Q: How should I breathe when I run?
A: Someone once told me about a friend that told her when running she should only breathe in and out of her nose. "It'll help you get that runner's high," she said.
Whoa! Stop! Don't do that! Whoa!
Ok, now that we've established that you should not do that, here's my take. Just breathe. Open your mouth and let as much oxygen as your body demands be inhaled. Do not constrict your breathing in any way. In, out, repeat.
If you're a relatively new runner your breathing will most likely be labored. That's because your aerobic capacity needs to be trained as much as your legs. Don't be discouraged. It will become less work the more you run.
You will no doubt hear from others that the proper way to breathe is to inhale deeply all the way down to your stomach. Or you may be advised to inhale X breaths for every X steps you take. Again, don't stress over this. These methods certainly work for some, but I don't recommend you get hung up on it.
Keeping this simple, my advice to new runners is to try keep your breathing manageable. You should be able to carry out a conversation. If you're panting so hard you can't, slow down. In time you may want to run faster. When that day comes it will be time to reassess. Until then, slow down and just enjoy the run.
This post is one in series that addresses comments and questions I routinely hear from both new and non-runners. This series - posts will be tagged with the "Intel" label - is not intended to delve deep into running subjects, but simply to provide informative, concise responses that sometimes entertain. I am not an anatomy professor, particularly accomplished runner or legend of the sport. I'm just a guy that runs often, races frequently and enjoys sharing what he's learned. You can contribute topics by emailing me using the link on my Google+ Profile or by posting in the comments below.