Breathing!: Just completed 1st of week 2. I... - Couch to 5K

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Just completed 1st of week 2. I found the breathing difficult on this one. I suppose it's trial and error and perseverance!

10 Replies

Have you read the guide to the plan ? which explains about your easy conversational pace, at which you can both talk and run. Anything much faster is unsustainable.

Like you, I had breathing concerns at the outset. I have allergy and exercise induced asthma, which paired with lack of fitness means my lungs are always behind my limbs! My advice to you is give it time and slow down. I've noted a massive improvement as my training has increased. The structure of this programme allows a steady increase in fitness which has allowed my lungs to improve very naturally. Completed W5R3 today and there was no wheezing or struggling for breath, in fact I'm astonished at the health benefits of the C25K. I suffer whenever I start any new exercise and this is perhaps the quickest improvement I've made. Not getting ahead of myself though, slow and steady really does win the race. All the best going forward, I hope you find the same benefits as I have. X


Hi! If it’s the suggested rhythm of the breathing you’re struggling with (4 steps in 4 steps out) rather than just running too fast, don’t worry. Just breath normally at a rate which feels comfortable. You can work on your breathing later once you’ve got a nice easy pace. I’m in w6 and still can’t breathe ‘properly’! Do what feels right for you bearing in mind the other advice here about possibly slowing down a bit. Good luck!

Sutsha in reply to wyersmith

Completely forgot about that wyersmith. I also had one dodgy run trying to breathe "properly" and promptly ignored any suggestions re breath-cycle or nose/mouth breathing. Just didn't work for me. One thing I did take from it was to try not to let my breathing become rapid and out of control. As wyersmith says, do what's right for you and you can always re- visit in future.


The best advice I was given about breathing was to not think about it. 😄

Go slower and just breathe as you always do, it will sort itself out. 😄

I’ve struggled with breathing on earlier runs (still do but I was told by other runners that our bodies are getting used to us doing more in the first 10 minutes then it levels out!) at first I panicked as I couldn’t breathe and this makes it worse! Just trying to relax (if possible during a run!) and realise it will pass really helps me! I’ve joined a beginners running group and the leaders encourage “Belly breathing” - don’t breathe shallow as we usually do for normal breathing but take deeper breaths of good air right into the stomach (I usually raise my shoulders and push out my stomach to help with this!) and then blow out as much “dirty air” as possible right down to the bottom of our lungs (till we can’t blow out any more!) I usually try this a bit on my running bit to keep my breathing steady but focus on it more on the walking recovery bits so I’m “energised” with oxygen for the next run! I struggled at first but found that this works better for me! Hope it helps xx


I have a suspicion that the "breathing tips" come onto the app radar a bit too soon. We've all struggled with the "counting four steps" thing (or I did).It's like asking a centipede how it walks. When it thinks it falls over.

Try to take deeper breaths if you can. Don't try to do anything too fancy though. A bit of panting is perfectly acceptable.

But someone wise told me that if you're focused on breathing at this stage (i.e getting out of breath or feeling a bit laboured) then you're just pushing too hard. So slow down. (You'll hear "slow down" a lot on here btw!) Getting breathing under control will start to come naturally once you've got a better base fitness. So slow down. And then slow down a bit more. And then slow down. :-)


Well done for doing it, when I progressed to week two I also found it difficult as struggled to do the last run as I couldn't recover from the previous one.

It does get better as you continue the jogs as you seem to build more stamina which helps the breathing. Just do the run again till you are comfortable and lots of good luck 😃


I am about to start week 7 and found breathing in the first 3 weeks hard. After that I ignored advice and just breathed naturally through my nose and have stopped gasping. I also find sucking a throat sweet really helps me. Keeps my throat from getting dry. Hope this helps.

I finished week 3 yesterday and breathing has always been my problem. I hate the feeling of breathlessness and it's made me quit couch to 5k before. However last week when I had to do 3 mins for the first time I found I could only manage it by counting my breaths with 4 steps per breath. That stopped me gasping. My last 3 min run last night I actually felt OK so I carried on and did another 3, so 6 in total, which I've never managed. So counting breaths does work for me. Good luck.

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