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2-2 Breathing Pattern

Posted by George Parker on
runner vitamin vitamins for runners

Do you have a breathing pattern when running? If not, let me suggest a 2-2 rhythm for your most your efforts. Here's why in the latest episode of the 5-minute warmup.  

Today we are talking about breathing. The reason I want to talk about this that I was on a Facebook group the other day, and one of the runners was talking about not knowing how fast to run on the easy run --- if she was going too fast, or she was going too slow. And there's a lot of advice around "Hey, you should keep a conversational pace, you should run out specific minute per mile." But the way I have always been taught by my coaches, the way I've read in many books, is to focus on your breathing pattern.

One of the best patterns you can have is the the two by two breathing pattern. For two steps you want to breathe in. Then for the next two steps you breathe out. If you can run at a pace where you're able to maintain that breathing pattern, that's a really good pace. And what you're going to find is over time, you'll be able to run faster and faster distances at that pace. But that's a good pace to aim for in your training.

You'll notice that sometimes when you're sprinting or running hard, you're not able to maintain that 2x2 pace. That's what happens when you are running fast, you need more oxygen. Your breath is going to change patterns, it'll be maybe a one by one breathing pattern. Because you need a lot more oxygen, it's hard to maintain that two by two pattern. If you are running really conservatively, you may even have a three by three pattern where you are breathing in for three seconds and then exhaling for three seconds.

In general, if you aim for two by two breathing, what I have found is that this is a real good training pace that will handle you on not only easy paces, but also will moderate you on some harder efforts to make sure you're not going too fast. And it will also help moderate you on things like hills as you're going uphill. It's hard sometimes to know, what pace do you need to be at when you're going uphill when you want to keep running at a steady effort. If you run at a pace where you can maintain a two by two breathing, that's a pretty good way to measure your effort on a particular hill.

So the point of all this is one of the ways you can get more in tune with the pace that you can run is to not be looking at your watch not to be looking at certain splits, but paying attention to your breathing and picking a 2x2 breathing pattern. And sticking with that. And you'll notice as fitness improves over training blocks, you'll be able to run faster and faster at that breathing pattern because your body get more aerobically fit. And that's kind of the whole point. 

Aside from the 2x2 pattern, you can even have other patterns like two by one or one by two or three by one where you can get super complicated. There's a lot of theories, but in general, if you stick towards trying to hit a two by two breathing pattern, I think for most of the work that the runners I interact with through PEREGRUNE that's a real good pattern to stick with and should help you out.

Take care and best wishes on your running,

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