Breathing Formulaand Foot action

Hi All.
I have just started to run again after 8 months of not doing so. Before that I was a jogger with more enthusiasm than style.On tonights run I was very aware of some things that seem wrong but I don`t know how to fix.

1. How much should I be rolling through my feet and pushing off with my toes? I seem to hold my feet very stiffly and my foot comes off the ground at a very sharp angle (toes pointing sort of upwards). I also feel that I hit the ground very hard.Is this all wrong? When I try to roll through my toes it seems very tiring but is that just `cause I am not used to it, and could this be why I sometimes get sore knees and a sore back?Does it also slow me down?( my PB is 10k in 60.10 )

2. Also is there a breathing formula I should use. I seem naturally to breath on every 3rd stride( 3 in 3 out) at a comfortable pace and every 2 when working harder, throwing in a 3 or even 4 when I feel I need extra oxygen. I have heard however that I should be doing 2 as the norm, That 3 means I am not working hard enough and that the breathing pattern is very relevant to performance. Is that the case and what do you find best?

Sorry there seem to be a lot of questions in that section. Hope some one can help.


  • as for the footstrike, i would recommend a gentler heel landing if your pace is, say, 8 minutes per mile or slower. this is the way i run when i'm doing a long run. i think it best protects the knees if you land this way, maybe you could go to your local running store and they might be able to advise a shoe for your gait if altering it is too painful.

    to get into a natural running stride try walking fast, then naturally increasing your pace. as for the breathing, i do the 2/2 breathing for any speed, because the breathing is slower with slower footfalls, and gets more rapid if i'm sprinting. i think it's a case of whatever works for you, but make sure your breathing deeply and correctly (belly breathing) and maybe someone else will have some additional advice...

    good luck, anyway!
  • 1) Go to a specialist running store with a treadmill & get your running gait assesed. You will then be able to get a pair of trainers that suit your running style. They'll also tell you if there's anything wrong with your running style. Hopefully running in trainers which are right for you will also sort out any aches & pains you're experiencing now.

    2)With the breathing, just forget about it.
    Realy, your body will try & take as much oxygen as it can by breathing from your nose & mouth at the same time. So just try not to think about it, look at the world around you & enjoy your running.
    If your worried about how hard you're training maybe get a heart rate monitor or try the same circuit once a week & timimg yourself. This should give you an idea of how your fitness is coming along.

    Best of luck

  • Thanks for the advice folks. I think you are right and I`ll carry on breathing as feels natural but still concerned about my feet. I pick them up with the ankle bent at a 90 degree angle and I feel sure that must be wrong. I know that if you roll through your toes naturally you must think I`m mad not to know how to do it properly but I think I walk the same way. Do you guys actually roll through and push off with your toes or with part of the balls of your foot or what?
  • I think it is important to concider your breathing, especially if yo are hoping to improve. I read somewhere that 4 strides to each breath equates to easy running, 3 to medium pace and 2 to max effort. As SS says, it is important to breath deaply. If you don't concentrate on your breathing you may find that you tend to revert to a rapid shallow pattern and you will find it hard to aintain your pace.
    Once you get the hang of it it wil come naturally and you won't have to think about it continuously, but ignore it at your peril.

    All the best


  • For the first time ever, I paid attention to my breathing last night. Now bear in mind, even though I have run a marathon in the past, I'm actually still pretty much a novice to this.

    I ran the 2-strides-per-breath method, and found I actually had some spare juice left in the last half-mile for the first time ever.

    But I think it's probably right to go with what works for you. I'll certainly be paying closer attention to my breathing in future....

  • breathing: most of the time I ignore it but just occasionally I focus on making long and even breaths - usually when I'm pretending to be fit and overtaking a gasper in a race. Hehehe.

    foot action I've never thought of, but it seems I should. I find that i'm lucky enough to have a fairly natural heel strike at a good distance pace and then can rise onto my toes when sprinting/ascending steep hills. mind you my stride length isn't much to write home about.

    BTW SP all the above do not apply when tackling your nemesis, then its gasp pant stagger.
  • Snail - I push off with my balls, if you'll pardon the expression.

    I have a neutral gait/foot strike but when I started running (about 2 years ago) I used to hit the ground very, very hard with my heels and the first few miles of any run (even when doing 20 miles) hurt like hell. You could here me coming a mile off as my feet thwacked the pavement - slap,slap,slap, ouch, ouch, slap etc.

    Things are a lot easier now - no pain and no heavy heel strike. Partly I think due to being fitter and stronger, but I also make a conscious effort to try to run "quietly". If I think softly, softly, I don't hit the ground as hard, which equals no pain. I also think it helps that I run about 1 minute per mile faster on most runs. If I try to run real slow, it can start to muck things up again!

    Blimey, what a ramble!

  • Thanks again guys. I know I breath deeply enough (for my sins I am a pro. singer and know about diaghramatic breathing) so I will go with what I`ve been doing till now as its seems to fit in with advice.

    Neilruns...Thanks for the info about footstrike. I did try to run softly yesterday and although it was a big mental effort to remember it, it wasn`t so painful and I seemed to run through my foot more than before. I`ll keep trying.
  • ...cant spell tho`.
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