How Can Breath Training Improve Your Performance in a Half Marathon?

 In Key West Half Marathon

If you have been training for the upcoming Key West Half Marathon in January 2023, then chances are, you have followed key strategies such as building up mileage, running Yasso 800s, and taking part in effort-based (instead of pace-focused) training. One area you should also prioritize if you want to perform at your best, however, is your breath work. Endurance-based activities can pose a big challenge for your muscular and respiratory systems, since they have to work harder than they do in daily life. Breath training can enable you to use oxygen more efficiency and reduce the likelihood of side stitches. Read on to discover what important studies have to say on the power of controlled breathing for endurance athletes.

Strengthening Inspiratory Muscles Can Boost Endurance

Research undertaken by researchers at Indiana University has found that strengthening your inspiratory muscles by performing daily breathing exercises for a six-week period significantly reduces the amount of oxygen these muscles need when you exercise. This can potentially make oxygen more available for other muscles, which boosts endurance and reduces your sensation of tiredness during a long race like a half-marathon. For the study, athletes used a strategy called inspiratory muscle training, though you can also undertake or conduct breath training with music and meditation to boost mindfulness and enhance breath control even during a challenging race. If you are part of a team of marathon runners, instructing yourself in therapeutic breath work can enable you to share key techniques with your team members.

Controlled Breathing Reduces Panic and Anxiety

If you are training for a half-marathon and you have anxiety, you may find that the days and moments leading up to the big day are fraught with stress and anxiety. This can, in turn, affect your sleep, leading to an impaired performance. Southern Methodist University researchers have found that panic attacks can be quelled by breathing therapy. In fact, learning to control your breathing is more effective than traditional cognitive therapy. Controlled breathing can literally “reverse” hyperventilation, ensuring you do not feel dizzy or faint because you have been breathing too quickly.

Controlled Breathing Improves Physical Fitness

University of Colorado researcher, Daniel Craighead, recently published research showing that high-resistance inspiratory muscle strength training could help older adults stave of cardiovascular disease. He noted that breathing exercises were particularly important for marathon runners. This is because when you run a marathon, your respiratory muscles get tired and begin to take blood from your skeletal muscles. When this happens, your legs can feel fatigued, and it can be hard to continue. Breathing enables you to build up endurance in your respiratory muscles, so they don’t need to “steal” blood from your limbs.

Breath training can help you improve your endurance when you are training for or running a half-marathon. It can help you boost your respiratory endurance, so you feel less fatigued. Additional tools like meditation, music and other means of enhancing breath training can boost your enjoyment of this crucial component of training for your next half-marathon.

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