How to Condition Your Lungs for Running

Jogging together - young couple running
Couple jogging in park (Image: Martinan/iStock/Getty Images)

Healthy lungs are critical for runners. The lungs must be conditioned to be more powerful and to improve endurance so that you can run for long distances without becoming too winded to continue. Runners, can do several things to improve lung capacity so that their runs become easier and they can go farther without becoming overly fatigued.

Run Consistently

Running regularly is probably the best way to condition the lungs. You should run run at least every other day, but five to six days a week is ideal. Running should be done at a natural pace and for at least 2 miles to build endurance, but adding some variations in speed can be very helpful and can work to improve the health of the lungs, heart and muscles.

Breathing Deeply and Slowly

To strengthen the diaphragm during running, it is important to take deep and slow breaths. Approximately 80 percent of breathing comes from a strong and conditioned diaphragm. Get into the habit of concentrating on your breathing when running and ensure that breaths are deep and steady to strengthen the diaphragm and help to remove any lung impurities. Deep breathing exercises can also be done outside of running for additional efficiency.

Do Base Runs Often

A base run is one done at your natural pace for a short to moderate distance to gauge running power and to stimulate major improvements in endurance, aerobic capacity and running economy. These should be done regularly throughout the week. You should be able to easily hold a conversation during a base run. Start by running just a couple of miles per week and then work toward a total of 15 to 20 miles per week in base runs.

Include Varied Runs

It is important to not do the same exact routine each and every day, but to vary running with a mix of long runs, speed runs, track runs and hill runs. This will provide a more well-rounded routine to strengthen the lungs, build physical endurance and increase strength and muscle stamina. This can be a bit uncomfortable at first because the body has to adapt to the different training styles, but over the course of a few weeks, your overall performance should improve as your body gets more of what it needs.

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