Breathing difficulties

I managed to complete W2R1 this week and I was absolutely elated. But when I tried W2R2 yesterday I failed miserably because of my breathing. I have very mild asthma and it seemed that I just couldn't control my breathing well enough to run for 90 seconds. Does anyone have any advice on how to control breathing because I can't seem to do Laura's 4 steps per breath that she advises in the podcast.


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11 Replies

  • Slow down. If you do 2 steps per breath that's fine too, or even one step per breath. Just go as slow as you can comfortably breathe. As you get fitter and can run longer you can take the pace up again

  • tricky...I have asthma too and I ALWAYS take my inhaler. I agree that the best is to slow down and also get some deep breathing exercises. Have your asthma check up and discuss your running as it may be that you need some tweaks in medication etc. If your asthma is triggerred by hayfever ( like me) then I find wearing sunglasses helps. Please keep going it does get better :)

  • How about monitoring how you breathe on the walks and continuing with that on the runs? There's nothing that says you have to be moving forward any faster, simply using a different movement.

  • I found that practicing while walking (to work and during warm up) helped. Also actively BLOW out (to get as much CO2 out as possible) the inhale phase is then pretty much automatic. I know you sound like a train, but better that than having to give up.

    But the advice on slowing down is key.

  • Well done for getting through the first week! I was really apprehensive starting this programme, as a lifelong asthmatic. I always take a couple of puffs of my inhaler before I go out for a run. And yes, I tend to do 2-3 steps with each breath, not 4 like Laura says.

    Be careful - only you know when it's time to stop. But do keep going if you can. I've found I'm much better now at feeling the difference between "breathing hard" and "hard to breathe." And I've just finished Week 5 Run 1. :)

    Good luck to you!

  • I too suffer from Asthma, and a mild version of it, and over the past few weeks its gotten worse (since a week in the sun at the start of may I am taking it more and more). Before I run I take my inhaler as per doctors recommendation (2 puffs), but also take it on the run with me just in case. I also make sure that I drink at least 1/2 a pint of water before I head out on my run (I run before breakfast) so that I have some liquids on board. I have managed to get the 4 step breathing to work for me but as we are all different what works for me might not work for you. You will eventually figure out what does work, but if a few more weeks pass and you are still struggling reach out to your GP for advice.

  • Hello Gerry! Oh ... A year on I still can't do Laura's 4 step breathing thing, no matter how tiny and rapid my stride! It really doesn't matter I don't think, so long as you're breathing! Better luck next time you head out and try not to overthink it, just get through it! I can now organize 3s and 2s when the going gets steep ... I think making sure you get your breath OUT is a simpler focus ... The IN seems pretty instinctive!

  • Hi Gerry, I have to confess that I tried Laura's breathing strategy (counting 1-2-3-4) and it nearly killed me. I couldn't get on with it, and just allowed my body to do its own thing.

  • I just remember that the point is to get as much oxygen into my bloodstream as possible - that means big, slow, deep breaths.

    I can't count while I'm breathing because it takes all my attention to control my breathing while running. I had a run last week where i thought I may have asthma again but the next run was much better. I just take as much air in as I can and let it out as slowly as i can. Sometimes I am struggling - my cardiovascular fitness is atrocious.

    As others have said, look into relaxation or meditation resources - they'll teach you how to breath in deeply using your diaphragm (when you breathe out, your tummy should move out, not your upper chest).

    I would forget the counting. It will get better. Probably it can only get better, if you're anything like me...My last run W1R3 attempt deux was much better in that sense.

  • I ignored Laura completely and was just content to suck oxygen into my lungs. Breathing tempo is an elusive ragbag - I found that the more I concentrated on my breathing, the less I managed to do it properly. So look at the scenery or think about what you're going to have for dinner and it'll sort itself out whilst you're looking the other way.

  • Thanks for all the advice, I'm going to try again this morning!

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