Long term analysis conducted by Jack Daniels has found that elite athletes in races up to and including the 10K use the 2-2 (breath in 2 steps and out 2 steps) breathing rhythm at the start of the race and after completing about two-thirds of the race they switch to a 2-1 breathing rhythm. For races longer than 10k the 2-2 breathing rhythm is used for the whole distance, perhaps shifting to a 2-1 breathing rhythm in the last minute or two for the sprint finish. -brianmac.co.uk
MY COMMENT: I've always started my exhale every other time my left foot strikes.
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