Successful distance runners aren’t necessarily born, they’re made.  It takes time, patience and lots of training effort to build up enough stamina to go from short runs to 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons and more.  If it’s time to up the game when it comes to running distance, learning how to breathe right can prove critical on that road to success.

While most runners understand the importance of maintaining airflow as they pace themselves, not everyone has a handle on how exactly to breathe properly to promote endurance that can carry a racer through the last few yards or even miles.

There is a technique that can help runners master their breath on the course.  It’s easy to learn and simple enough to practice just about anywhere. It’s an effective technique to know for anytime an extra burst of endurance might be necessary, too.  To get the full benefits of oxygen while running, take breaths that are deep enough to make the belly rise.  Doing so causes the lungs to fully inflate, which ensures the body gets the oxygen it needs while promoting the stamina necessary to go the distance.

Learning how to master this type of breathing during a run can be a tricky undertaking.  After all, it’s hard to pace breathing while also pacing speed for distance performance.  Consider practicing breathing as a standalone activity by:

  • Lying flat on your back
  • Placing a book on your belly
  • Breathing in deeply enough to make that book rise during inhales.

As the action becomes more of a habit, using it during a run will become simpler.  Be sure to also attempt to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.  If this isn’t possible, mouth breathing during a distance run is OK since it does promote greater access to air.

Other Tips for Distance Performance

Proper breathing is just one of the obstacles distance runners face when trying to add miles to their workouts. For greater overall success, consider:

  • Setting reasonable goals: When training for distance runs, it’s important not to overdo. When the body is pushed too hard, too fast, it can rebel and sideline runners. Instead, work up to the desired distance slowly and methodically by setting smart, reasonable goals as milestones in between.
  • Use proper fuel: Distance runners, like all athletes, need to eat diets that are well balanced to fuel the body right.
  • Get professional assistance: Trainers at a local gym or fitness center are often the perfect people to consult about creating a training program that helps add miles to run distances.