Breathing: I feel very uncomfortable in having... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
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I feel very uncomfortable in having to take deep breaths (As suggested by Laura. In through nose, out through mouth) whist out running and in doing so get out of breath. I then resort to short breaths in and out of my mouth, with which I'm reasonably comfortably with. Although I'm beginning to think there is something wrong with my lung capacity!

Any suggestions please? Thank you.

13 Replies

I had similar problem with following Laura instructions at the beginning, in fact my breathing went bad even after the runs, then I realised I had to train myself i.e. I was following Laura instructions partially and gradually increasing the number of times I did breathing the right way. I found the trick is not to do it very first. I also browsed in the net on how to breathe properly. This all helped me.


Best recommendation? Just breathe!! Do what suits you. By all means, experiment with different methods but don't try and force yourself into something that doesn't feel right.

I don't even think about it and tend to breathe in through my mouth, although sometimes if I'm having problems I do a few deep nose-in mouth-out breaths which help.

As for lung capacity.....I run regular 8-10ks plus and the other week was meeting my friend in London. By the time I got to the top of the steps from Swiss Cottage tube, I was gasping and could hardly speak... My friend laughed.....a lot.....

you can get a peak flow meter form the chemists or on ebay/amazon for under a tenner. Measure your lung capacity before, midway through and after running at half hour intervals. If the post run level does not return fairly quickly to the pre run level, it may be worth having a chat with your Dr.

I also got this book and am strongly considering getting a Powerbreathe to improve my breathing strength.


I always find it difficult to breath through my nose while running - it always ends up feeling bunged up, though isnt. I find if I breath through my mouth I feel so much better. Maybe things will change in time, I don't know! During a run if Laura suggests something, I often give it a try and some how everything goes off track and goes wrong! Maybe that's just me! As long as I do breath I'm ok. My biggest failing is keeping my shoulders and arms relaxed!


Running is like dancing -- when we dance we place each foot on the floor in time with the beat of the dance. A waltz - 1,2,3- 1,2,3- a quickstep 1,2,3,4-1,2,3,4- etc.

When running we breath in time to the beat -- that is, the beat of our footsteps. 1,2,3,4-1,2,3,4---- or 1,2- 1,2- or --1,2,3-1,2,3.. The beat of our footsteps doesn't really change much -- sometimes they are faster or slower , but the general pattern remains. It is ESSENTIAL to breathe rhythmically in time to the beat of our feet -- otherwise stitches and "out of breath " awaits !!!!


I can't mouth breathe when running, not many folks can. I count to keep me running rhytmically and find my breathing follows suit - breathe, two, three, four, breathe, two three, four breathe, two, three, four.

You get my drift

I do consciously try to breathe through my nose when running every now and then, but it's hard and I normally revert to breathing through my mouth (although I think I usually do breathe through my nose).

Do try to control how you breathe by counting (see above comments), but I've read that it's best to alternate which foot is landing when you breathe in. That sounds more complicated than it needs to - just count "in, 2, 3, 4" then "out, 2, 3, 4, 5". You will probably find you can take longer over your breathing out than in. Try tp practice that on your warm up walk. When you start running, you might find you need to switch to something like 3 beats in and 4 out or even 2 in, 3 out.

Also, try to use your diaphragm when you breathe - chest and shoulders shouldn't really move, your stomach should. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach and you should be able to feel this. (Alternatively, practice what my flute teacher told me when I was about 9 ... lie on the floor on your back and put a glass of water on your chest. If you're using your diaphragm, you won't get wet!!!)


I reckon just do what comes naturally. I've never been able to do the nose in thing, I'd rather eat flies!

Your body knows how to run after all :-)


I agree with the posts above about just breath naturally. I can't breath through my nose as Laura suggests. Breath the way that suits you best and comes naturally.


I am a dedicated mouth breather. Always have been. Laura didnt change me so I guess always will be. I get far more air breathing through my mouth than I will ever get breathing through my nose.

And I like flies :D

Just do what come naturally and what is comfortable to you


I'm a mouth breather as well. Let me just state for the record, I DON'T like the flies! Yuk, yuk, YUK!!! Wish I could suck in sufficient air through my nose but I can't. Maybe us mouth breathers have smaller hooters?

You can also try practicing the circular breathing (in the nose and out the mouth) when you AREN'T running so you arent also trying to coordinate all the rest of your body and all the rest of the new movements too. A few rounds while lying in bed after the alarm has gone off each morning might help you not have to think so hard about it when running.

Google 'breathing exercises for singers', as well as 'breathing exercises for runners' to get more ideas on ways to retrain your breathing habits.


I am definitely a waltzer who needs to breathe in for 3 and out for 3 - really struggling with the 1234 - horn pipe! - and the breathing. My feet work steadily at the 1234, stay in time and adjust to the greater numbers of the beats per minute. But the breathing remains in for 3 and out for 3! Would love to synchronise the two!! Get in a right old counting muddle some days!! Maybe one day!

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