BREATHING WHEN RUNNING: Hi All Just started the... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K
105,749 members136,574 posts



Hi All

Just started the couch to 5K. Just completed the 2nd run of week 2. Doing OK but the tip on breathing is so difficult for me. It instructs you to breathe in for the count of 4 and out to the count of 4 in rhythm to your left foot hitting the ground. I can only count to 2 before I need to breathe, is this something that will come in time or am I doing it wrong?

9 Replies

I also struggled with breathing. I thought it was child hood asthma kicking in. But somewhere around week three or four it suddenly improved. I had been trying the breathing for four footsteps technique and could also only manage two for ages. Keep at it. I’ve found the runs much easier once breathing settles down.

in reply to Jsr456

Thanks for the advice I will keep at it.


Don't worry about counting/timing breathing.

Take the run nice and slow, and breathe when your body prompts you to. Through the mouth gets more oxygen in. 🤗


I asked the exact same question a few weeks ago - everyone said to ignore the breathing advice and just do my own thing.

I can confirm it does get easier - i’m nearing the end of Week 4, and my breathing is much less laboured now.

At the start your body isn’t used to you running, so your lungs struggle to cope with the increased demand for oxygen; they get stronger over time, just as the rest of you does.

Just breathe however you need to in order to complete the session - it will get better!

Good luck x

in reply to KayBee1000

Thanks for the advice. I will keep at it.


I couldn’t do the breathing thing either! So much to concentrate on - running, avoiding cyclists on the tow path, not falling over lol!

Most useful thing I read about breathing is that if you're struggling, it's likely that you can't get enough air in because you aren't breathing out hard enough. You need to empty your lungs of the oxygen-less air fully before you can take a deep breath. When I feel like I'm tiring, I really push the air out a few times and I soon perk up.

Thank you to whoever explained that in a previous post! It's really helped me.


I didn't get on with counting and I only breathe through my mouth! Just do what is comfortable for you. If you're not running too fast then the breathing settles. I had problems at the start as I was running too fast! 🐌


Breathe however you can. It sorts itself out when you get to intervals of 5-8 minutes.

You may also like...