Over at letsrun.com, they're having a fun little thread about middle school coaching and proper breathing techniques. Since I help coach the same age range, I put my two cents in. I spend a bit of time working with them on abdominal or belly breathing, but it really isn't a major focus given the really short season we have to work with.
The other thing I teach them is sequencing. In. Out. In. Out. And at every race I remind them of that little factoid. Some of the parents will laugh but it helps a lot of them. Not that they literally forget to breathe, but it gives them something to focus on other than their nerves.
In my case, I breathe about as well as a corked bottle of wine. I compensate by being very mechanically efficient and do the best that I can to improve oxygen uptake. There are a ton of books that will proclaim to teach a runner how to get more air in, and there's plenty of workouts, too.
I find that long intervals do the best job of driving improvement on lung power as well as long steep hills. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing either lately, so while my legs have gotten a lot stronger, I haven't picked up any noticeable top end speed.
That will probably be the case for the next couple of months while I build up my base to handle the mileage around the Seven Devils. Once the base is built, I'll do some sharpening to bring the lung power online for the trip.
And, just in that little description, you get an idea on why teaching breathing techniques to the kids isn't a good time investment. We only have eight weeks total. So, yes, we give them some exposure to the ideas behind breathing and running, but much more of our time is spent getting the kids fit enough to run the entire race and stay healthy at the same time.
Plus have fun.
If you click on the letsrun link, check out the name of the guy posing the question. Middle school Drama. Funny, because every year Steve and I promise "No drama." Every year, we're wrong - though last year set a new speed record.
Run gently folks. Don't forget to breathe. In. Out.