Really struggling with breathing

I may be cheating the plan slightly because I've been a runner for a little while now, so I'm more so listening to my body and am so far up to 1.5km per run. However I really really cannot breathe when I run, I start out okay and then at about the 0.8km mark I just can't catch a breath. I focus on my breathing almost all the way round my little route and I've tried nose breathing to warm the air on the way in, I've tried mouth breathing deeply so it pushes my tummy out as opposed to chest breathing. I've also been trying to breathe in a pattern such as 2:2 or 4:4.

Do you think this is my actual lungs or poor breathing techniques? If anyone has overcome it I'd love to hear how!

13 Replies

  • It could mean you're going too fast? If you start out ok but get out of breath after a while it could be that you need to slow down. Although it's called Couch to 5k the programme isn't really about distance or speed but just time running which increases in just the right increments to be challenging but able to be completed. The aim is just to run for the amount of time rather than to reach a particular distance (all that can be done once you've completed the programme).

    Have you tried following the plan at all? You could always give it a try as it quite often will give you the walking breaks just as you're getting out of breath during the first five weeks of the programme. This gives you a chance to catch your breath before running again which allows you to go further for longer. The NHS podcast with Laura is really helpful too as she keeps you focused and gives you encouragement throughout, telling you how long is left, etc. I would suggest giving it a go, even if you start from a few weeks in as if you are deciding when to start and when to stop yourself you may be pushing yourself too much or perhaps not challenging yourself enough.

  • I do take walking breaks still, I tend to say 'at this next lamppost walk til the next one' type thing, I think I'm just overthinking everything. I'll listen to the podcasts I think though, they sound really helpful

  • I take it your not asthmatic? Maybe slow down? From what you say seems like your breathing technique is ok..

  • Not asthmatic, relatively healthy and a healthy weight/walk a lot etc. I'm probably massively overthinking my breathing and not concentrating on pacing because I'm too busy counting steps and breaths etc

  • I find the more you worry about breathing the worse it gets. I know Laura says to breath in through the nose, but very few people here actually do that, most do whatever comes naturally. Try listening the the podcast, slow down, enjoy the scenery, sing if you can, ......just don't think about breathing. And whilst doing all this, slow down a bit more. If you can get your speed under control (slower is better), you shouldn't have any issues with breathing.

    (I've sent this link to Shivani05 as she may have further advise on this matter).

  • I think it doesnt help that every article I've come across tends to contradict (nose breathing is best! no in through the mouth! Nose AND mouth at the same time! like what?)

    I think I do tend to zone out a little and probably am just speeding up, I've always preferred to run on the faster side but I'm probably just out of condition after a break

  • Just breathe, any way that works.. as long as you don't stop.. you will be fine :)

  • Yes, it doe's help if you don't stop!😁

  • Too right... I remember before graduating, gasping after holding my breath... and thinking, in, out, just keep breathing! :)

  • Hi Pand0rical, I thought you might be a fellow panda when I saw your name... perhaps not.

    Melly and Dave have it right. Slow down!

    Actually, do please try out the C25K podcasts. For the first 6 weeks these get you running and walking with a mixture of intervals. This is going to build you up slowly, and give you a chance to sort out your breathing. Looks like you're young, fit and active, and so maybe its just your breathing that needs attention. TBH, I reckon with intervals, running slower and trying to avoid 'over-thinking' your breathing, you'll get along just nicely.

    One simple test... walk for 5 minutes and don't think about your breathing. After 5 minutes, stop and think.. Was your breathing OK?? Assuming that it was, your problem is not breathing technique, but breathing enough. Running more slowly, with intervals is going to help you.

  • I do follow the plan as in I go on certain days, I do the walking breaks it's just that if I get to the end and still feel ok I will keep going. I walk a minimum of an hour a day to and from work & I'm on the low end of a healthy weight so I think everyone is right in that I'm over thinking breathing and probably going too fast.

    I'll try tonight to force myself a little slower and see if it helps :) Thank you

  • Slow down and try to relax.. once we focus on breathing, like anything, it can become quite an issue... :)

    I used to hold my breath for the runs, when I started the programme.. tricky as the runs got longer..( I think I remember our lovely poppypug , saying she did similar?? ) then I paced my breaths with my pace.. that wasn't to bad, because I was slow.. then suddenly..just breathing!

    Just slow and steady and think about anything except breathing.. :)

  • Before I started this programme I tried running on my own, big mistake as I was going to fast and struggling with my breathing until I felt faint and nauseous. Since doing the 1st couple of weeks with Laura my breathing has improved hugely and feeling much better I am only on week 3 but seeing a massive improvement already.

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