Another Reason to Try Nasal Breathing?

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One of the commenters on the first part of why I tried nasal breathing (read it here) said she did it to make sure she ran her easy runs easy. This is even sort of ties into the actual topic this week — my thoughts on rest days — I write about that a lot! Yes, I’m a big fan of rest days. They’re important to let all your hard work be assimilated by your body.

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Run your easy runs easy
Okay, that was a bit of a reach. This post is not so much about rest days, but it is about whether or not you’re running too hard on your easy runs. You probably are. Most runners do. Because if the secret to running faster is to, well, run faster — the more the better, right?

Nooooo! You will quickly find that breathing in and out only through your nose will quickly let you know when you’re running too hard. You’ll probably want to start breathing through your mouth — a sure sign that you’re pushing too hard.

This article here explains how to slowly master nasal breathing and some of the benefits

By dramatically increasing the amount and intensity of work you’re able to do while nose breathing, you will reconfigure both your body and your brain to change what they think your endurance, power, and speed thresholds are. You won’t be tiring out secondary respiratory muscles (lats, intercostals and obliques) that fatigue quickly and start to signal the brain that you’re almost out of puff! You’ll be able to keep going faster for longer without tiring, and will avoid utter crashes and collapses that we see when people allow their breathing patterns to go haywire during a race or intense workout.

Matt Frazier, of No Meat Athlete, has another great post on nasal breathing here. The book he mentions is one that I have read. My experience with nasal breathing was just different from his — my heart rate could still get up relatively high, by which I presume that I was still just running too fast while trying to unlearn mouth breathing.

Even if fewer breaths, lower heart rate, and less perceived exertion didn’t translate into performance gains — and as far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out — it’s a worthwhile experiment for anyone interested in meditation, relaxation, and spending more time in the mysterious, elusive Zone.

It all comes back to can you tell if you’re running easy rather “easily” by tuning into your breath — whether you’re nose breathing or mouth breathing. It’s not the only way to tell if you’re truly running easy, but it’s a good tool to have. You always have it with you.

Final Thoughts
Reading these articles makes me feel that maybe I didn’t really ease into nasal breathing as much as I should have. Or maybe I threw in the towel too early, and really just needed to go back to basics. I’m still not sure I want to revisit it, but I want what Matt has! That feeling of ease, while breathing through your nose, even while running hard, but most especially while running easy.

Whether nasal breathing has intrigued you or not, the advice to run your easy runs easy is always important. Your body works hard for you and it deserves to be taken care of. — Chocolaterunsjudy

Do you care if you’re running easy or hard for easy runs?

Has running easy runs too hard ever led to problems for you? 

What are some signs that you need a rest day? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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21 thoughts on “Another Reason to Try Nasal Breathing?

  1. That’s an interesting aspect about “reconfiguring both your body and your brain” to different thresholds.
    I’m a big fan of heartrate Zone 2 running, which is similar except that you are guided by your heartrate. The advantage of nasal breathing is that you don’t need to glance at your watch every few seconds!
    I really need to give this nasal breathing a try. Thank you, Judy, for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Truthfully, I only run hard for races and short ones so it’s been quite a while…

    I love easy runs because I love looking at the sights and taking pix. Running is about being in nature and connecting with friends. That’s why I’ve done all my long runs at 13-14 min pace with others and loving it.

    Rest days? I try to not run back to back days (unless the weather calls for it) but when I am not running, I walk or hike and actually put in more miles than when I run. I just walked 10 miles the last two days hiking. Sometimes for me, the more I miles I do, the better I feel physically and mentally. When I am exhausted (from lack of sleep), if I go out and run, I feel energized. Everyone is different. You need to do what you body calls for.

    It will be a real adjustment for me when it gets too dark to run, walk or hike after work. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I do have knuckle lights but I can just run at UAlbany which has lights. Of course working from home means it’s not nearby. Oh well. That’s why I plan to keep up the 10 milers on the weekend to keep up my weekly mileage.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Running easy is a lot harder than it looks on paper. I know I’m still running my long runs probably too fast (well, that’s actually when I was able to run LOL), but running with Barb has definitely helped that to some degree. We talk nonstop, which is tough to do if you’re running too fast.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love all the research you have been doing with this!

    I can never be accused of running too hard. I actually try to keep things super easy, and I’m hoping to be able to kick it into high gear at my first 5K post-leg and post-COVID in a few weeks. Fingers crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Keeping your easy runs easy is so important! I really like focusing on breathing, whether its through your nose or not. If you can breath easily, and you’re not feeling like you’re out of breath, then you are probably running easy enough. When I try to breath through my nose I know I’m running easy if I can do it. But its not always a good way to tell because I can’t keep up with it for my whole run and allergies/cold weather/warm weather can affect it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like to run my easy runs at an easy pace. I love running in the Fall because of the weather and the
    colors of the leaves. I find it relaxing. However, lately I have been running them faster than expected. Yikes!

    Thank you for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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