Breathing Rhythm For Runners

By Dr. Jack Daniels

I strongly believe that breathing rhythm is closely associated with stride rate, and this association is not exclusive to runners. In fact, in some sports the act of breathing is determined very clearly by the rate at which the legs and/or arms are moving. Take the example of swimmers; here breathing in all strokes (except back stroke) is strictly dictated by arm turnover – you breathe in rhythm with stroke rate or take in a lot of water. In rowing and paddling, breathing is pretty nearly limited to getting a breath between strokes.

The question is how many breaths do you take per stride, or how many strides do you take per breath? Again, in counting breathing rates of elite runners, I have found that over 80% use a “2-2” rhythm most of the time, especially when running at a fairlydemanding intensity. A 2-2 rhythm means you take 2 steps (1 with the right foot and 1 with the left foot) while breathing in and 2 steps while breathing out. Some will use a 3-3 rhythm when on an easy run, and often go to a 2-1 or 1-2 rhythm when starting to work really hard toward the latter stages of a race or during a hard training session.

How To Prevent A Late Marathon Slowdown

Michael Cavalli:  What is the most important aspect(s) of marathon training to help the runner maintain pace/efficiency in the latter, more difficult miles of the marathon?

Dr. Jack Daniels:  A very important approach to maintaining pace and efficiency in the latter miles of a marathon race is to not go out too fast in the beginning. Run the first 20 miles no faster than your training and any recent racing VDOT values suggest for your marathon race pace.  It is often very easy to go out too fast early in a marathon because you have tapered and rested for the race and normal marathon race pace seems too slow.  The best part of a marathon to run faster than anticipated is the 2nd half of the race; particularly the last 10k of the race.  The first half of the race should feel like a pace that you could increase at any time, and something that might help in those early miles is to concentrate on being relaxed and turning over with a nice quick leg cadence and breathing with a comfortable 2-2 rhythm.  It might help to spend some time thinking about being relaxed in the face, jaws, then shoulders, arms, stomach, legs and feet.

Going From Good To Great

By Dr. Jack Daniels

Most serious athletes are on a pursuit to achieve greatness. The question is, what does becoming “great” really mean? During my athletic career in the Modern Pentathlon I was twice U.S. National Champion, a three-time World Championship qualifier (one Bronze Team Medal) and two-time Olympic medalist (with Silver and Bronze Team Medals). Interestingly, I never thought of myself as “great,” even a year or two later when I was given the unofficial title of the World’s #1 horseman in the pentathlon.

How I Became An Olympian

By Dr. Jack Daniels

Entering the 1956 Olympic Trials in the Modern Pentathlon I had been training for the riding, fencing and running events for about four months. The Olympic Trials was actually my first ever Modern Pentathlon competition (I swam and shot during college years). I took to the horseback riding event (5000 meter cross country with over 20 obstacles) very well and in the Trials we had the ride last rather than first because we only had 15 horses for 32 competitors. Only the top 15 after the first four events got to ride. I was in 8th place going into the final event but I was not trying to make the team, I just wanted to concentrate on having a good ride. 

Ask Dr. Jack Daniels – Crowdsourced Edition

We’d like to thank all of our followers on social media for submitting these great questions. We hope Jack’s tips are helpful when considering your future training/racing.

Ken G:  In the weeks leading up to the start of a marathon training program what are some things an athlete can do to help prepare?

JD:  Try to get into a desirable daily schedule, including an easy morning run a few days each week, even if there is to also be something done in the afternoon. Just make the total mileage not vary much each week and get in about 6 weeks of just easy running and 6 or 8 strides in the middle of these easy runs.

Albert D:  What are some of your favorite workouts to help prepare for a marathon?

Stride Rate: A Step In The Right Direction

[Editor’s NoteMany runners and coaches have heard that 180 steps per minute is a proper cadence and that comes from Dr. Daniels’ observing/counting the steps of elite runners in the 1984 Olympics. Some get fixated on hitting a rate of 180 but there are so many variables in terms of speed, goals, and the running background of the individual. The main point gets lost and that’s reducing landing shock to help prevent injuries and avoid overstriding. If you read Jack’s book, Daniels’ Running Formula, the section title in Chapter 5 illustrates this point, “Stride Rate:  A Step In The Right Direction”]

Try Back-To-Back Quality Days When Training In-Season

By Dr. Jack Daniels

Many coaches ask how to organize Quality training during weeks they are racing. Sometimes you just have to try different things to determine what’s best for your runners. First, I like to always have two Easy days before a race. If it’s a really important race then your last Quality workout should be 3-4 days before. Also, when organizing training always consider that peak muscle soreness comes 48-hours after being stressed rather than just 24-hours after stress.

Be Different In 2018 – Set New Types Of Goals

We always focus on achieving the physiological goals of training to improve a runner’s fitness and race times. This year consider other ways to help achieve better outcomes and your most enjoyable year of running yet.

Below are very achievable goals which can lead towards long term progress. You just gotta commit to trying something new this year. Be different in 2018!

Factors To Consider When Running In Cold Weather

By Dr. Jack Daniels

There are several considerations relative to outdoor running in cold weather.

Footing

Has there been snow on the ground and have sidewalks or streets plowed for snow? The problem here is that it is usually safer to run on a couple inches of snow than on a plowed or scraped surface which can be slippery. Stay off of ice when possible.

How To Approach Pacing A 10k?

Run SMART:  Do you have any general tips on how to approach pacing a 10k?

Dr. Jack Daniels:  I think the best approach would be to start off treating a 10k as if it is a Threshold effort, and after a couple miles, if that is not feeling too bad, then try picking up the pace a little bit.  Most people start races too fast so the approach is to start as if you are racing a farther distance than the race actually is and see how you are feeling.  You should still be comfortable breathing with a 2-2 rhythm when arriving at the 4-mile mark, a sign you haven’t gone out too fast. The last couple miles may require a 2-1 rhythm, but 2-2 the whole way is good. Always best to finish a race saying you think you could have gone a little faster than to wish you hadn’t gone out too fast.