Try Rhythmic Breathing on Odd Cadence for Your Next Few Runs


Posted by Coach Mark Sortino

Breathing is a SKILL.

I’ve written about breathing in the past and how important it is in all three disciplines: swim, bike and run. For swimming, most athletes fail to exhale forcefully enough to get most of the air out of their lungs, thus reducing the amount they can take in on each breath. For cycling, watch any great time trialist and you’ll see the bloated belly extending and contracting with each breath as these athletes utilize their abdomen more than anyone to get in the most oxygen they can. For running, there’s a lot out there about relaxed breathing, specific techniques and posture. But I want you to consider a different method that I’ve been using now for over a year.



This method was first introduced to me by Boise Pro Triathlete and friend, Kevin Everett at SatoriFlow ( and it’s called rhythmic breathing on an odd cadence. For EASY or Endurance Runs, It’s essentially inhaling for 3 strides and exhaling for 2. In other words, every 5 steps you’ll be switching from beginning to exhaling on the right foot and then 5 steps later on the left foot. For Threshold and above efforts (HARD), then it’s inhaling for 2 strides and exhaling for 1.

When I first started trying this, I had a hard time adjusting my exhales to get more air out - especially running up hills. But once I adjusted, I found I actually got MORE air in on my inhales. After only a month, I found that I felt stronger, more relaxed and the effort felt easier. Last year Kevin sent me the link below to Budd Coates’ talk about “Running on Air” who explains it in the middle of his talk. Go check it out and give it a try!

"Running on Air" by Budd Coates


~Coach Mark Sortino

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