This afternoon I came across this article.
I’m already really interested in breathing as it relates to life. It’s remarkable how getting control of your breathing can help you gain control of your mind when anxiety has its claws on it. And as a novice swimmer, there are magical moments when I find myself moving like a machine thanks to perfect timing of my strokes with my breathing. Exhale exhale breathe. Exhale exhale breathe. But as long as running has been part of my life, I haven’t given a lot of thought to how I am breathing when I run and how I can use breathing to perform better, like in swimming. So it was quite serendipitous to come across this article right before I headed out for a (cold, rainy) seven mile run.
The idea behind the rhythmic breathing technique is to breathe from your diaphragm in a pattern that causes exhaling to take place on alternate feet, rather than the same one every time. Apparently your core is most relaxed when exhaling, leaving your body more vulnerable to injury, especially if you are always exhaling on the same foot.
I headed out for my run, ready to practice inhaling for three steps and exhaling for two. Immediately I realized I was taking a lot more steps than that during each inhale and exhale. Maybe double? It was too hard to count, probably because I was listening to music. This goes against what he suggests for a beginning rhythmic breather but I had my heart set on listening to Adele’s 25 so that’s what I did. Side note–I’d managed to avoid the Adele hysteria until I saw this performance on SNL. Now I’m all in.
Anyway, 3:2 breathing wasn’t working for me so I decided to just focus on making sure my exhales were on alternating feet and not worrying about counting steps. There will be time for that later. I did manage to get into a nice rhythm, and other than a mile in the middle where I had to stop for a bus, my pacing was pretty even.
At some point in the fifth mile I briefly got into a 3:2 breathing rhythm but it felt like my breaths were so much shorter than I’m used to and didn’t allow for deviations from the pattern for swallowing, licking my lips, etc., so it remains to be seen if that pattern is going to be beneficial for me. I am fully on board with alternating the feet I exhale on, though; that kept my mind super calm and focused and I was able to push all thoughts of how far I was going out of my head. And it’s a good thing because this was the longest run I’ve done in a month and a half!
I’m running long again because on Thanksgiving I signed up for this:
The Hot Chocolate 15k! After rereading my post on the 2014 Hot Chocolate 15k I decided I hadn’t trained too hard for that and it went well, so I may as well sign up. Besides, even if I walk part of it it’s still a really fun course. I’m excited that I’m enjoying running again and I have a fun goal race to look forward to!