Breath support: Helping runners become champion athletes

By Marianne Salza

Breath is a principle element in somatic practices. It is the key to life, movement and rhythm, and a source of stability. When breathing is blocked and not integrated with your movements, fluid mobility is hindered. If you tried sprinting while holding your breath, you’d get nowhere quickly.

Track Runner. Photo: Noah Darnell/ Flickr CC

And although the Emmanuel College senior, Wesley Cowles, admits to struggling sometimes as a runner, he describes some guidelines to help you breath properly and get the most out of your stride.

  1. Stay focused

“It’s easy to let your mind wander at times while running, which is a good thing,” says Wes, “but you don’t want to stray too far. Keeping your goals and split times in mind will help you stay on pace.”

  1. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth

“This helps circulate the oxygen through your body easier and begins a habit that your subconscious can remember while you’re running,” says the Cross Country captain and member of the Indoor/Outdoor Track teams.

  1. Breathe deeply

“Having your lungs at full capacity and full of oxygen decreases the number of breaths you have to take in and also increases the amount of overall oxygen that your body needs and can put to use.”

  1. Remember to exhale

“Not exhaling fully can lead to carbon monoxide build-up in your system,” potentially causing cramps. “Breathing out all the way will get rid of your cramps and allow you to fully fill your lungs again.”

  1. Have fun!

“Many runners focus too much on how much mileage they need to run or how much it’s going to hurt,” says Wes, “and they shouldn’t.” Focus on things that motivate you and enjoy yourself.

The Emmanuel College Indoor Track team will be competing for the ECAC Championship in New York, N.Y. this Saturday, March 3.

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