NAIL CAN HILL RUN: Breathe easy, this will help

OVER the past two weeks Daniel Searle has benefited from the four weekly sessions as well as from running on the Nail Can Hill run course weekly.

There is no doubt that for a visually impaired athlete, running on the already challenging course is a difficult task but the practice is making Daniel more confident and therefore relaxed on the trail.

In the coming training sessions we will try to take all the benefit from a proper breathing technique.

Daniel, as well as many runners, are all obsessed over the small stuff — getting new shoes, finding the best training program, experimenting with magic sport drinks or eating the exact and perfect breakfast on race day.

But we often overlook one of the most important components of running, the one thing we cannot live without — breathing.

We are running up a steep hill, descending a steep hill too fast or turning the last corner of the course and suddenly we feel like our lungs are burning and our breath is out of control.

This uncomfortable sensation cannot be avoided but it can be helped.

A proper breathing technique can be learned over time to help you run faster and feel better with every stride.

The key to being able to run for a long time is the body’s ability to supply working muscles with oxygen.

Proper breathing enables the runner to take advantage of complete filling and emptying of the lungs, thus increasing the amount of oxygen the blood has transported to the working muscles.

For optimal breathing runners have to take in air slowly and deeply, rather than in short, shallow pants.

If you are not sure if you are breathing properly follow these steps.

Step 1: Lie on your back with your hands resting flat you your stomach, just below your belly button. As you inhale, make sure the area under your hands is moving upward. As you exhale, it should relax. Resist the temptation to expand your chest.

Step 2: Once you get used to how step 1 feels, practice it in a sitting and standing position.

Step 3: Be mindful of your breathing during everyday activities such as working, driving, training or sitting.

As with anything else, if you do it enough times it becomes a habit and then you can run without thinking about proper breathing.

Step 4: Once engaging your diaphragm becomes a controlled process, test it in your intensive training sessions to get the most out of this technique. At this stage you are ready to implement your training with an effective running form/posture.

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