Breathing through the nose

Most articles I have read indicate that when running you should breath through your nose but I just can't!

I don't feel I can breath in enough oxygen through my nose then I panic about it and start breathing through my mouth. I am an ex smoker and before I gave up (almost 2 1/2 years ago) I was diagnose with moderate COPD so ever since I started running a year ago (my GP has OK'd me to run), breathing has always let me down and slows me down. I find it particularly hard to breath in the icy weather as the intake of cold air through my mouth into my lungs really hurts my chest and these last two weeks I have been running really slow. In addition, breathing through the mouth has started to affect my throat and I have been losing my voice.

Any advice please?



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17 Replies

  • I have tried the belly breathing method which I find difficult and the more I think about it the more I panic.

  • Hi Trish. I can't suck in enough air through my nose either! You could try using a lightweight buff pulled up over your lower face - it might warm the air a little and make it more comfortable to breathe on cold mornings. Good luck with the running!

  • Hi the important thing is just to breathe at this stage! As you build fitness you can try to work on your breathing technique, but no point getting hung up on it.

    I couldn't get the hang of breathing through the nose until I learned to run really slowly, and even now I hear myself panting like a steam train sometimes!

    A thin buff across the mouth works great on a frostry morning for protecting your throat.

  • I'd say not to get too hung up on breathing technique really. I occasionally try breathing in through the nose and out through my mouth if it's cold but that can give that stinging sensation in the top of your nose that makes your eyes water so it's generally back to mouth breathing again for me. Sometimes I'll stick a Ricola herbal sweet in my cheek and I find that keeps my throat from drying out and one will generally last for 5K or so. I've never used a buff but I would imagine that would help to protect your throat in cold weather. I hope you find something that works for you

  • Read your posts with interest as I struggled earlier in the week and thought it was my breathing but had a strange ache at the base of my throat ( it was really cold when I went for my run).

    On week 7 now and haven't really given breathing much thought up to now it has just taken care of itself. Might have to try the sweetie or buff approach.......roll on warmer weather!

  • Main thing is, keep breathing, however you do it :)

    Like a lot of us. I found breathing, in through nose, out through mouth, a tricky one to get right, still do really! Have to concentrate! I also suffer with sinus problems if my face gets really cold.

    I would say...Go with the Buff...or similar..Ullyrunner recommended them to me... I ran all through the winter, in cold weather, up to Christmas graduation; they are light enough, not to constrict, but act as a great blocker against the cold. I wear mine in cold weather, all the time.

    I pull mine up right over my nose.. and my hat down!

    I look like a bank robber, but hey, it works! :)

  • I have trouble breathing through my nose as well but mine is due to damage caused by a car accident. I find using Nasal strips, the ones which are supposed to cure snoring, helps. Good luck

  • I could never master breathing through the nose either as there isn't enough oxygen and I'm always happy that I'm still breathing at all at the end of a run! Don't fret about this at this stage. As others have suggested, a buff or scarf over your mouth in cold weather is the way to go.

  • Don't worry about how you breathe at the moment, but you need to stop really cold air going down into throat & lungs by warming it slightly by using a necktube or buff over the mouth, as the cold air can make you cough & lead to chest infection..

  • Mouth! Always mouth :-)

  • I have so many other things to worry about. I reckon my body knows how to breathe and can keep doing that on its own quite happily without any interference from me :)

    Don't fret about it - keep running :)

  • Yeah that's me anorl. Just do what comes natural

  • I'm on week 8 and do through the mouth, I feel as though I don't get in enough air unless I do so! I think do what works best for you now and worry about refining your technique later? =]

  • I am struggling with breathing too and today my physio who is a long distance runner told me that her coach told her to sing a song as you are running as it apparently regulates your breathing. I haven't tried it myself yet

  • I do this ha ha ! I just cant help myself, thought it was just me ha ha :-) xxx

  • OMG! Do I HAVE to sing out loud? That will clear people from the streets in a 10 mile radius!!

    Thanks as always for all your thoughts and ideas. It's comforting to know that I am not alone with this problem. And that was a great article IannodaTruffe

    Thanks everyone xx

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