Breathing: Even though I am running for longer... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
108,044 members139,142 posts



Even though I am running for longer now (have done a couple of 5K runs) and the legs feel fine, the breathing doesn't seem to be getting any easier, worse if anything!  Is it just a matter of keeping going and it will sort itself out as I get fitter or is there anything I can be doing to improve it. The probem is that as soon as I start to think about it and focus on it I start feeling a bit panicky and it seems to make the breathing worse!  

10 Replies

Try slowing down just a little, this will probably help. Once you get into a good comfortable rhythm you won't need to focus on your breathing as it will be happening naturally.


I agree with you about how concentrating on any one aspect of the running equation makes it worse - I started trying to work out how my arm and leg movements worked whilst running once, and almost tripped myself up. Likewise, concentrating on your breathing generally turns it into the be-all and end-all of the run, and it gets stage fright. Slow down, as Slowstart rightly says, and STOP thinking about your breathing - think about anything else BUT that, and let it sort itself out. Then sneak up on it and have a peek when it's looking the other way at the end of your run. The first ten minutes are always difficult for pretty much everything from lungs to muscles, so chill out and enjoy the view instead. 

builtforcomfortGraduate in reply to mfamilias

That is great advice, especially the part about sneaking up on it and having a peek :)

mfamiliasGraduate in reply to builtforcomfort

Just treat it like the average misbehaving four-year-old, and you'll be fine :)

Yup.  The minute I start to think about when I'm breathing, I immediately feel out of breath.  I have to force myself to think about something else or I'd turn purple and expire.


The secret is really not to try and think about it, not as easy as it sounds I know, slowing down, relaxing and opening your chest out all will help 

It does get better but there will always be odd days when nothing feels right, stick with it 😊


Just to throw a spanner in the works :-), I found it really helpful to concentrate on my breathing in the early days and find it a good way of 'bringing things together' when I run now.

For example, I regularly feel like I am running with legs and arms all akimbo, stomping worse than a herd of elephants in a three legged race. Concentrating on my breathing (3 steps in, 4 steps out for example) helps me get into the zone. Almost meditation.

However, I am graduate of a grand total of 3 days(!) and I think all of the others have been doing this for far far longer :-).

SlowstartGraduate in reply to yatesco

It's always good to have alternate opinions and advice. What works for one person......


I think consciously trying to slow down might help if you feel you are gasping. Sometimes I try to count to steady my breathing but mostly I let it do its own thing. I can only breathe in through my nose if I am going at a really measured pace. Like all your other muscles, you are having to train your lungs so it will improve. Just remember, exercise that makes you somewhat out of breath is really good for you!

Thanks everyone, some really helpful comments there.  I think I will just try to ignore it and see how that goes, after all I manage to keep breathing all day without thinking about it! 

You may also like...