Running and Breathing Correctly
Running is an aerobic exercise that keeps your heart muscle healthy. It also improves circulation and respiration IF you breathe correctly when working out.
Go to any running website and you will probably see all sorts of information on how to breathe correctly, much of it contradictory or just plain weird.
Here are the essentials on breathing the right way while running.
Always breathe in and out primarily through your mouth
This helps convey the oxygen your muscles need to perform well while you are running.
Avoid throat breathing
Throat breathing is letting the air in and out in short gasps. It is not a good way to breathe for a number of reasons. The first is, it isn’t oxygen-efficient. The second is that it does not fully clear your lungs. Short gasps can also lead to hyperventilation and fainting.
Do deep belly breathing
As the name suggests, deep belly breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, is a stronger form of breathing, in which the entire belly and ribcage expand with each breath and the muscles of the entire chest and abs exhale fully, clearing the lungs completely. Deep belly breathing is often encountered in yoga as a way to take in oxygen-rich air and exhale stale air and other impurities from the body.
Sit on a yoga mat or in a chair and practice long deep breathing a couple of times a day. Do it through the mouth and feel your abdominal area expand like a balloon, then contract. Use your muscles deliberately to expel the stale air from the bottom of your lungs.
Practicing in this way will make this style of breathing come more naturally to you so that you won’t need to think about it so much when you go out running.
Train your torso
Deep breathing exercises will help make the breathing more natural, but you can also train your muscles. Take in as deep a breath as possible, hold, then sip in 3 to 5 more little sniffs of breath until you can feel your chest expand from your waist all the way up to your collar bones. Sip in a few more times if you can manage, and then let it out in a controlled manner until it is time to take another breath.
You can also keep breathing out until your lungs feel like there is no air in them. Hold for 5 seconds, and then start to breathe again. This kind of muscle control improves breathing, which in turn boosts endurance.
Endurance Training Tips When Running
All forms of aerobic exercise, including running, require endurance so that those working out can keep on going without stopping. Whether you are running one mile as a complete beginner or more than 26 as a marathoner, you need to build up endurance so you can go longer, stronger, or faster without feeling like a drained battery.
Endurance is complicated, however, because there are so many contributing factors to it, some physical and some mental. In terms of the physical, two factors are the rate at which your body consumes oxygen when you exercise, and the speed and level of exertion at which an athlete’s muscles start to accumulate a substance called lactate, which will fatigue the muscles and eventually bring their workout to an end.
In terms of mental factors, what makes one person keep going while others simply give up? It could be due to physical discomfort, will power, or a combination of factors.
In terms of improving your physical endurance, there are a couple of things you can try. The first is high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, which have been shown have been shown to affect how well the body uses oxygen, to keep on going for longer.
In terms of the lactate threshold, studies have shown that the longer you run, the greater your tolerance for working out, so you will feel less fatigued and be able to keep going for longer. Varying speed can also help.
If you want to boost your endurance, here are a few more suggestions that you can implement easily.
Rest between runs
It is important to let your body heal between running sessions. Don’t try to do too many long sessions or speed sessions back to back. Do easy runs in between your more intense training.
Try slow carbs like whole grains and high-quality protein such as salmon, beans and tofu.
It will quench your thirst, fight off fatigue, and help eliminate waste products from the body.
Warm up and cool down properly
Try dynamic as well as static stretching.
It offers variety as well as training benefits. Rocky had the right idea when he ran up that huge flight of steps. You can also try speeding up for short distances, then resuming your regular running speed.
Add strength training
It will build long, lean, efficient muscle. Try yoga, resistance bands, light weights, or tai chi.
Nutrition Tips for Runners
Running is a great way to burn calories quickly, but it is a high-impact sport that can take its toll on your body if you don’t pay attention to rest and recuperation as well as running.
The muscles you use when you run will be getting a good workout, and need time to heal. While it is true that many people run every day, they will usually run a different way each day in order to maximize their training and minimize their risk of injury.
There are short and long runs, speed runs, easy runs and high-intensity runs. The one thing they all have in common is they challenge your muscles in different ways. In order for your muscles to repair themselves after each workout and firm up, you need to pay attention to your nutrition.
The Nutritional Needs of Runners
Many runners think they need to load up on carbohydrates like pasta and bread before a run so they will have the energy to keep going, but this is just one part of the story. Sugary and starchy foods can actually slow you down and dehydrate you if you overdo them. Aim for whole-grains, not products made with white flour, and add brown rice and oatmeal to your diet.
The most important building block of healthy muscles is protein. Steer clear of red meat and aim for salmon, tuna, and protein from vegetable sources. These can include tofu (soybean curd), beans like red beans and kidney beans, and legumes like brown lentils.
Many people steer clear of nuts these days because they are high in fat, but the truth is they are full of healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol. In addition, they have protein, vitamins and minerals, and a great deal of fiber, which can help you feel full for longer. They are also a handy snack you can take anywhere without them spoiling in hot weather. A couple of whole-grain crackers spread with natural peanut butter, or homemade trail mix with almond, raisins, and a couple of dark chocolate chips, are perfect snacks for runners and easy to slip into a pocket to take with you on longer runs.
Finally, hydration is key. Water is great, but you will need to replenish electrolytes on a hot day to keep your heart healthy. Try a smoothie made with a banana and soy milk to maintain balance, and see what a difference better nutrition can make to your running.
How to Choose the Best Pair of Running Shoes
If you have just taken up running, you will need to buy a good pair of running shoes. You understand that running is different to walking and you require shoes that will suit your purpose. You want a pair of running shoes that are comfortable and ones that will aid you in your task of running. Using the wrong shoe for running is a sure way of injuring your feet.
There are four main types of running shoes:
• Motion controlled shoes
• Lightweight shoes
• Cushioned shoes
• Stability shoes
Motion controlled shoes are great if you have flat feet or are overweight. They are designed to offer stability.
Lightweight shoes are designed for long distance runners. This is a shoe for the experienced runner, not the beginner.
Cushioned shoes are shoes which offer the least amount of support inside the shoe, but they have cushioning. This is a great choice if you have high arches.
Stability shoes are shoes which offer support and cushioning. These shoes offer support on the inside of the shoe and are ideal for people of normal weight.
How to pick the correct shoe for you
Running shoes are designed to fit your foot while your foot is in its optimal running position. What this means is that your foot does not roll from one side to the other. If you maintain good food position you are less likely to receive injuries.
There are basically three foot types, take a look at your foot and see which one applies to you.
Is your foot flat or a very small arch?
Is your arch normal or high?
If you are not sure, take a look at your shoes and see the places where they are worn the most. If you have a low arch, you will see wear along the inside edge of your shoe, all the way to the toe. You have no arch to keep your foot stable. The best type of shoe for you will be the motion or stability shoe.
If your shoe wears on the outer edge of the heel, under the ball of your foot and at the front of your sole, you have normal wear. You best choice is to purchase a stability shoe.
If you have wear and tear on the outside edge of your shoe, then you probably have a high arch. You will require a shoe that offers more motion, a cushioned shoe will be perfect for you.
If you are still having trouble determining your foot type, then most good shoe shops will offer you a foot analysis. This way you will know how to purchase the perfect shoe for running.