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Nasal Breathing

One of the benefits of going home to visit family (other than getting to see my family of course) is I get to learn what new and exciting things my super speedy runner cousin has been up to. Well other than letting me ride his Elliptigo, (so much fun!!), my cousin shared with me a few awesome fitness websites, a few new books, and a little info on nasal breathing.

Question: How do you breathe when you run? It’s not something I typically think about either but based on my running pics, I can say for a fact I breathe through my mouth and not my nose. Mouth open, oxygen in, aerobic glycolysis starts, and I keep running. It’s what comes naturally to me, right?

Well I did a little reading after my information session with cousin Dan, and it seems breathing through the mouth is in fact, not natural. Infants breathe through their noses and it is only when something prevents them from nasal inhalation, that they open their mouths. It’s an emergency response.

Here are some of the things I read about nasal breathing:

  • it allows you to better utilize oxygen
  • you breathe cleaner air because it is better filtered
  • it slows down your heart rate
  • it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which calms the mind and rejuvenates the body
  • it produces less metabolic waste than breathing through your mouth
  • and the most common thing I read about nasal breathing… it’s hard!

Yesterday I tried a little nasal breathing during my run. Other than feeling like I was blowing snot everywhere (sorry, gross I know), I felt like I was suffocating . I was only able to get up to six breaths at a time before I had to open my mouth. But I did notice a little increase in pace. That was probably because I was at the end of my run, but maybe a little nasal breathing helped. Today I have a hard speed workout so I doubt I’ll be trying my nasal breathing at the track. Perhaps I’ll save it for my easy run tomorrow.

Happy Trails & Happy Running,


Running Update: Last week I ran 45 successful miles. I had two speed workouts, one at the track and one tempo run, and they both went very well. This week is my low mileage week so I’m enjoying a few shorter days. And Friday will be my long run day because we are leaving for San Francisco on Saturday. So excited!! Yesterday’s run is here.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. I always breathe through my mouth. I hardly ever see a race picture of me with my mouth closed. I don’t have a tiny nose but I can’t imagine getting enough air through there for running. If I was getting less air than my body needed I would think my heart rate would go up as my body struggled to get enough oxygen to my muscles. But, I’m no expert.

    June 19, 2013

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