Breath through mouth or nose?: So a lot of my... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
82,805 members114,298 posts

Breath through mouth or nose?

So a lot of my friends who have been runners for years told me to breathe through the nose however since Ive started running Im not finding this very natural and having looked it up on the internet there seems to be conflicting advice, so what do you guys do?

6 Replies

i breath through my mouth all of the time! both in and out. On the out breath I breathe long and slow to keep me calm (and not panic about not finishing the run!) and for breathing in I do short quick breaths. Probably not one to advise but it really works well for me!!


I wondered about this too because I breath through my mouth and had also heard I should breathe through my nose. The answer that made the most sense to me is that as your muscles work harder they need more oxygen to break down the build up of lactic acid (which makes you stiff if you can't get rid of it). And because your body wants to get as much oxygen as it can via the easiest route/path of least resistance a lot people breathe through their mouths because it's a bigger opening than the nose, so you can get more oxygen from one inhalation.

What I have noticed as I have become fitter is that I breathe through my nose at the beginning of run and then start breathing through my mouth towards the end. I think this has something to do with increased stamina.

I would do what feels the most natural and allows you to complete the runs with the most ease.


Another thing I read, although not directly related to your question, is that you should inhale on a foot strike. That's because gravity is driving all your internal organs down anyway at that point, leaving you with a bit more space in your chest cavity, thereby allowing to breathe in more oxygen. I've tried this a couple of times and it does seem to make a difference, although I would have to practice it more for it to become second nature.


When I started the programme I obsessed about this. Got to the stage that I couldn't concentrate on running for worrying about how I was breathing and then I ended up out of breath ! Now I don't try to do anything and just breath naturally- seems to work!


Do what comes naturally is my motto, I find I can breath through my nose if I'm not pushing myself too hard but don't get enough oxygen if I'm going faster or up hill, I then breath in and out through mouth. I'm unfortunately a very noisy breather, sound like a puffer train some days. :)


There is a link on one post from last week, I think, to an article on the Guardian running blog, all about breathing and going into all sorts of theories, but basically saying it is impossible to get the required volume of air in through your nose when running hard. It was summarised by saying do what comes naturally.

1 like

You may also like...