how to breathe while running

Expensive, pink running shoes.

January 2015 I bought my first real running shoes. I went to the store, hopped on a treadmill and had my strides filmed. Surprisingly, there were no abnormalities and I was ready for my first fitting. Normal though the shoes were, I think I have never paid that much money for shoes! Training started and on the 29th of March that same year I ran 5km on the F1 track in Zandvoort. I have a medal to prove my personal best! And then the running stopped, for I never learned how to breathe while running.

what happened?

The conditions in Zandvoort that day were awful. There was a full blown storm coming in from the sea, it was pouring and I was freezing. Oh how I questioned the reason behind this madness. And that questioning covered my expansive running shoes in a layer of dust.

Over the years I really did try to get into it again. But I always managed to find some excuse to quit after a few tries. I settled for ‘just not being the runner type’.

back at it!

A lot has changed over the years, not the least of those changes being me. One thing that has never changed is my love for the outdoors and moving to the country has only strengthened that love. So at the beginning of this month I dusted of those pretty pink expensive running shoes and put them back on!


This brings me to the goal of my writing: breathing while running. There are millions of theories out there on how to breathe. And it so happens I am vulnerable to all of them, but none ever really helped me.

For years I have been practicing both yoga and meditation, the breath being the centre to both of them. I figured I had breathing figured out! But the longer out-breath over the deep in-breath does not work when on a run. So while running for a few weeks again, my frustration started to rise again, because I could not figure out my breathing.

the solution

So I guess I’m going to add my theory to the millions already out there. Or maybe somebody has figured it out before me and I haven’t found it. But I did find out on my own how to breathe while running on my latest run (and I am fully aware it might not work like a charm again on the next).

What did I do? Instead of slowly breathing out a long breath, I breathe out in a short, powerful burst. I think it is called ‘Breath of Fire’ in yoga. You take a deep breath into the abdomen and explode the out-breath out through the mouth. Followed again by a deep in-breath. Simple as that!

I noticed I became a lot calmer in general and wasn’t so frustrated by not being able to breathe. It sure made my run a lot more fun, despite the strong winds pulling my hair. Fingers crossed it will be as good the next run!

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