Does Increasing Lung Capacity Help With Running

As a runner, I understand the importance of lung capacity when it comes to improving running performance. Many runners, including myself, have wondered if increasing lung capacity can have a positive impact on running abilities. Let’s explore this topic and examine the relationship between lung capacity and running.

The Role of Lung Capacity in Running

When we run, our muscles require a significant amount of oxygen to function efficiently. This oxygen is carried to the muscles by the bloodstream and ultimately comes from the lungs. Therefore, it’s evident that our lung capacity plays a crucial role in supplying oxygen to the body during running.

Understanding Lung Capacity

Lung capacity refers to the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled during a single breath. One common measure of lung capacity is vital capacity, which is the maximum amount of air that can be exhaled after a maximum inhalation. Another measure is total lung capacity, which is the sum of vital capacity and residual volume.

Training to Increase Lung Capacity

While our basic lung capacity is determined by factors such as genetics and body size, it is possible to increase it through specific training and exercises. Endurance activities such as running, swimming, and cycling can improve lung capacity over time. Additionally, targeted breathing exercises and techniques, such as diaphragmatic breathing and deep breathing exercises, can also contribute to increasing lung capacity.

The Benefits of Increased Lung Capacity for Runners

By increasing lung capacity, runners can improve their oxygen intake, which leads to better oxygen supply to the muscles. This can result in enhanced endurance, reduced fatigue, and improved overall running performance. Additionally, better oxygen supply to the muscles can aid in quicker recovery post-run and potentially reduce the risk of injury.

My Personal Experience

As a runner who has incorporated specific breathing exercises and endurance training into my routine, I have noticed a significant difference in my running performance. My ability to maintain a steady pace for longer durations has improved, and I experience less breathlessness during intense runs.


Increasing lung capacity can indeed have a positive impact on running performance. While genetics play a role in determining baseline lung capacity, dedicated training and targeted exercises can lead to noticeable improvements. As a runner, I highly recommend incorporating lung capacity-focused training into your routine to experience the benefits firsthand.