Helpful tip for breathing

Discussion in 'Barefoot & Minimalist Running' started by NickW, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. NickW

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    Today I noticed on my run that a few of the runners were having trouble breathing and they just looked like they were having a heck of a time going. I noticed one thing they were doing that I had assumed most runners knew already. They had their shoulders slouched in, almost as if they were sitting over a computer keyboard. This effectively closes off part of your lungs not allowing you to take a full breath. The correct form should be pulling your shoulders back just a little, as it helps to open up your lungs so you can take full breaths. It's amazing how much of a difference this one thing can make in breathing.

    When I had started running again 6 months ago I had forgotten about this little trick for the first couple weeks or so and I struggled really badly trying to breath. It was like an "aha" moment for me when I remembered about this little trick. All of a sudden my breathing and running drastically improved.

    I saw those runners struggling today and I thought I should share this tip in case any of you are having the same problems. Most of you are much more accomplished runners than I am, or ever will be so most of you probably already know this.
     
  2. janson

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    Thanks for the tip Nick, not

    Thanks for the tip Nick, not sure if I do that or not, but I'll pay attention on my next run to find out.
     
  3. clmcap21

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    Good tip Nick, I have also

    Good tip Nick, I have also read that breathing from the diaphragm allows for deeper breaths allowing you to use more of your lungs.
     
  4. NickW

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    No problem janson.  Those

    No problem janson. Those people that I passed today just looked absolutely miserable and I would hate to think of any of us barefooters looking and feeling like that. I almost said something to them, but then didn't want to be that overbearing know it all barefooter who's sticking his nose in other peoples business. People already look at us different and I didn't want to add to that or create any animosity. I try to run with a smile (which is not hard to do as I'm a chunky guy barefoot running with a stroller while splashing in puddles) and be an ambassador, so to speak, of barefoot running without being pushy.
     
  5. Jonny00GT

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    The few things that have

    The few things that have helped me, on top of this excellent tip which is tied directly to posture, are 3 steps to a breath max. If you're taking more than one breath in 3 steps, you're going too fast to maintain. I breathe each step: In-In-Out. Also, every 3rd or 4th breath, exhaile with your lips pursed. This is supposed to more completely empty your lungs. Relaxing also helps the breathing. Being tense zaps your energy and tight muscles require oxygen to hold the tension. The last thing has to do with hill. While you do increase your steps, try not to increase your breathing. More rapid breathing increases the heart rate and you don't get full oxygen absorption.

    Hope this helps some folks. I've learned a lot from my running club!

    -Jonny
     
  6. NickW

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    Jonny, what do you mean by

    Jonny, what do you mean by increase your steps on hills? I try to keep my cadence, body posture, etc. the same while going uphills. The only difference is the speed at which I'm going up the hill. So I guess maybe I'm taking shorter strides which would in turn make me take more steps up the hill. Is this what you mean?
     
  7. Jonny00GT

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    Nick, you got it in 1!

    Nick, you got it in 1! Shorter strides = more steps.

    -Jonny
     
  8. Queenie

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    I have noticed that its not

    I have noticed that its not my legs and feet slowing down my runs, it's my lungs/breathing. Thanks for these tips everyone. Hoping to test them out tonight.
     
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  9. PatrickGSR94

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    I'm sure I look like those

    I'm sure I look like those struggling runners after about 60 seconds lol :p
     
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  10. Christopher Alexander

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    NickW wrote: I try to run



    Hey Nick, I can understand wanting to be a good ambassador to barefoot running, but how can I say this ...

    You don't need to smile when running to be a good ambassador. If I saw someone smiling while running, I'd probably think they are some crazy person, or mentally hadicapped ... :D



    Just run for yourself, and be good at it, people will see you as someone who knows what they are doing.



    Sincerely,



    Chris
     
  11. Phil Hart

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    Jonny is onto the best

    Jonny is onto the best aerobic endurance tip I've ever gotten. When I was a young soldier, an ancient (probably 45) Command Sergeant Major ran with me. As soon as we started, he took off at about a 7:00/mile pace on what was slated to be a 5 mile run.

    From the first step, he was breathing in time with his footfalls - 4 short partial breaths in, then 4 short breaths out, breaking the breathing cycle into quarters. He sounded like a miniature freight train - "hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo - haa, haa, haa, haa." I asked him somewhat sceptically, as young soldiers who think they know everything occasionally do, about the strange practice almost immediately, to which he answered, "just stay with me, LT."

    About mile 3, as he had sped up to about 6:30/mile while conversing with the soldiers around us, I was dying. After staggering through the rest of the run on sheer willpower and wheaties, I asked him how he could so easily outrun a soldier less than half his excessive age. He told me about rythmic breathing and how it worked in a nutshell.

    It's like LaMaze, the baby-birthing breathing/muscle control technique taught to pregnant women for years. LaMaze (and all breathing regulating techniques) can have several effects, the two most important of which for us are reducing the perception of pain levels and allowing muscles to perform more effectively and continuously as they crave rest.

    When you control your breathing steadily, your muscles adapt to more evenly regulated levels of oxygen input and waste removal. Over time, this will allow you to push yourself faster and farther or simply to run much more comfortably at any effort level you choose when running.

    This technique is not magic, and it will not give you 90% improvement overnight (or ever). It can give you single digit improvements in speed relatively quickly, but more importantly, it gives you more control over your endurance across distance.
     
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  12. BarefootGburg

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    I try to smile all the time

    I try to smile all the time that I'm running. I think about how silly I look, how glad I am to be able to run, how nice the sky looks.... whatever. Smiling makes running much more pleasurable.
     
  13. sloutre

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    After reading this thread I

    After reading this thread I research and re-read this excellent article on breathing by NakedSoleNate: http://barefootrunners.org/story/breathing-efficiency-running-your-breath-nakedsolenate



    Enjoy!
     

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  14. BFwillie_g

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    I can add a useful layer of

    I can add a useful layer of complexity to Phil's post. Instead of 4/4, try a 4/3 rhythm. This shifts the balance continuously back and forth from left to right and back. It's a subtle change but has a pretty impressive effect. Also, work very actively with the abdomen/diaphragm to draw the air in and push the used stuff out.
     

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  15. Lomad

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    I gotta back Nick up on the

    I gotta back Nick up on the "run smiling" thing. I don't think it's odd at all to see someone with a "natural" smile on their face while running. I do it quite a lot when barefoot. I don't have a fake permagrin plastered on my face just so people will think bfr feels better (and I think the same is true for Nick). I feel better and am more relaxed, actually enjoying my run. This causes me to smile. It comes and goes through the run, but it's there more often than not. Smiling=relaxed for me and helps me breate better and locomote more efficiently.

    Unless i'm pushing the littlest daughter in the stroller. Then it's full-time smiling, because she's cracking me up, ordering me to "go faster daddy!"

    God, I hate this boot and miss running!
     
  16. NickW

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    Lomad wrote:I gotta back

    Thanks Lomad. It's hard not to smile at peoples reactions to your barefeet which helps it be a more natural smile. I don't smile creepily at people, but I do a wave and give an acknowledgement such as, "good morning" or "Good afternoon", but never "good evening" (I don't run at night). My son cracks me up in his stroller too sometimes. Usually more often that not he falls asleep within about 5-10 minutes of getting back to the house, which messes up his nap schedule. Hope you heel fast Lomad and I'm with you on the missing running thing, and it's only been since Sunday for me but I don't get to see the dr till next Monday so.....
     
  17. Lomad

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    NickW wrote: Thanks

    Thanks Lomad. It's hard not to smile at peoples reactions to your barefeet which helps it be a more natural smile. I don't smile creepily at people, but I do a wave and give an acknowledgement such as, "good morning" or "Good afternoon", but never "good evening" (I don't run at night). My son cracks me up in his stroller too sometimes. Usually more often that not he falls asleep within about 5-10 minutes of getting back to the house, which messes up his nap schedule. Hope you heel fast Lomad and I'm with you on the missing running thing, and it's only been since Sunday for me but I don't get to see the dr till next Monday so.....

    [/quote]



    Yeah. I have a visit with a podiatrist Tuesday. Hopefully i'll get a better timetable and diagnosis. I'm the same way about the wave and friendly greeting (I'm from the south originally. Hospitality and all that); I think it helps people realize I'm not an escapee from somewhere, lol! I've had far more interactions in my evening runs, just because people are out in their yards, walking, at the park, etc.

    My favorite, though, was last summer when I was just in my early transition. We have an older gentleman (well over 80 yrs) who walks a couple laps around our park each morning. He was the single biggest encourager of my bfr just by his friendly exchanges and "stick with it!" each time I saw him. He was actually aware of bfr and asked me if the benefits were true in my case. He makes me smile each time I run past his house on my loop.

    Sigh...running...summertime...happy place...
     
  18. BarefootGburg

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    I always breath on three

    I always breath on three steps (LEFT right left RIGHT left right LEFT right left RIGHT left right).
     
  19. BFwillie_g

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    BarefootGburg wrote:I always

    Yeah, same idea. The key is the odd number so the ONE beat shifts legs. Basically, a shorter rhythm for a faster cadence, etc..
     

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  20. BarefootGburg

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    Remember that song called

    Remember that song called "Skating" from the Charlie Brown Christmas special? It's basically a fast waltz, 3/4 time, just about 180 BPM. It's a good way to establish a reasonable cadence, and you can breath 3/4 time while hearing it in your head.



    I find that breathing 3/4 keeps me light, keeps me from plodding. Which I am prone to do.
     

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