Couch to 5K

Hello - week 5 and breathing exercise for asthma

Hi everyone

I've been lurking for ages and started the programme at the beginning of June. So I thought it was about time to introduce myself. I've read other blogs and how other people have tried and managed it, but always thought it wasn't something that I could do: too old (41 and not a fan of exercise), too unfit, just not a runner etc. The only exercise I did was yoga, which involves a lot of lying down and breathing. Much more my style. I started running because my body is starting to nag me to take care of it better and I hoped that it would help improve my mental well-being as I have been mildly depressed for some time.

I've made it all the way to week 5 (I did w5r1 yesterday) and am amazed after every session. I run in the early morning before most people are about. One thing that has really surprised me is that I thought that running was just a physical exercise but actually for me it is as much about a mental effort. I have learnt so much about perseverance, and have definitely felt the effects of improved confidence. And the feeling of achievement after completing each run is a real boost.

I suffer from very mild asthma but I haven't had an attack or needed an inhaler for years. I was concerned that it would re-surface with the early morning runs and that this would hamper my progression. In week 2 I felt my chest tightening and was planning to make a doctor's appointment to get an inhaler. Then the next day in my yoga class the teacher gave us some new breathing exercises. One in particular is really good for asthma as it helps to expel all the stale air from your lungs to make room to breathe in new fresh air. With asthma it becomes difficult to breathe out fully so the lungs don't empty properly making it harder to breathe in. After doing these exercises it felt like having a new pair of lungs. Now I do these exercises on my rest day, and so far I've been ok. I found a video instruction on youtube in case anyone is interested:

I hope that this might be of help to others. I would like to stress that my asthma is very mild and under control, and I'm not saying that these exercises will work for everyone but personally I find them really helpful.

6 Replies

Thanks for the asthma tip, I'm going to check it out. I really agree with you about the mental aspect as well - it's an odd thing to find out. Maybe people who are naturally physical and active know already!


Eeewwww, thanks for that useful link. I became asthmatic quite late, following health problems and a couple of horrible winters when bronchitis became chronic. So I have only thought of myself as mildly asthmatic - not like family members who've had asthma from childhood. However, my own happy realisation was that at around week 4 or 5 my breathing just seemed to settle and I am certain that my lungs were stronger from those early weeks of the plan! I know that I couldn't make all of the runs in week one without gasping and wheezing and needing an inhaler mid-route! However, with persistence I eventually progressed onwards through the weeks and all the way to graduation.

I hope you will discover similar wonders as you progress through the programme - lots of luck in the weeks ahead. Do keep blogging too, the forum continues by sharing all sorts of useful advice and experiences.

Happy running, Linda :)


Thanks Linda. I hope the breathing exercise helps.

Thanks for the encouragement. I am finding that my breathing is getting better. It's great to hear that someone with similar breathing problems managed to complete the programme. I've been so worried that it would stop me progressing but like you I'm finding that it's pretty ok and settled now.


Welcome - do stay! I rediscovered yoga a few weeks ago, as cross-training for running (though I seem to have done more yoga lately than running - the lying on the floor bit is quite appealing!) They do fit together well, and the yoga is good for building up core strength, which I realised I really needed, as I spend far too much time slumping in front of my screen.

I agree completely about the mental training side of c25k. It's amazing what I found I could make myself do! eg keep running continuously for a hundred minutes - :O


Thanks, yes, my core strength was practically non existent before I started yoga, couldn't manage a plank for more than a couple of seconds, but I've noticed a big difference over time. My hamstrings are still really tight though, so I make sure that I stretch them every day as I read that runners often have tight hamstrings and I don't want mine getting any tighter than they are. I wonder if I'll ever be able to get my heels on the floor in downface dog LOL, oh well ho-hum.


Not much chance of my heels getting on to the floor with that dog pose! :)


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