Track and field athletes run thousands of miles in their careers. The end goal of every race, every competition, is to make it past the finish line faster than every other runner on the field. It takes strength, endurance, and skill to train for track and field events. Many runners fail to realize the importance of breathing technique and rhythm. Breathing should not limit your ability to run or perform running routines. Are you using proper breathing methods as you run towards the finish line?
High Intensity Breathlessness
Track and field is a sport where a large burst of energy is needed in a short period of time. This is a high intensity exercise, requiring a significant amount of work for the respiratory muscles. The harder your breathing muscles work, the less blood flows to your legs and other muscles. Every muscle must work together to keep your body moving forward. Keeping lactate levels under control is vital during the physical stress of running. When you’re emotionally stressed, what do people normally tell you to do? BREATHE! When your body is under physical stress, it needs to breathe as well. Breathlessness is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but also an exercise-limiting factor.
Importance of Breathing Rhythm
Timing is everything, especially for track and field. Timing is the difference between winning and losing a race. The time between breaths creates a rhythm for you to satisfy your body’s demand for oxygen. A set pace or rhythm (cadence) breathing enables your lungs to inhale and exhale consistently for every step of your run. Runners usually accelerate at the starting point, move toward consistent speed in the middle, and sprint at full power toward the finish line. A pacing strategy depends on the runner. During training and practice, determine the best cadence pattern for how many strides you will inhale and then exhale as you run. Breathing plays a significant role in race strategy. When you are trying to beat other runners, your ability to breath better can put you in a position to “run them out of breath” at just the right time for you.
Breathing is the Start and the Finish
Breathing before a race is just as critical as during a race. Controlled, relaxed breaths maximize your power for an explosive start. Better breathing is not only the start to a great race, but also the start to a more consistent athletic performance. Breathing at the end of the race or heat can help in recovery for the next event. Practice makes perfect. Practice every step of a race from the first launch to the sprint over the finish line.
Utilize an Advanced Performance Device
As a high school track coach in Vermillion, Ohio, Greg Cecil understands the importance of training athletes for challenging track and field competitions. He trained his relay athlete team on PowerLung Trainer, which enabled the athletes to cut their relay time by one full minute.
“One really nice thing about PowerLung is that using PowerLung during taper you can keep your aerobic conditioning and still keep your legs fresh.”
PowerLung, a hand-held training device, increases the strength and endurance of your respiratory muscles as you inhale and exhale against the resistance of the track. This ultimately reduces the relative “work” of breathing and improves your athletic performance. Breathing is demanding! PowerLung enables you to inhale more in a very short amount of time and exhale more completely and powerfully.
Run faster and farther by breathing better! How do you optimize your breathing rhythm? Sustain the same breathing level with less effort by training the strength and endurance capacity of your respiratory muscles.