Rhythmic Breathing

Rhythmic breathing coordinates foot strike with inhalation and exhalation in an odd/even pattern so that you will land alternately on your right and left foot at the beginning of every exhalation. This way, the impact stress of running will be shared equally across both sides of your body (Everything Thing You Need to Know About Rhythmic Breathing).

Do you want to pay better attention to your breathing? Possibly avoid injury? Be distracted from the harder moments during your run? Find new ways to convert breaths into words? Try these rhythmic breathing exercises!

One: Forbidden Forest

For slow to moderate effort: Breathe in for 3 foot strikes. Breathe out for 2 foot strikes. In 2 3. Out 2.

note: If you are feeling extra fit (mentally, physically, poetically), you can try this exercise at fast effort by breathing in for 2, out for 1. In 2, out 1. Good luck!

One || Warm up
Warm up by running at a comfortable pace for a few minutes.

Two || Sync Up
Begin paying close attention to your breathing and your cadence. Get into the rhythm of breathing in for 3 steps and out for 2. In 2 3/ Out 2. In 2 3/ Out 2. In 2 3/ Out 2. Chant this in your head or out loud.

Three || Replace numbers with words
Once you’ve settled into a steady rhythm, come up with 3 syllable words or phrases for breathing in and 2 syllable words or phrases for breathing out. Repeat the same ones for a few minutes. If you’re feeling good, keep composing new words or phrases. If you’re feeling great, pull out your phone, open up the voice memo app, and record yourself reciting the phrases.

Four || Remember Chants
After your run, try to remember the different chants you composed. Record them into your phone or write them down in a notebook or post them on your running log.

Five || Compose more chants
Spend 5 minutes writing down as many 3 syllable/ 2 syllable lines as you can. Do not stop to think about what you are writing, just keep writing.

Six || Pick your favorites
Read through your list of remembered and newly composed chants and pick out a few that you especially like.

Seven || Memorize them
Memorize your favorite 3/2 chants.

Eight || Recite them on a run
Next time you are practicing rhythmic breathing, recite the 3/2 chants you composed and memorized. Play around with them, adding and editing as needed.

3 Syllable Examples

Blueberry Crumble.
Raspberry Tartlet.
Vanilla Custard.
Strawberry Ice Cream.
Beautiful Dreamer.
Primary Colors.
Mystery Novel.
Forbidden Forest. 
Untimely Demise.
Let it be Over.
Long lost love Refound. 
Terrible Headache.

2 Syllable Examples

Striking feet. 
Flailing arms. 
Lying fraud. 
Yelling font. 
Famous fig. 
Ugly song. 
Fever pitch. 
Music soothes. 
Noisy bar. 
Smoky room. 
Salty beer. 
Bathroom line. 
Rising moon. 
Stary night. 
Scary thought. 
Trouble gone. 
Runner’s high.
Grassy knoll. 
Early heat. 
Maple tree. 
Thunder thighs. 
Coming storm. 
Startled dog. 

Two: A Nector Network

1 || Go out for a run by the gorge

2 || Pay attention
Do not listen to headphones or run with someone else.

3 || Document your run
Make note of what happened on your run. What you heard, smelled, saw, felt. Where you ran, what you wore, what the weather was like. Recite the basic details into your phone, write them down on paper, or type them up on the computer.

4 || Pick one memorable thing
Pick one thing–an image, an event, an object–that was particularly memorable to you.

5 || Write a poem about it using 3 syllable, 2 syllable lines
Write a poem about the memorable thing you picked. Compose the lines in the form of your rhythmic breathing, alternate 3 syllable and 2 syllable lines.


august 27, 2019 “Starting at 8:15, there are lots of cars. Such a crowded parkway!”

not a jam
moves slowly
an oozing 
sliding down
or is it
like honey 
from bees?
A nector

Three: hello friend

1 || Repeat 1-3 from version 2

2 || Create a list of 3 syllable phrases about your run
Review the details of your run and turn them into 3 syllable words or phrases.

3 || Write them on small squares of paper

4 || Randomly select 6-8 of them

5 || Spread them out, make a poem
Spread them out on a table of the floor. Move them around. Experiment with how to combine them. Use them to make a poem, or the start of a poem. Stick with the phrases, or remove some, add others.

3 syllable examples

too much green
take the steps
aching legs
river road
in the gorge
climate change
up so high
hello friend
be right back
old stone steps
the oak grove
good morning
stop and walk

may 6, 2019 (using some of the phrases)

I run through
the oak grove
and call out
to each oak
good morning
good morning
good morning
good morning
they call back
hello friend