Breathing techniques: Just finished week 3 and I... - Couch to 5K

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Breathing techniques


Just finished week 3 and I still can't get the hang of breathing properly when running! The app tried to give me some advice a while back, but I got out of breath really quickly. Anyone got any tips? I feel like I'm going to keel over at the end of the run at the moment!

12 Replies

The advice in the app didn’t work for me - it was in through the nose and out through the mouth, some number of steps.

When I’m running, especially through the toxic 10, I am gulping in vast quantities of air and only my big mouth can shift the volume required.

Later in the run, my breath sometimes settles so much that I can breath in through the nose.

Your body knows how to breathe - let it do what feels right.

(If you start getting stitches, you may need to do something different. But not otherwise.)


Slow down and read the guide to the plan

If you cannot breathe, you are simply running too fast and you will not be able to sustain that pace and you will tire through lack of oxygen. It is covered in the guide. Run at a pace at which you can hold a clear ungasping conversation.

I was the same. My biggest issue was breathing. All I can say is that I found that I needed ( need) to gulp air through my mouth. I became so fixated about breathing that I couldn’t run. In the end I now concentrate on the road ahead and listening to a podcast and let the breathing take care of otself...nose, mouth. Who cares? Keep going!


I have the same problem. The guide says you should be able to hold a conversation whilst running, and whilst I can complete the 'challenges' there's no way I could have a chat whilst I'm running. Legs are fine, it's the lungs that are struggling! Week 4 starts tomorrow morning...


I agree with the other advice you’ve had here. Don’t worry about the breathing. Breathe however is comfortable for now. If I’m still breathing at the end of a run, all is well. Good luck with the rest of the plan!

I couldn’t do the breathing the way Laura on the podcast told me too. In fact nearly 2 years on I still can’t but I can run 16km without expiring. I’m a mouth breather too.

Just slow your running down a bit and don’t overthink the breathing.

Happy running 🏃🏽‍♀️😀


I usually get a breathing rhythm going during my warm up walk (FYI for me it's in for 3 steps, out for 2, in for 3, out for 2). When I start to run I don't change my breathing patterns and it seems to work for me.


I really struggled with getting my breathing sorted, it took a lot of practice but l now have it sorted. I can't breath through my nose, but l practised whilst walking taking the deep breathes and then tried whilst running. It took me weeks to get it sorted but it is worth working on. I did find that l initially l could only take deep breathes for a short while and then need to gasp for more air, but gradually it improved. Trust the programme and keep practising, you'll get there.☺

I practice my breathing whilst out walking the dogs, three in and two out, now it is becoming automatic when I run really really slowly, getting there.

I can’t breath through my nose without feeling like im suffocating! I do my own thing and rely on my conversational pace to keep my breathing in check.

I do try and breathe through my nose when doing the warm up but I quickly give up on that when I start running. Do what feels best for you and as IannodaTruffe says as long as you’re at conversational pace you’re doing fine.

Happy running! 🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️😊

Run slower! I found the app advice made the breathing worse. If you start to find breathing difficult it means you’re going too fast. Slow down, take a deep breath (to your diphragm, not just the top of your chest) and exhale slowly, repeat a few times and then try not to concentrate on it. Good luck!


Thanks guys. Start week 4 tomorrow so will be taking the advice onboard!

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