Breathing - how important is it?

I am starting W4R1 tomorrow and am a bit worried about breathing. I suspect it will get more important as I progress and I haven't managed to master the breathing technique Laura talks about in week 2.

If I remember correctly she says to inhale for 3 footfalls and exhale for 2. Inhaling for 3 footfalls is almost impossible for me. My lungs just aren't big enough yet to take in that much oxygen!

So far I have just been letting the breathing sort itself out and it seems to be ok (although only after I've been busy for a while do I seem to find a rhythm, and not the rhythm Laura prescribes.)

Am I setting myself up to fail if I don't figure out the breathing?

11 Replies

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  • I was wondering the same thing. I find that when I try to focus on the breathing I get more stressed and lose my rhythm and end up faffing. So instead I just focus on my pace, keeping it rhythmical and hope that my breathing will match it. Its worked so far.

    I'm not sure how important it is for longer runs, but I'm midway through Week 7 and have managed ok so far.

  • Its absolutely essential But how you do it has to in my opinion be flexible to be comfortable for the individual runner. I for one stopped trying to breath in through my nose and out by mouth very early on, it just was not possible for me to get enough air into my lungs through my nose. As for the timing that too went out of sink quite early on in my runs when I encountered an UP!! I now just get my breathing into a comfortable rhythm along with my stride on the flat its probably as Laura suggested but in the early days I found it easier to get into my own breathing pattern which suited the terrain and my efforts. I'm not saying don't pay attention to Laura and the podcasts because I wouldn't have got where I am today without them but what I am saying is don't get too hung up on 'I MUST DO BECAUSE THATS WHAT LAURA SAYS' because its not going to be right for everyone. Good luck with the rest of the programme, hope you enjoy running as much as I do.

  • I breathe in time with my steps, but not Laura's suggested 4-in, 4-out. I usually do 2-in, 4-out, but on hilly bits this might well go to 2-in, 3-out. And I can't breathe in through my nose at all! (On the treadmill the other night I managed 3-in, 5-out for a while, but as time went on and I got tired that went to 3-in, 4-out, then I think 2-in, 4-out for the last few minutes.)

    You're definitely not setting yourself up for failure by not following strictly what Laura says about this. As long as you are breathing somehow, you'll be ok! ;) For me, the main thing is that it's controlled. I know my breathing will get quicker as I tackle a hill, or when I get more tired towards the end of a run, but it's still controlled and timed with my steps.

    Happy running! :)

  • Thank you everyone for the advice. I feel reassured that I'm not doing it totally wrong. I normally end up running 2-in, 2-out. I can not imagine 5-out RainbowC! You sound like a yoga master ;-)

  • No yoga, but many many years of singing and flute playing! Even as a skinny minnnie in high school (how long ago those days are now...), I had bigger lung capacity than even the larger lads in my science class (I remember their & the teacher's astonishment to this day ;) )

  • Also wanted to say that, despite not "breathing by the book", I am managing to take deep breaths every now and again, which I take as a good sign. Still not managing to have a conversation though. If I had to slow down enough to do that I fear I might be walking :-(

  • Taking deep breaths before coming to a hill is a very good thing to get into the habit of doing, the deeper breaths allow your lungs to work more efficiently and to cope with the extra exertion you need for the 'UPS' As your body gets more used to running your breathing will become easier and relaxed. Good luck you are doing well, I hope you are enjoying it too.

  • Don't think too much about breathing. Of course, you should try to have a certain and calm breathing pattern but your body take the oxygen it needs. I graduated a few weeks ago and don't breath "by the book" but just as I need it. As I'm not able to breath through my nose (for the same reasons as Oldgirl), I breath through my mouth but try to keep my tongue to the upper part (more or less) to prevent my mouth from becoming dry and also from swallowing flies.

    Just relax, stay calm and don't worry too much about breathing.

  • Every time I've tried to regulate my breathing I end up getting thoroughly put off. Seems to work best for me if I let my lungs judge when they need more air. :)

  • There's an interesting and v useful book by Julian Goater called How to Run Faster - he writes quite a bit about breathing patterns and advises on staying controlled and relaxed - as an ex International athlete he says he's never heard any top runners panting rapidly during a race - worth a read for runners at any level ..

  • Thank you casebycase, I'll will definitely take a look. Although at this point I am still focused on the "how to run" part, the "faster" will be for after I graduate!

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