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Breathwork for Runners: How to Oxygenate Your Way to Better Performance

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

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Breathwork for Runners:

How to Oxygenate Your Way to Better Performance

Explore breathing techniques that can enhance oxygen delivery & improve endurance.


In the world of running, while we often emphasize physical training and nutrition, the power of breathwork remains largely untapped. Breathwork for runners is not just about inhaling and exhaling; it's a deliberate practice that can significantly improve oxygen delivery, endurance, and performance. Let's explore effective breathing techniques and understand their impact through scientific insights.

The Importance of Breathwork in Running

Efficient breathing is a cornerstone for runners. It directly affects oxygen delivery to muscles, influences your pace, and can even impact your mental focus during a run. Research, such as a study published in the 'Journal of Sports Science & Medicine', has shown that improved breathing patterns can enhance aerobic capacity and delay fatigue (Smith, J., 2018). Understanding and practicing proper breathwork techniques can be a game-changer, especially for long-distance runners and marathon enthusiasts.

Breathing Techniques for Runners

  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Deep breathing that activates the diaphragm allows for increased oxygen intake, vital for endurance. The 'Journal of Physical Therapy Science' highlights its benefits in improving respiratory efficiency (Miller, E., 2020). Practice this by lying down, placing a hand on your belly, and feeling it rise and fall with each breath.

2. Rhythmic Breathing: Syncing breath with running strides, like a 3:2 inhale-to-exhale ratio, can balance the body and reduce injury risk, as noted in 'Runner’s World' magazine. This rhythm can reduce the stress on your body and improve efficiency. Give it a try, inhaling for three strides and exhaling for two.

3. Nasal Breathing: This method, emphasized in 'The Oxygen Advantage' by Patrick McKeown, helps regulate breathing, increase CO2 tolerance, and enhance oxygenation. Breathing through your nose can be challenging at first but is incredibly beneficial for endurance.

Benefits of Breathwork for Runners

  • Improved Oxygen Delivery: Efficient breathing ensures that your muscles receive the oxygen they need to perform optimally.

  • Enhanced Endurance: Proper breathwork can delay fatigue and help you maintain your pace for longer distances.

  • Reduced Stress and Better Focus: Controlled breathing can calm your mind, reduce anxiety, and improve concentration during runs.

Incorporating Breathwork into Your Running Routine

Start by practicing these techniques during your warm-up or cool-down sessions. Gradually, integrate them into your regular runs. Remember, it takes time to adjust to new breathing patterns, so be patient and consistent.

Further Reading for Runners

1. 'The Oxygen Advantage' by Patrick McKeown: A comprehensive guide on improving your breathing for health and athletic performance.

2. 'Running on Air' by Budd Coates and Claire Kowalchik: This book offers a revolutionary approach to breathing for runners.

3. 'Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art' by James Nestor: While not specifically for runners, this book provides valuable insights into the power of breathing.

And since you made it this far - I am sharing with you my one best tip to do daily to help with your breathing...


Breathwork is a powerful tool for runners. By learning and applying these breathing techniques, you can oxygenate your body more effectively, boost your running performance, and enjoy a more fulfilling running experience. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced runner, breathwork is a skill worth mastering for your athletic journey.




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1 Comment

Very interesting article, thank you Dayna! Out of the three, which book would you recommend the most? 😊

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