achieve your fitness goals. Maintain full consistency when you effectively warm-up before running at night.

4. Improve your quality of sleep

You just might sleep better after running at night.

Night runs are great for people who are thoroughly exhausted after their run. It helps them induce a deep and more sound sleep. If this is you, running at night could help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the next day. Pro tip: even though you’re tired, make sure you properly cool down after your run.

Safety Tips

  • Wear reflective clothing

Make yourself visible to pedestrians, other runners, cyclists, and oncoming traffic. The material on your reflective running gear will help others see you. You still need to pay attention to your surroundings, but being visible to others goes a long way to keeping you safe. For added visibility, wear a headlamp or lights that wrap around your arm or ankle. For a headlamp, check out the Black Diamond Spot Lite 200. Don’t forget to layer your clothing according to the weather.

  • Follow well-lit routes

Stick to routes with bright street lights and areas that are more frequented by people in the evening. Depending on the area where you are running, it will help you gauge your safety. You can see what’s going on around you and react to scooters, bikes, or anything else lying on the ground. With more people around, they can help you if you feel unsafe or need medical attention during your run.

  • Run against traffic

Look both ways, even if you’re allowed to cross the street.

Run in the direction of oncoming traffic gives you the opportunity to see what’s coming at you. This allows you to react accordingly should you feel like you’re in danger. If traffic is behind you, you don’t have the opportunity to see what’s coming behind you. Your reflective gear and the car’s lights will help drivers see you. When crossing a street, look both ways, even if you have permission to cross.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings

As an avid runner, you’re likely going to be in that ‘zone’ and feeling good. However, you still need to keep an eye on your surroundings at all times. Watch out for dangerous situations or obstacles on your run. If you feel uncomfortable heading in a certain direction, turn around or cross the street. 

  • Tell someone about your route

Before heading out on your run, inform your friend, partner, or roommate about where you will run. If possible, turn on your GPS location and share it with them. Let them know about your planned miles, pace, and anticipated return time.

  • Carry your cell phone

Don’t forget to take your phone. Apart from tracking your location, it can come in handy in case of an emergency. Most runners take their phone with them to track their run, get their analytics, listen to music, or all of those three. By having your phone with you on your run you can check a map if you get lost, call for help during an emergency, or tell a friend to meet you for drinks if you decide to stop running!

Do you plan on running at night because you’re not a morning person or it fits your schedule better? Keep it fun, safe, and exciting by following the tips and precautionary measures mentioned above. You’ll keep getting better as a runner and really enjoy the benefits of running at night. As you become more comfortable running at night, utilize these 7 tips to get the most out of your training.

These 5 excuses busters will keep you on the path towards your goals

We’ve all been there. We have the best intentions of following a workout routine, but sometimes life gets in the way. Next thing you know we’re skipping more runs and workouts than we should. There’s good news, you’re not alone and these excuse busters just might be what you need! The goal is to anticipate these situations and be prepared. Below are 5 excuse busters to the most common reasons for skipping your run or workout. Pro tip: include this effective 10-minute warm-up before your next run or workout.

  • You’re too tired

Taking time off when you’re tired is important, but sometimes a workout is just what you need to get a boost of energy. Exercise increases blood flow and the release of serotonin and dopamine. All of which will help make you feel better. 

Solution: Maybe your regular workout is not ideal if you’re tired. Try less-intense exercise such as yoga or walking. They can be just as beneficial. You’re getting outdoors, enjoying fresh air, and increasing your blood flow. Pro tip: speed up the recovery process when you follow this long-run recovery timeline.

  • Not fun anymore

Getting out the door for your next workout is easier to skip when it’s not fun anymore. You can justify skipping that run or ride because you don’t get the same type of enjoyment. Chances are high that you’re getting burned out.

Solution: There are some options to making your workouts fun again! Try updating your playlist. These tunes might be just what you need to get going again. Plus, you’ll look forward to the next song. Switch up your routine. If you run on the roads, try the trails. If you ride the same loop on your bike switch it up. Lastly, meet up with a friend or two. Working out with friends is a great way to pass the time during your workout. Pro tip: check out these hilarious running memes and remind yourself why you love to run.

  • Not enough time

Life can be crazy sometimes. When we look at our packed schedules we might think the last thing we have time for is a workout. Try this, instead of finding time to work out, make time to work out.

Solution: You don’t need to work out for an entire hour to get the benefits from exercise. Sometimes 30 minutes can be enough. Try waking up 30 minutes early to exercise. Take some time off during your lunch break to ride your bike. You can also multi-task. For example, how about doing some body-weight exercises while you binge-watch your favorite series? Also, if kids are preventing you from working out, you can get them involved in your routine. Schedule family walks/runs/bike rides around the neighborhood.

  • Just not motivated

Sometimes improving our health or getting a PR in our next race is not motivating enough to help us stick to a workout routine. 

Solution: Set smaller, short-term goals that are realistic and achievable. While setting big goals is important, it might take a long time to accomplish them. You might become unmotivated over time. For some people, having someone else to exercise with can be very motivating. Finding yourself an accountability partner can be helpful. Lastly, doing something that is not fun is definitely not going to be motivating, so find a type of exercise that is fun for you! 

  • Missed the last run or workout

It’s easy to justify passing on a run or workout when you missed the last one. But don’t! You don’t have to necessarily make up what you missed, but continuing with your plan is the best choice for you.

Solution: If you missed a morning run, try completing it in the evening. If you miss the run entirely you have some options. You can move forward and continue with your training plan. Another choice is to switch the missed run with your rest day since you essentially had a rest day. Both of these options help you stay on track with your training. 

Whether it is a lack of time or motivation, we’ve all made some excuse to skip a workout here and there. The good news is that there is always a way to defeat our excuses. Make it a priority, and prepare to crush your next run or workout with these excuse busters! No more skipping your run or workout with these 5 solutions.