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Couch to 5K
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W2 Hyperventilation/Breathing Issues


I liked running a lot as a young teenager and was pretty good at it, but I had to stop at age 14 due to hyperventilation. I tend to hyperventilate as soon as I start to exercise a bit more intensely.

I got some appropriate therapy and have been able to engage in activities with a lower intensity level like yoga, pilates but also swimming.

However, since I'm quite broke lately (happens!), I decided to avoid expensive gym subscriptions and go back to running, I figured if I could run after a bus I could start and try to complete C25K. I am 26, just very slightly overweight and in good general physical shape.

Week 1 even felt easy, but now in week 2, I'm struggling to find a breathing rhythm that suits me. I run at 165 bpm on average and I've tried slowing down to 150 first and then only jogging very lightly (140). I do not feel tired after the 90 sec run, but I am out of breath and it takes me the full two minutes of walking to recuperate, if not more.

I managed to pull through this second week but I am afraid that hyperventilation will beat me and/or force me to quit. I tend to end up breathing in and out through my mouth, which hurts my throat and I know this will get worse as the weather gets colder.

Are there any hyperventilating runners in this group? Did any of you have any similar issues and how did you solve it?

I can't wait to be rich and able to afford a personal trainer to run again, I feel like I've waited too long already.

4 Replies

Slow down. Slow right down.

1 like

Slow down. slow down more and then go slower...:)

You do not need to be rich or get a trainer.. you just need to put your running shoes on..relax.. head out and do not over-think the breathing... just do what you do every second of your life... breathe...:)

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Yu say you got "appropriate therapy" - did a doctor identify a specific problem? If so, you should maybe see your GP before starting running. If not, I find that 165 ppm is rather fast, and I'd definitely have been hyperventilating running that fast at the beginning of the programme. Slow down, and stop thinking about hyperventilation when you run, because worrying about it may just bring it on :)

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Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply. The identified problem is hyperventilation due to effort. It is rather common but the cause is unknown. It was observed both by my doctors and my sports teachers.

I got therapy which consisted in learning how to control my breath during exercise. I went up and down the stairs with a physiotherapists and I learned to manage (took me a few months). I was cleared for exercise afterwards.

I seem to have a harder time controlling my breathing while running. I'll try slowing down as suggested, it didn't feel like I was running too fast but since it'sbeen a long time that could very well be the case.

Thanks everyone for the support!


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