Breathing yips (advice needed, please)

Got through R1W6 OK (just about), but am struggling to finish R2W6, having given it a couple of goes. I can't seem to catch my breath, and have started worrying about it and can't stop myself from thinking I can't manage this running thing. I've tried linking breaths to steps, but find that doing this makes me want to give up after a minute rather than the 10 R2W6 calls for. I think it is a psychological problem, and the more I worry, the worse it will get. Has anyone managed to stop thinking about breathing? It is a bit like someone telling you not to think about an elephant, can't get the pesky grey beast out of your head! Thanks for any advice.


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19 Replies

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  • If the breathing is very hard, try slowing down. A gentle jog is good enough, what matters at this stage of the game is getting used to running (however slowly) for up to 30 minutes non stop.

  • Hi, well done for getting to week 6. I found I was getting hung up on my breathing like you. I would stop running because I thought I couldn't run any further as I couldn't get my breath. I use my MP3 player to listen to music which drowns out the noise of my breathing- might be worth a try. Good luck x

  • Slow down. Right down. I had exactly the same problem as you and the more I worried about it the worse it got. I really struggled right up to W8 and then one day I slowed down massively. And BAM! breathing problem gone instantly. I have never looked back since. With time and miles my speed crept back up again, and my distances crpet out further, but my breathing has never been a problem again - I breathe hard on hills, obviously, but then it eases off afterwards.

    Slow down Slow down and then slow down some more for luck.

  • Just a beginner so what do I know? I had the same issues with breathing. I did the breathing/steps thing, in 1-2-3, out 1-2-3, but I practice all the time. from walking into work to walking round Tesco to running. I also slowed down. Both advice I'd been given on here. and relax - tensing your body uses energy you need to run. good luck with w6. I'm facing w6r3 tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to it.

  • Linking breath to steps doesn't work for me either. Slow right down and try and think of something else if you can. Maybe try a new route to keep your brain occupied with new sights? The less I think of breathing the better

  • I agree that you probably need to slow down. But also another suggestion - double check that you are breathing properly - deeply enough and using your full lung capacity. I know it sounds silly - surely breathing is a natural instinct and we do it correctly just by existing? Not always - many of us breathe far too shallow and tend to associate breathing in with sucking our stomach in as well, actually restricting how much air we can take in. Lie on the floor, place your palms on your belly and breathe in to the count of four. Your belly (not just your chest) should expand/rise as you breathe in and relax down as you breathe out. Try searching for internet links on belly breathing (there are some on running websites) or try some yoga breathing exercises.

  • I used to have trouble with my breathing and could never manage timing it with my steps. Eventually I gave up trying and to take my mind off it I used to do stupid things like trying to recall all the names of everyone on the forum or reciting the phonetic alphabet (silently!) and then spelling things out phonetically. Hahaha it worked for me for a while! Now I just breath as best as I can. It will get better and I agree with the above re slowing down x :-)

  • Thank you all so much for your help with this - I can particularly relate to the Tesco tip: plenty of time spent in there, so much opportunity for practice! It is so frustrating to get past the 20 minutes of W5R3 only to fail to manage 10 minutes twice running; just have to learn to let it go and not worry.

  • Whenever I try to think about my breathing I feel short of breath. So I just think about something else. Usually my audiobook!

  • As other, wiser peeps have said: S-L-O-W right down. If you are having trouble catching your breath the chances are you are going too fast for your level of fitness. Simples. Really it is ok to run at walking speed if that's what it takes, or slower. Little steps in a running action. Set yourself a competition to run as slowly as you can and see if it makes a difference.

    When the going gets tough I think about the first 5 things I will do when I win the quadruple roll-over (must buy a ticket). No 1: ask the newly employed Jeeves to trot along beside me with an oxygen mask :D

  • I tried a few times to do what laura said about breathing then gave up and just went with what came naturally :) as others have said the trick is to run slowly and complete the timed runs :)

  • Are you trying to breath through your nose like Laura says? Lots and lots of us here can't do that. I breath with my mouth wide open, linking it to steps doesn't help me either. Mouth breathing seems to make your nose run though, so take a wodge of tissues!

  • I used to put my fag out before starting the run.

  • :D

  • I try to get the deep breathing going from the very start of my run even though I may not need those deeper breaths at the start. I think I'm trying to get oxygen in my system before I actually need it. Probably no science behind this, but it does get my breathing into a rhythm. Must admit that as my run continues I then tend to breath/gasp as required :-)

  • I cant breath through my nose, I feel like Im suffocating !

    I always run with music, so I tend to sing/hum/la la along , and if I find I cant do that comfortably , I know Im going too fast so I slow down .

    I know its easier said than done. but please dont worry about it too much, you will find a way that is comfortable for you.

    Keep going , you CAN do this :-) xxx

  • Thanks again to everyone for the replies. Tried again today: extinguished cigarettes and took it very, very slowly, listening to favourite audiobook on the way (Elvenquest). Got through the first 10 minute "run", but somehow my brain tricked me into stopping 8 minutes into the second set of 10. Stupid brain thought I was too hot this time; it is a deceitful brain. Never mind, it is 18 minutes more than I could have dreamed of running a very short time ago and I am DETERMINED to crack it. You are all stars for your help.

  • In through the nose and out through the mouth. That's the mantra.

  • How do you breathe? I tend to relax my jaw so my mouth opens slightly and I take in air from both my mouth and nose; I don't spend too long concentrating on my breathing though. I tend to think about breathe or steps, not both together. Try and concentrate on your steps and you may find that you breathe naturally

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