Who actively practices "rhythmic breathing" when running??

Rhythmic breathing is basically breathing in and out to the "beat" of your feet on the pavement. attendly.com/how-to-conquer... It's pretty simple really - although some articles can complicate it unnecessarily. It is just like dancing - where you take the weight on each foot in time with the music - if you try to do a Quickstep to the music of a Walz, then you aren't going to be a very good dancer.

I followed a lady at parkrun the other day - and I so much wanted to ask her to stop and then run with me for a while. She had over-exerted herself and I could hear that her random and spasmodic gasps for breath were in no way related to the rhythm of her running legs.


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  • I do breathe rhythmically, but not the four in four out that I've heard recommended. For me it's three in three out, which is what your article mentions. I breathe rhythmically when I walk fast too - always have done.

  • Yes - I use 4/4 for slow easy running, 3/3 for faster tempo running including parkrun and 2/2 for the final 500 metres run to the line at parkrun :) Never use 1/1 - I would be hyperventilating at that :)

  • Thank you for the link Bazza, I'm going to try this later (W5R2 tonight). I find that I struggle with my breathing for the first few minutes but then it sorts itself out although I've never consciously tried any techniques! Grief, you can tell Im a total rookie can't you! πŸ˜‚

  • I've always been a counter! 3 in 3 out usually with a big breath in on 3 as it gets tougher, down to 2 in 2 out when I'm gasping my last :p ...xx

  • Yes, I try to use a 3:3 for most normal runs.. It does take some practice to match your breathing with your steps. Sometimes I feel like I'm breathing more than I need, but presume more oxygen in the bank isn't a bad thing!!

  • I have read (and have some little experience with ) that if you overbreathe, you raise your heartrate excessively. Hence why Yogi's attempt to breathe very slowly and calmly when meditating? Maybe you should try some slower breathing - 4/4??? I was also reading yesterday of somebody who recommends a "pause" between intake and exhaust of breath - eg in, in, in, pause, pause,pause, out out out over 9 steps.

  • Good point.. something I think we all need to work on.. You wouldn't believe that breathing could be that difficult!!

  • I do when on the road and it's flat, or climbing uphill. Breathe, 2 3 4 ☺ When on the uneven, up hill down dale trail then I don't. When the trail evens out it will be rhythmic again ☺

  • I am with you...1234, 1234.... on the rough.. I am just glad to breathe :)

  • I've done 3:2 as my standard for a long time now, with occasional 2:2 on hills. Except last night when it felt awful. So I tried 4:3, 3:3 and 2:2 at different points and they all felt as bad! I'll go back to 3:2 next time and see how it goes...

  • I would love to master this, my asthma has been really bad lately and when I push myself I have to stay calm or I get very wheezy.... thanks for sharing :)

  • Hug for you xxx I hope it eases soon...:)

    I am wheezy now, but not asthma.. the pesky lurgy monster found me in Wales and caught me again and will not disappear... ! ! So annoyed!

  • I breathe and count a bit like misswobble , 1234... but it goes awry when on rough terrain... then i just breathe :)

  • Run a bit faster and you will soon find that in234 out234 is not enough!! :)

  • Faster... sorry Bazza1234 , that is a word not in this Old Snail's dictionary :)

  • Breathing was a real issue in the beginning for me as I wasn't sure what I was doing. I read about rhythmic breathing and it has been a life-saver (probably literally)! 3 in and 3 out for me - I think it keeps me calmer. When I am struggling to complete a run, I focus entirely on my breathing and I am sure it helps me through.

  • I do this all the time and can't listen to music as a result, otherwise it all goes to pot! In, one two, out, one two...all the way.πŸ’πŸ‘£πŸƒπŸΏ

  • Ha ha - I read this and was instantly transported back to the early days of C25K when Laura was trying to tell me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth (I think). I had so much else to concentrate on at the time that I got myself into a right mess! In the end I decided that my body had been breathing all on its own for a long time and could probably carry on without any interference from me :D

    I think I'm probably a little more disciplined about it now, although I still can't do the in-through-the-nose bit. I don't get enough air that way. I've never actually tried to count breaths and steps so I shall think about this tomorrow when I'm next out.

    The thing I do find useful is to breathe out if I'm struggling for breath - then the next breath in is a deeper breath and it sets the rhythm back again properly. It sounds contradictory, but when you gasp for breath, as the poor lady at your parkrun was doing, you tend only to take air into the top of your lungs. If you whoosh all the old stored stuff out, there's space for nice fresh air to come in and oxygenate you :)

    Thanks, Bazza1234 , I'll be counting tomorrow, running up my hill!

  • I have to mouth breathe all the time also - like you, I don't feel I'm getting enough air if I'm breathing in through my nose.

  • I have done this since the early days of C25K when Michael Johnson came in with his tip of pacing to breathing - I do 4/4 on easy and 3/3 or 3/2 2/2 on faster runs. I try to take deep breaths as well so that I am filling the whole of my lungs rather than just the upper lobes which happens in quick, shallow breathing - it helps get the oxygen in & ultimately helps your running :)

  • I do, but not what you might expect....I breath in very quickly, then out to 4 steps.... it comes from swimming where you snatch a breath when your head is above the water, then breath it but slowly over the next four strokes.

  • This has been interesting I breathe rhythmically (through my mouth at all times!) but I haven't counted. I'm going to have a count next time.

    BUT ... Do any of you have Parrell's "Happy" on your running iPod? That song is the perfect tempo for me to run in time to plus there's a sort of rhythmic "symbol" sound throughout the track that I breathe to in perfect time. Try it! (Though it may be too slow for you, I'm not a fast runner).

  • :) - much too slow for me !! I'm talking about cadence - not pace. I measure it to be 160BPM - I run a slow easy pace at around 180BPM and go up to 200 BPM when I am sprinting :)

  • What a good article, simple instructions and diagrams - that is what I like! I haven't really tried proper rhythmic breathing (mostly just huff and puff!) but after reading this and comments on this post I think I should give it a go. Do folk change the rhythm depending on the terrain, incline and hence pace?

  • The running cadence (BPM) should remain about the same for all conditions - although most people will use a slightly slower cadence when running slowly than when they run faster. But the breathing "rhythm" eg 3/3 or 4/4 will change depending on circumstances which alter demand for oxygen

  • 4/4 for the first lap. 3/3 for the second. Then 2/2 for the final one. It's one of the reasons I don't run to music anymore.

  • Hi Bazza

    Since you posted this article and the other one ('running on air' - well think that was you!), I have been giving rhythmic breathing a go. Today I did 10k and focused on 2 out, 3 in. I managed to get into the rhythm quite easily - even with Laura counting 1-2-3-4 steps (stamina podcast)! I also tried to think about breathing from the stomach. Interestingly I did a PB (1:06) so impressed with myself. thanks for all your useful tips and interesting articles :)


  • Excellent !! :)

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