Are breathing techniques important for a runner?

We explain why running Chatty solves all your problems with breathing.

‘I can’t run because I’m struggling to breathe!’

Breathing is often considered something that you need to master to be able to run comfortably. We get people asking if there are any tips we can recommend that will help with breathing. These runners believe that a problem with the mechanics of breathing is holding them back. This is understandable as runners naturally think that getting enough air in is the limiting factor thinking that they can’t run fast because they can’t get enough air in.

Getting enough air in is not a limiting factor

In fact your lungs are much bigger than they need to be so you will get enough air into your body. If you are struggling with breathing it means that you are running too fast and asking your body to produce more energy than it can produce by using oxygen.

The anaerobic energy system.

Watch Colin as he demonstrates running fast in this video. Notice that when he gets up to speed, he can only manage a few words in between each breath. His body switches to using its emergency system which generates energy without using oxygen. When you go that fast and use this emergency system your body produces acidity and this causes you to breathe quicker and makes your legs heavy. If you run at this pace all the time you will be very tired and likely to get injured and ill. It’s hard work running at this pace. It’s not a great place to be.

Run Chatty and Train the Right Energy System

By running Chatty you will be training your body to use oxygen. You will be making your heart bigger to pump more blood round, and making more mitochondria which give you energy. As you train this system, you will be able to run faster at your Chatty pace. Running too fast will have a detrimental effect on this system as it knocks out the mitochondria and you will end up running slower as a result. The mantra ‘train slow to run fast’ works in this way.

Case study- Nikki in Malvern.

Nikki completed the Couch to 5k programme in 2019 and then really struggled with her running. She was breathing hard, and every run was a real effort. She found that she was not improving. Vikki started Chatty running and now she is flying, enjoying her running and has run 10km nonstop!

So are breathing techniques important for runners? No they are not. The relaxed fun of Chatty running is miles better than the hard work of running fast. Relaxed fun trains your body to use oxygen whereas hard work trains your emergency system which is limited. It will improve for 4-6 weeks but after that improvement will stop. Run Chatty to get faster. Take our six week Chatty challenge and find out!

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