Running and Breathing

slamina Posts: 26 Member
Started running about a month ago and find I'm constantly out of breath. Within about 5 paces I'm huffing and puffing like a 20 stone asthmatic.

I don't think I'm that unfit I cycle about 50 miles a week and walk 4 miles a day in an hour as well as doing weighs etc a couple of times a week. I'm only about 5lbs overweight but I am 46 years old

I can run a couple of miles but have to stop every couple of hundred yards to get my breathing back to a reasonable level. I quite enjoy the action of running but hate that my breathing is so laboured the whole time. I'm embarrassed to run in public.

I'm trying to get fit to join the RAF Reserves and for my initial fitness test I need to do a Bleep test of 5.03, which should be easy but I tried a couple of days ago and only did level 1, then had to stop to get my breath before I could do the next level and so on. Managed 3 levels like this but obviously the whole idea of this test is that it is continuous and I'm feeling like I'll never be able to do it.

Anyone else experience this?

Any advise would be much appreciated.

Do I need to just "man up" and get on with it and it will get better? Or am I just living in cloud cockoo land and will never make this level.

Is there maybe a good way to breath when running? Longer breaths in than out or vice versa maybe? I just don't know what to do for the best. Really want to try and get this but it's getting depressing as it doesn't seem to be improving at all.



  • billsica
    billsica Posts: 4,741 Member
    Slow down... That's the short answer.

    It sounds like you are sprinting. I'm not sure what distance you are trying to cover.

    Breathing should be in your nose and mouth and anything else that will take 02, I love my air!

    If you start side stitches, exhale when the opposite foot hits the ground.

    It sounds like you are doing intervals as it is. Just work on going slower for your distances, and work on intervals to gain speed.
  • rassha01
    rassha01 Posts: 534 Member
    Slow it down until you can breath comfortably. As you progress it will get easier and speed will come with endurance, Keep with it!!
  • weffie11
    weffie11 Posts: 91
    Go slower!!!! You're trying to run too fast - your body needs time to adjust!!! Go slower and build the time and then gradually build the speed
  • MorganLeighRN
    MorganLeighRN Posts: 411 Member
    Yes, slow down. Also, have you been tested for exercise induced asthma?
  • kristy6ward
    kristy6ward Posts: 332 Member
    You're running too fast. Slow it down and focus on duration.
  • MrsSausage58
    MrsSausage58 Posts: 143 Member
    Maybe you're trying to run too fast? I'm no expert but I count when I run (out loud but quietly) and it helps to steady my breathing. I count to 40, or 50 or whatever and then start again at 1. It works for me so maybe worth a try for you. Good luck!
  • lporter229
    lporter229 Posts: 4,907 Member
    I agree. Sounds like you are running too fast. If you are new to running, I would shoot for an 11-12 min mile pace to start.
  • NakedLunchTime
    The way I control my breathing is to start a nice steady pace breathing in and out my nose. As i feel myself needing more breath, I try to breath in my nose out my mounth for as long as posssible. This helps me greatly! My husband runs with a mouth piece in and that has really helped him get his breathing during running to a good place!

    It helps us run longer without feeling like we are going to die! haha

    Good luck!:wink:
  • bannedword
    bannedword Posts: 299 Member
    Slow down.
  • jasonheyd
    jasonheyd Posts: 524 Member
    Agreed with the others about starting slowly...

    To get started, find the pace at which it's uncomfortable to walk REALLY fast w/out doing something funky to your stride (i.e. shifting to a "race walk" gait) and it feels more natural to "jog".

    That's the pace you want to start with, and it'll probably take a little tinkering until you get it right for you.

    Once you've found that sweet spot, consider doing some intervals -- either something like "C25k" or your roll your own... something like:

    1. Week 1: Alternate between walking briskly for 2 minutes, then running for 30 seconds for a total of 30-45 minutes.
    2. Week 2: Alternate between walking briskly for 2 minutes, then running for 1 minute for a total of 30-45 minutes.
    3. Week 3: Alternate between walking briskly for 3 minutes, then running for 90 seconds for a total of 30-45 minutes.
    4. ... and so on.

    The goal is to pace yourself into running more than you're walking. Once your stamina's built up and running feels more natural. Usually between 3 and 5 minutes of walking will be enough to recharge you for much longer runs, but do what feels natural while still challenging yourself.

    If that doesn't help with the breathing & stamina, then a check-up with the doc is a good idea, and if you haven't been fitted for running shoes, save yourself some pain & get that done before you start. ;-)

    ETA: As far as "speed" goes, don't be afraid of slow... When I started out, I was lucky to maintain a 15:00/mile pace (~4 MPH). Stamina first, speed later.
  • baileysmom4
    baileysmom4 Posts: 242 Member
    Could you have asthma?
  • BeachIron
    BeachIron Posts: 6,490 Member
    Yes. Slow down. Learn to breathe at a slower pace and then slowly build it up.
  • scottb81
    scottb81 Posts: 2,538 Member
    You are running too fast for your current fitness level. The only way to be able to breathe easier while running faster is to increase your aerobic fitness level. The best way to do that is to run a lot at an aerobic pace (generally 70 to 80% max heart rate).

    If you need to do this quickly then you will have to run a lot since how fast your fitness builds and how high it builds is directly proportional to how much you run - without overtraining or getting injured.

    As to how to breathe while running, this quote from Arthur Lydiard says it best:
    “Breathe through your mouth. Breathe through your nose. Suck the air in through your ears, if you can.”
  • slamina
    slamina Posts: 26 Member
    Thank you so much for all the replies.

    Get the feeling I should slow down!!!

    Jasonheyd...walking and running intervals should be good for me I think, will start on that tomorrow.

    Lots of positive feedback from everyone so thanks again....I will slow it down.

    For those who asked, I'm pretty sure I'm not asthmatic, only struggle with my breath whilst running not other cardio exercise. Just unfitness I guess.

    I shall plod on :)
  • bornofthorns
    bornofthorns Posts: 143 Member
    Agree with the slowing down. In addition, focus on "belly breathing" getting some good deep breaths down to the diaphragm and getting all of that CO2 out in the exhale. I have a lot of trouble with this, but like clockwork, when I feel like I can't run anymore, I really focus on this and it helps.

    Also, this time of year, if you are running outside, keep in mind that (don't quote me), for every 1 or 5 degrees you are supposed to lose like 10 secs off of your mile. The math doesn't matter, the point is, when it is hot your body naturally tries to slow you down. If you try too hard to push past that, I'm sure it will affect your breathing.

    That being said, keep up the good work and remember that it is a journey. You can always learn to work on form, breathing etc in those times when you need to slow down. Those will things will make you a better runner.
  • Jess1caLe
    Jess1caLe Posts: 31 Member
    Everyone has already posted great suggestions, the run intervals and of course starting at a lower speed. Something else you may want to consider on your down time, breathing exercises. I'm not that great of a runner but since I've been doing yoga, the breathing exercises have helped me developed my lung capacity and pay attention to how I'm breathing and what my body is saying when it's reached its limit. I started out jogging out of breath and as of yesterday I was able to keep a 9 min pace for 3.3 miles without stopping or being out of breath.
  • belgerian
    belgerian Posts: 1,059 Member
    Is it possible you have asthma maybe talk with your doctor?
  • igypsy
    igypsy Posts: 64 Member
    When I started running I also had trouble controlling my breathing. I think it was because I was breathing too shallow.

    It helped a lot to time my breathing with my steps, i.e. breathe in for 3 / 4 steps, breathe out for 3 / 4 steps - or whatever feels right. This also helps you to get into a rhythm.
  • slamina
    slamina Posts: 26 Member
    Been doing the walk/run intermittant training and finding it very helpful expecially mentally as I know I'm going to walk after so many minutes, rather that running for a bit and then feeling like I'm a failure by walking.

    Running slower (well jogging actually) is definately easier for me than trying to run fast to get fit fast, I can actually jog for a few minutes before my breathing gets heavy as opposed to gasping for breath practically straight away as I was before. Again, this is really boosting me mentally.

    Because I'm training towards doing the bleep test I felt that I had to run at least at 8kpm which is the level 1 speed but have realised that I have to build up to that.

    Thanks for all the great advice as I was close to giving up.
  • jasonheyd
    jasonheyd Posts: 524 Member
    Been doing the walk/run intermittant training and finding it very helpful expecially mentally as I know I'm going to walk after so many minutes, rather that running for a bit and then feeling like I'm a failure by walking.

    That's a HUGE factor... I found that reaching the mini-goals would let me go a lot longer than one long-distance run.
    ... have realised that I have to build up to that.

    Yep... Glad it's working. Even once you get into all running, you can still user intervals to increase stamina. Just use a Walk/Sprint or Jog/Sprint approach and it'll help you build up both speed & stamina over time.

    Only other thing I'd say is, don't expect overnight miracles. Most of the C25k programs out there are 8+ week programs. :)