|Illustration from theexaminer.com|
I've used this technique for months now, ever since reading the article. At first I had to make a conscious effort to maintain the rhythmic breathing, but it actually surprised me how quickly it became second nature. I make one slight adjustment to it, however: when I'm not actively thinking about other things, praying, listening to music, or catching up on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" podcasts, I say these words in the same rhythm as my breath: "Thank You, Lord Jesus; Praise You, Lord Jesus." The syllables of these words fit perfectly with the rhythm, with "Thank (or Praise) You, Lord" occurring during the inhale steps, and "Jesus" occurring on the exhale steps. This has also become second nature after using it so much, so I find myself thinking these words in time with my steps without even having thought about it.
This breathing technique may or may not be preventing injury -- it's hard to say. But I will say that it benefits me by keeping me going during long races, giving me something small to focus on when I feel like I just want to be done. And it also helps me to remember as I'm running that I want every step to be a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God.