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Shut Your Mouth for Running and Health, with Patrick McKeown

By February 27, 2020May 20th, 20232 Comments

It’s not just about how you breathe during physical exercise, but also about how you breathe during sleep, because THAT can be a game changer.

In the past few months I have been fascinated by the breath and various breathing techniques while running and sleeping. This was largely inspired by Patrick McKeown, a breathing expert from Ireland.

Having suffered with chronic asthma and nasal breathing difficulties for over 20 years, Patrick McKeown studied the Buteyko Breathing Method at the Buteyko Clinic, Moscow, Russia. As a breathing expert, Patrick has helped many people overcome similar issues to his own and has worked extensively with athletes.

His latest book, The Oxygen Advantage, aims to improve sports performance by addressing dysfunctional breathing patterns and simulating high-altitude training. In today’s conversation we take a deep dive into the effects of mouth and upper-chest breathing on the body and the benefits of nose-breathing in running and daily life.

DISCLAIMER: Never do breath-holding if you are pregnant, if you have any serious medical conditions such as high blood-pressure, cardiovascular issues, kidney disease, cancer, etc.

This episode is brought to you by PATH projects, my favorite running gear. These are the only running shorts, liners, shirts and hats that I wear. The shorts have 3 pockets to carry my phone, gels, keys, ID etc without any bouncing. More info at PATHprojects.com

Hope you enjoy this conversation with Patrick McKeown!

🚨Enter for a chance to win the book The Oxygen Advantage. What was your favorite quote or takeaway from this episode? I would love to hear from you in the comments on YouTube. One winner wins a book.

Watch this full interview on YouTube.

Listen to the conversation on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastStitcher or your other favorite podcast platform.

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Find Patrick McKeown here:

Links and tools mentioned:

Show notes:

  • The right way to breathe! The impact of breathing on emotions,
    sleep and physical exercise [4:10]
  • Becoming a breathing expert. Patrick’s background. [6:10]
  • Nasal breathing and running – starting out [8:55]
  • Variation in facial structure and race [11:10]
  • Switching from mouth to nose-breathing – an extra load, forcing
    the body to make adaptations [12:20]
  • Flo’s nasal breathing experiments – air hunger improvement over
    6 weeks [15:55]
  • BOLT (The Body Oxygen Level Test) score [17:00]
  • The optimum way to breathe (nose breathing, slow breathing),
    water loss through mouth breathing [19:40]
  • Pulse oxygen meter experiment [21:45]
  • Optimal numbers for blood oxygen saturation, nose-breathing and
    increased CO2 in the
    blood [23:40]
  • Breath-holding; going harder and faster without over-doing it [25:05]
  • Repeated sprint ability [29:05]
  • How do you breathe during sleep? [31:30]
  • DISCLAIMER: never do
    breath-holding if you are pregnant, if you have any serious medical conditions
    such as high blood-pressure, cardiovascular issues, kidney disease, cancer,
    etc. [36:10]
  • Products and resources for children (Buteyko Clinic) [36:25]
  • Heart-rate and pace with nasal breathing, race breathing
    strategy [40:15]
  • George Dallam – nasal breathing, athlete performance study
  • There is an energy cost associated with breathing: expired
    oxygen through nose breathing vs. mouth breathing [43:55]
  • Improving an athlete’s BOLT score, advice for the recreational
    and elite athletes [47:15]
  • Benefits of bringing breathing into your warm-up [49:45]
  • How long do the benefits of nasal breathing last? Everyday functional
    breathing and breath-holding [53:25]
  • Dr. John Douillard – nasal breathing and the zone state, human
    ancestry [55:50]
  • Nasal breathing, starting with your next run [58:30]
  • Multiple practices – don’t overdo it! [60:15]

You can find me, Floris Gierman, here: 




  • Dom Davenport says:

    Hi Floris, this was really interesting as I have been reading his book and experimenting with the techniques. I have also been doing the Wim Hof breathing for a while and Pranayama before, all of which have their benefits. I wonder what Patrick would make of the vigorous mouth breathing that Wim advocates, seems to be completely counter to his methods. Maybe another Podcast opportunity to get them to talk to each other? Anyway, thanks for all your hard work, do you incorporate any of the breathe work in your training programme?

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