Breathing: Hi, I have just completed W6R2 and I... - Couch to 5K

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Hi, I have just completed W6R2 and I still struggle to breathe correctly - in through the nose and out of my mouth. I think I over think it and start to almost hyperventilate whilst running, gasping for breathe through my mouth. I am not really out of breathe, but just concentrating on breathing makes me gasp for air. If I just stick to breathing both in and out though my mouth, I am fine. So my question is, how important is it to breathe in through my nose? Surely as long as the air is getting to my lungs it doesn't matter?


22 Replies

I've never mastered the breathing either ! If you don't you do have to cope with swallowing the odd fly :-)

BluerockdragonGraduate in reply to OldPossum

I had added fly protein on my run today, not pleasant!

Wheres the shuddering emoticon :-)

I really wish I knew and this is a good question... I have been breathing in through nose for 1, 2, 3 steps then out through mouth and this has definitely helped when I get chronic stitch. Exhaling when foot hits floor opposite to the stitch. However, most of the time I am just panting and breathing in and out through my mouth. I find concentrating on my breathing really difficult :-(


I breathe in and out through my mouth - I tried in through my nose but it just wasn't 'me' and I would be gasping after about a minute. We're all different and as long as you're getting the oxygen it really doesn't matter how. I think this 'proper' way to breathe malarkey is nonsense. What helped me to get past over- thinking about breathing (which is how it all goes to pot) is counting 2 breaths in and out in time with my footfalls and now i just do it automatically.

Also what has helped when I'm feeling really puffed is remembering to use my diaphragm, ie expand the tummy rather than the chest on the in-breath.

MichmochGraduate in reply to Jonesycat

Thanks for the replies - I have also now seen that there are other 'breathing' threads from previously.

Yep, I've been trying to breath 'into' my abdomen...only started that this week so its still work in progress.

Breathing is definitely a mind game for me, if I don't think about it, I am fine (but I am breathing in and out through my mouth). I just wondered if there was a reason why they recommend breathing in through your nose. Plenty of people seem to be doing the same as me, so I'm in good company :-)

runswithdogsGraduate in reply to Michmoch

You're exactly right. If I think about it, my breathing is off. But when I'm in the 'zone' I don't even think about it.


I used to have my Dad's old bike. A real relic of a thing. Steel rods connecting the brakes, big tin fully-enclosing chain guard, full length mudguards, springs holding the saddle up, a metal tab to slot a bike light on, a carrier you could strap a mini cooper to, weighed probably fifty pounds.

Then someone talked me into getting a "real" bike. Basically it had two wheels, a razor-like saddle, handlebars that meant my bum was higher than my head on it, a gazillion gears and weighed maybe twelve pounds.

Hated it. Always felt like I was trying to walk a racing greyhound rather than the happy stroll with a daft but totally loyal old mongrel that my old bike was like.

I cannot breathe through my nose running and am not bothered about "properly" (except to avoid injuries of course) because as soon as I start thinking I might win the Boston Marathon if I only learn to "master" this running lark I change from happy beat-up and battered John running for the sheer enjoyment of it into tensed up self-disliking I run too slow I am a failure Johnny Hyde Esq. 🙂

Keep it real, keep it fun to do and if you were like me on W1D1 laugh at the memory and marvel at how far you've come from feeling like you would NEVER be able to stop those huge desperate for air inhales after that one minute run 😂

OldPossum in reply to Irish-John

I like the old bikes too :-)

MichmochGraduate in reply to Irish-John

Well said

Vanessa291Graduate in reply to Irish-John

I love your posts IrishJohn. 😀

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Vanessa291

Thank you :) BTW - you would not be the Vanessa W. I used to know in a certain Irish seaside village back in the '80's who, last I heard, married a genuine Scottish Laird and lives in a castle with its own Helicopter landing pad? :) Stranger things have happened if you do happen to be her! :)

Vanessa291Graduate in reply to Irish-John

Error no helicopter landing pad here. Lol

Irish-JohnGraduate in reply to Vanessa291

Ah well, it was a long shot wasn't it :) She did not run so no loss LOL :)

Apparently you get more air into your lungs quicker when you breathe in through your mouth and nose. And using your diaphragm (so that your tummy moves outwards slightly) is supposed to give you more of your lung capacity. It takes a while to get used to but in my experience, it seems to help.

I've been breathing for about 54 and a quarter years now but only took up running in the last year and apparently I've been breathing the wrong way for all 54 and a quarter years. Like Jonesycat says I think it's a lot of nonsense. As of today nothing serious has happene


The quick answer is - do what ever feels comfortable! This gets discussed on here from time to time and that is always the general consensus. Having spoken to others I think many people are mouth breathers - I certainly am (couldn't get enough oxygen through my nose alone!!) . What I do reccomend (when you are ready to get a bit technical🙂) is deep breathing (Google 'diaphragmatic breathing'!). Really great for running and something I learned years ago doing Yoga. In the meantime, just do what feels comfortable for you! Good luck🙂


I could seldom cope with breathing in through the nose when working through the programme but have mastered it since if I am keeping things very slow. Don't generally bother though, and I don't think it matters. Most important thing is to breathe!

If you are feeling puffed, sometimes counting the breaths in and out can settle things down. The main advantage to breathing through the nose is to stop you from swallowing flies!


If I try breathing through my nose I end up a gasping mess so, despite the worry of added, unwanted protein, I will get sufficient oxygen by breathing through my mouth :-)


Breathing through your mouth is not the end of the world; after all, the main point is to get as much oxygen as needed.

Having said that, when you inhale through your nose, the air is warmed up (during winter), moisturised and filtered. In other words, your inhale better (optimal temperature and humidity) and cleaner air, reducing the risk of problems for your breathing system (e.g. cold, bronchitis, etc.)


I'm a mouth breather too , I cant seem to get enough puff in through my nose .

When I first started on the programme I had short periods of time where I forgot to breathe at all ! It was like I had too much going on, listening to Laura, watching where I was going so I didn't fall over, watching to see if I knew anyone, it all got too much and I think my mind went into overload !

I would do just what comes naturally to you , it will be fine xxx

Another point to bear in mind, however you breathe, is to try and keep your face relaxed. If you tense up you're likely to affect your breathing and use up unnecessary energy.

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