breathing while running, keeping composure

Tips For Breathing While Running

Tips For Breathing While Running

If you’re a beginner runner, you might find yourself easily losing your breath when you go running, which can often lead to discomfort and cramping. Breathing plays a key role in running as a better respiratory system pumps more oxygen to your muscles, which equates to better endurance. Your breathing can become inconsistent after running at a certain pace, incline, or distance, leading to a decrease in energy. Luckily, there are many techniques to control your breathing and help you perform at a higher level. Follow these CoachUp curated tips to consistently maintain control of your breathing and become a better runner and athlete. 

Slow Breathing

If you start breathing too heavily, you might begin to lose control and have to slow down. To avoid this, you can regulate your oxygen intake by slowing down your breathing. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. You can’t take as much oxygen in when you breathe through your nose, so this will slow your breathing down. When you get your breath under control, go back to breathing whichever way feels most comfortable.

Breathing Cadence

A common form of breath control running coaches teach is breathing cadence. Advanced runners time their breaths with their strides as they are running, formulating a rhythm they can sync into. For example, a runner might inhale for two steps and exhale for two steps. Your cadence changes with your pace. If you’re running at a slower pace, you might want to take a longer inhale, maybe for three steps instead of two. Whatever it is, find out what works best for you and then crush it!


Stitches or side cramps are a side effect of poor breathing when running. A side cramp is probably an indication that you aren’t breathing deeply enough. You should use your diaphragm to breathe. Put your hand on your stomach and inhale, trying to force your abdomen out against your hand. Using your diaphragm to breathe will increase the amount of oxygen you inhale, thus reducing the possibility of cramping. Good to know, right?


Keep your body in an upright position and don’t let your shoulders rise to your ears. You should relax your body when you’re running in order to give your lungs enough room to expand. Maximizing your lung capacity will allow you to inhale more oxygen, reducing cramps, and fatigue.


(Related: Read about some of the most fundamental basics of cross country here.)

Huddle Up

Running is an endurance sport that requires controlled breathing to perform at a high level. Follow these running tips to regulate your breathing and, most importantly, optimize your oxygen intake. Proper breathing technique will increase performance and reduce the chance of injury, what a perfect combination!

If you’re still struggling with your ability to breathe while racing, or just desire an overall re-tool of your cross country game and strategy, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to figure things out. Cross country is one of the most unique, nuanced sports in existence, so don’t let one of two things slow you down! What are you waiting for?

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