Tommaso De Rosa
Here is my experience.
I started to train my breathing before my legs (and my body), well before I started running and even before that, to start to be a more active person.
A sudden consciousness about how my breath really was - very, very poor (but I was just breathing wrongly like many) - started it all.
My habits were mouth breathing (faster and shallow), erratic respiratory patterns, long apneas (which I didn't notice at all), breathlessness... my diaphragm was not engaged at all... with all the related consequences you can imagine...
Taking notice of that and wanting to seek an improvement was the real premise to achieve progressively all benefits - offered to me by more efficient breathing - which allowed the complete change of my habits and a drastic improvement in the quality of life - at 360 degrees.
Breathing is "energy," and letting the energy be free allows for changes.
This happened around ten years ago. At the beginning of this engaging journey, I considered myself "a breath's athlete" first: I was fully immersed into the training of the respiratory muscles endurance (every day, I was exercising my breathing efficiency 🌬️ with a great swiss device: SpiroTiger).
At that time, the power of more effective breathing let me to "grip" the energy to become a "walker"; then it pushed me to continue changing, and to have a more healthy approach to food.To see myself as a potential "runner" - just six years ago - and then becoming a passionate real "trailrunner" have been just the natural consequence: simply, I felt to have the energy to do these steps.
The focus on breathing has been continuous and central during these years. I still consider that as my priority point of view to orienter my running preparation, as it has always been more generally for my health.
I practice, naturally and consciously, a slow paced diaphragmatic breathing: I'm fully aware of breathing rates & ratio of my inhales and exhales. Almost always: while I'm running, walking, stepping up on a flight of stairs, in relax or exertion; while I work, I read, laying on the sofa watching a movie, or I'm sitting at the desk in front of my iMac (that's the hardest situation). All these behaviours happen naturally now but I nailed them along a process which required a lot of time (with a lot of work on myself and patience).
For the last three years I became a runner that breathes only through the nose (100%), both during training or racing, usually with a piece of coloured fisio tape over my mouth 🤐 to keep the lips sealed. Even when I'm sleeping, my mouth stay closed: I started four years ago and I've never gone a night without taping my mouth shut (highly recommend this habit 👍)
By breathing, I know how to approach the stress, improve recovery and quality of sleep, reactivate focus and attention, modify my HR, achieve calmness and mindfulness... I feel the signals of the body, and generally I'm able to manage them within a range of effective breathing behaviours. (Or at least I'm looking for a way to do it 😊)