Breathing for runners. You might be doing it wrong.


When it comes to running you might be surprised how many runners don’t know how to breath for maximum performance and endurance.

There is loads of misinformation and we are here to set the record straight with a few tips on breathing right.

Mouth or Nose?

Your mouth. Always. Period.

It may not look as glamorous, but hey you are already sweating like a pig and unless you are wearing one of our cute running shirts, the ability to breath is probably more important than your outfit.  While you’re running, you need as much oxygen as possible. The nose can’t get in nearly as much oxygen as the mouth so it’s less preferred.

There’s a very good reason why the best runners don’t nose-breathe – it slows them down. Did you hear that…nose breathing is slow!

We would be wise to model our behavior after the best runners. They’re good for a reason.

Do I need a breathe-to-step ratio?


I’m sure someone will disagree with us on this, and there are lots of articles to the contrary on a million different sites, but the proof is in the results. We trained many beginning runners and spoken with the pros, and the story is always the same. Trying to match pace with you breathing is just too much concentration and doesn’t bring as much benefit as you think.

Really?? YES.

And when it comes to breathing, just breathe naturally when needed through your mouth.

If you’re just starting out as a runner, your body will figure out the optimal ratio through experience, trial and error, and a variety of workouts that challenge your breathing patterns in different ways.

The reason why I dislike specific ratios is that it’s distracting and difficult to implement.

Want to lose your enthusiasm for running? Try forcing yourself into a certain breathing ratio…

How do I breathe better? I can never catch my breath.

The reality is that if you are constantly struggling to breath, and you are no longer nose breathing, it means you are probably out of shape. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that once running is a regular part of your life, that constantly-out-of-breath feeling will subside.

If anything building endurance is about consistency and repetition. However, a great tip is to increase your breathing rate overall, the more oxygen you take in the more your lungs will adapt.

The wrap up on breathing.

I know that I’m suggesting you forget your your look for the sake of breathing, but I’m crazy like that. The bottom line is running should be fun and rewarding, not frustrating and confusing.

Stick open mouth breathing, forget ratios and get consistent with your short and long run schedule and you will be breathing like a demigod. You might even break into song and with all that extra lung power.

So get out there and take in that life giving oxygen.