Can't breathe while running but am not straining myself at all?

So I started out running a few weeks ago and I'm really struggling with my breathing. It feels like my airway tightens and I can't get any air in. I know obviously your lungs need to adjust when you're starting out but this feels like its more than just that. I wont be tired in anyway or sweating but I won't be able to breath really quickly.

It can be quiet scary and has led me to end my run earlier than I wanted. I'm overweight so I presume that's contributing to it, I'm 5'8 and 15 stone, I'm 24 as well. Is whats happening just normal lungs adjusting? Like is that what I should be expecting when I start out running? If so any tips to lesson it?
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Replies

  • brittanystebbins95
    brittanystebbins95 Posts: 559 Member
    Any chance you have or could have exercise induced asthma?
  • Ciara108
    Ciara108 Posts: 46 Member
    Honestly no idea, I wanted to ask here if it was what I should expect and if the response is no I'm gonna go to a doctor. Only thing is I would think I don't have anything as I used to be fit when I was 18 so not too long ago and I didn't have this issue
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    The way you describe this sounds different than just being out of breath because you're running too fast. I would get it checked out.
  • lightenup2016
    lightenup2016 Posts: 1,051 Member
    Do you take any kind of medication?
  • littlegreenparrot1
    littlegreenparrot1 Posts: 602 Member
    Do you get that when you do other kinds of work out, or is it run specific?

    Are you running outside? If you don't generally spend much time outside I'm wondering if it could be a hayfever allergy.

    I was heavier than you when I started running and did not have that experience. I

    I would slow down for starters, going to fast to soon is a common mistake. And also make an appointment at the Dr.
    The way you describe it sounds like something else could be going on.
  • owen1826
    owen1826 Posts: 53 Member
    Yeah allergies make running pretty hard for me. How’s the climate where you live? Humidity also is really rough. I would say if you’re just starting out give it time. And focus on pushing the air OUT, it’s really hard to breathe properly if you aren’t exhaling enough carbon dioxide.
  • Talan79
    Talan79 Posts: 782 Member
    Are you breathing in and out from your nose or mouth? I can’t get enough air in through my nose when I run so I’m a mouth breather.
  • Hanibanani2020
    Hanibanani2020 Posts: 523 Member
    Get a medical. That’s not normal.
  • Anamaere
    Anamaere Posts: 60 Member
    I also recommend getting checked out. Exercise induced asthma is definitely something to rule out or confirm since it will change what you do if you have it. I have issues building cardiovascular fitness for running due to allergies and then the cold, yet im fine walking long distance, cycling or riding horses. Interval training and using a 'long and slow' mindset to building fitness does seem to help reduce the issue for me (and my horses actually). The advice above about breathing OUT is really useful, despite seeming counter-intuitive. It also works if you get the breath knocked out of you in a fall, or during a panic attack.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,379 Member
    Allergies are a possibility, or asthma. I also have a hard time breathing when it's humid. You might also get your ferritin levels checked. When I'm more anemic, it becomes harder to breathe.
  • Kodekai1988
    Kodekai1988 Posts: 49 Member
    Get that checked out.

    I used to have asthma and in particular exercise induced asthma - I can only describe it as feeling like your airway is tight and burning - really quite painful. You can get air into your mouth but it doesn’t go down your airway, and it’s scary. And my airway and chest would burn for hours afterward. Does this sound familiar?

    No idea why, but I “grew out” of my asthma when I hit about 20/21. I definitely had it - diagnosed but GPs, different inhalers etc.

    But, while I did have it, the inhalers I was given made it possible to exercise. I would never have willingly done a long run but I competed in track and field, did drills, gym work, basketball, netball... basically anything that wasn’t a long run! So don’t despair if you do seek help and are diagnosed - if asthma is managed well you can have a very active lifestyle.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,353 Member
    a blood test might also be in order. I feel like this when my iron levels are too low as your body needs iron to transport oxygen. Too little of that and you run out of breath. But yes, it's very possible that you're running too fast. Try to run as slow as you can, even if you think that people was faster than that. the movement is still different and more tiresome to walking as running involves a moment where both feet are off the ground at the same time.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,622 Member
    "Airway tightens" is suggestive of asthma or exercise induced asthma (has it only been apparent in recent hot UK weather?) As that can be a trigger for exercise induced asthma (as well as dust, pollen, cold etc...) and worth getting a Doc to check you over.

    But as an alternative idea.....
    It wasn't until my 30's I discovered I didn't breathe properly. I had a tendency to breathe by lifting my shoulders/expanding my chest rather than using my diaphragm.
    Which explained why I was a good sprinter and good at stop/start sports but useless at distance running despite oversized lungs - I simply didn't fill my lungs properly especially when running steadily. Effectively I was panting and only using the top of my lungs.

    I had to consciously breathe deeply and from my diaphragm when running to retrain myself (in-2-3, out-2-3).
    Oddly when cycling I don't have the issue at all.

  • Xiaolongbao
    Xiaolongbao Posts: 854 Member
    Another recommendation for getting it checked out. As an unfit runner what you're describing doesn't match how I feel when I'm out of breath.
  • Shortgirlrunning
    Shortgirlrunning Posts: 1,023 Member
    I would definitely get that checked out. Even running when I was obese I never experienced not being able to breathe or feeling like my airways were closed. It’s not normal and should not be expected.
  • swirlybee
    swirlybee Posts: 497 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    "Airway tightens" is suggestive of asthma or exercise induced asthma (has it only been apparent in recent hot UK weather?) As that can be a trigger for exercise induced asthma (as well as dust, pollen, cold etc...) and worth getting a Doc to check you over.

    But as an alternative idea.....
    It wasn't until my 30's I discovered I didn't breathe properly. I had a tendency to breathe by lifting my shoulders/expanding my chest rather than using my diaphragm.
    Which explained why I was a good sprinter and good at stop/start sports but useless at distance running despite oversized lungs - I simply didn't fill my lungs properly especially when running steadily. Effectively I was panting and only using the top of my lungs.

    I had to consciously breathe deeply and from my diaphragm when running to retrain myself (in-2-3, out-2-3).
    Oddly when cycling I don't have the issue at all.
    I would second this alternative idea.
    I think I'm in the same situation in terms of not breathing properly. I always thought that I had good cardio fitness and had good controlled breathing. It wasn't until I was doing intense back-to-back-to-back sparring(randori) in judo that my coach noticed I was "hyperventilating". Yeah, I was panting like @sijomial said and felt like I was dying. I mean I kept up but I was horribly inefficient in my movement.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    Are you following a structured running program like C25k or similar? This will help you pace your buildup.
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 7,353 Member
    And yet another idea: When I run too fast or walk steeper uphill or other things my blood pressure crashes and it does feel like tight airways as well because I try to breathe but it's not doing quite that much. I wonder of POTS feels similar.
  • Theoldguy1
    Theoldguy1 Posts: 2,270 Member
    Talan79 wrote: »
    Are you breathing in and out from your nose or mouth? I can’t get enough air in through my nose when I run so I’m a mouth breather.

    Might want to get your nose/sinuses checked. I was a mouth breather for a long time. Got looked at by an ENT and had significant reconstructive surgery to correct deviated septum and other issues (note this can be due to the way you were born, an injury, etc and can change over time).

    As soon as I woke up from the surgery, I could breath better through my nose, even though there were splints in both nostrils. Had the surgery about a year ago, prior I was constantly blowing my nose, realized about a month ago I blew my nose for the first time since surgery when all the dirt was in the air from the farms around us.
  • moonangel12
    moonangel12 Posts: 971 Member
    Get that checked out.

    I used to have asthma and in particular exercise induced asthma - I can only describe it as feeling like your airway is tight and burning - really quite painful. You can get air into your mouth but it doesn’t go down your airway, and it’s scary. And my airway and chest would burn for hours afterward. Does this sound familiar?

    No idea why, but I “grew out” of my asthma when I hit about 20/21. I definitely had it - diagnosed but GPs, different inhalers etc.

    But, while I did have it, the inhalers I was given made it possible to exercise. I would never have willingly done a long run but I competed in track and field, did drills, gym work, basketball, netball... basically anything that wasn’t a long run! So don’t despair if you do seek help and are diagnosed - if asthma is managed well you can have a very active lifestyle.
    I suddenly developed asthma around 16/17. It felt like an elephant sitting on my chest. Originally they thought exercise induced, soon found it was full blown. Thankfully over the years I outgrew it (peaked around 18/19). I had always been an athlete - track, soccer, volleyball... all of a sudden one year we were running laps for volleyball preseason and I thought “wow! I am horribly out of shape!” Since we didn’t do huge amounts of running in general it wasn’t until soccer season that I realized I was having major issues. I had also had a mystery illness at 13/14 that wrecked my body in a number of ways through a number of systems (endocrine, neuro) so I suspect it was related.

    Good news is, aside from key triggers (hot/humid or cold/dry extremes) most days I can go for a run without issue.

    I vote doctor visit. If it is asthma, the proper inhaler will do wonders!