I have been running for about 8 months and at least 4x a week and I just do not seem to be able to run comfortably due to my breathing technique or lack of it. Can any one give me some tips.


  • Loosen up, relax and enjoy your running!
  • Are you running too fast for a start?
    We all get out of breath if we run too hard. Do you use a heart monitor as that will give you a better idea of the rate you are running at? By the way, Aldi have got heart monitors in from Jan 23rd for £14.99. Dont know if they are any good but that seems realy cheap - maybe a good bargin for beinners.

    Try to find a pace, no matter how slow, where you can breath in rythm to your stride with nice deep comfy breaths. This maybe in on every right footstrike and out on the next one or slower. Just pick your pace. But if you think there is a real physical problem with breathing don't overlook a visit to your GP.

    Hope others can help more - all the best.
  • Sing a song (in your head!) as you run - helps to get breathing and feet in sync.
  • I don't have any problems regarding getting out of breath unless I'm pushing things, however, I do get attacks of hyperventilation and I have no option but to stop running. This can then last several hours and is very uncomfortable.
  • Suffolk P have you seen a doctor as that sounds a bit drastic to me! Pitts, where are you???
    BTW what do you push?
  • I've been getting this on and off for about 10 years. Seems to be something to do with food intolerance (esp. caffiene). Yup, I did see a doc and all he did was to prescribe beta blockers, valium and a host of other drugs that are probably far more addictive than heroin, crack and whatever else.

    I can live with it.
  • My teenage daughter had been running for about 3 years very successfully but suddenly developed dreadfull problems with breathing and chest pains. We purchased Powerbreathe as advertised in RW which, touch wood, has helped her breathing enormously e.g today she finished in the top ten in the Scottish East District XC Championships over 4.4K. I think that it cost £45 from our local running shop with our Club discount - the website is wwww.powerbreathe
  • Suffolk P, have just re-read and realise am thick. I thought you actually meant pushing things like one of those mad pushchairs or something! Was not being a smartarse. Doh!

    I find if I do one of my longer distances sometimes my throat feels like it's closing up and I'm a bit wheezy. I have to really concentrate on gulping big breaths right down. Is this usual, a sign of lack of fitness or am I going to keel over. (happenned yesterday)
  • sounds like exercise induced asthma
    Get to your GP
  • I find I have to run really slowly for about 1 - 2 miles then my breathing seems to settle down. If I am with a group of friends, I can never chat unless we are almost at walking pace. I've been looking at the Powerbreathe machine - I would get one if I thought it would help. I'm also overweight which I suppose doesnt help.
  • HT - Doh!!!

    I was tested for asthma at the time it first happened (I actually did collapse and did anyone actually bother to help me??). The airways are quite clear. Apparently it's due to too much oxygen in the system, the immediate cure is to breathe in and out of a brown paper bag to bring down the level of oxygen against the co2 level. You may have heard stories about "panic attacks". It has similar symptoms and can be very uncomfortable especially at high altitude where oxygen in thinner and you're breathing harder as it is.

    Maybe I should also point out that I have been a Friday night smoker for nearly twenty years and, of course, this has nothing to do with it!
  • Munchkin, sounds like maybe you're not warming up properly. I find it's not good to start running straight off, even a slow jog, but give myself a good fast-walk warm up for 10 - 15 mins. At the moment I am getting back into running and using a treadmill but making use of other gym facilities before embarking on my treadmill session. I find by the time I'm ready to run I'm nicely warmed up and can start a proper run very quickly, but I'd suffer if I started from cold.
  • HT - do I understand you keeled over yesterday?
  • Suff P, no just felt like keeling over, was writing all thick-like. Again.
    Just did 4.25m and it happened again. Did wonder if could be linked to fact most running done by very busy roads and am breathing in mainly exhaust fumes?

    Benz, will mention to GP next time go in for my never-healing sinus snot thingy! (am one of those people that goes seldom as don't like to bother the busy doc)
  • I don't think we realise how much cack we're breathing in most of the time. This summer I was on hols in rural Ireland. Did a great little run on deserted back roads, and was aware that other than cow poo the air smaelt very clean. I realised just how clean when I came around a corner at the top of a hill 100 yards from a cottage. There was a wedding party in the garden having photos done and from that far away I was hit full force by a wall of hairspray fumes and perfume. At home that smell wouldn't even have registered!
  • I can relate to the clean air thing - my folks live in the foothills of the Pyrenees and walking there is - how can I put this without sounding corny? - a breath of fresh air? They don't even have cow poo spoiling things.
  • I have this problem too... I have been running for a while now and although I am relatively fit in the gym and can control my breathing- when it comes to running outside, I am out of breath from the minute I start to the minute I stop. The only time I can manage to talk to my boyfriend when we are out running, is when we are going downhill.

    I figure that if I persevere and keep running outside it can only get better, but what else can I do?

    What does this powerbreathe thingie do?
  • Munchkin/Pansie
    My daughter was diagnosed as having weak respiratory muscles after she had been examined by a physio & doctor for athletics induced asthma. She was advised to blow up ballons to strengthen chest muscles. Powerbreathe is a bit more sophisticated and a lot more expensive! It is a hand held machine with an adjustable resistance which exercises respiratory muscles and requires the user to take 30 breaths with it in the morning and in the evening. The blurb says that results are noticeable in four weeks and this seems about right in our case - as her breathing problems have eased considerably on Saturday she averaged around 6.5 minute miles for 4.4K on a tough, hilly XC course.
    P.S. I'm not on commission from Powerbreathe!!!
  • Wee Col,
    My breathing is all over the place when I run. It seems that the more I try and get my breathing right (too much thinking about it!) the more problems I have and as a result seem to be prone to very painful stitches. Have had a look at the powerbreathe website and am really tempted -do you think it would be worth a try?
  • I'm back - haven't been posting recently because I've been trying to get to grips with my own aches, pains and general inability to breathe following my first week running.
    Very interesting thread, this one.

    Suffolk Punch - hyperventilation is most definitely NOT related to smoking. As you said, it's to do with sucking in too much oxygen, and as we know, fags deprive the body of oxygen (largely through the production of carbon monoxide... but I'm getting a bit technical there...) As to why you're getting it - in all honesty, I've never come across food intolerance presenting as hyperventilation, but that's not to say it can't happen, I guess.

    As an ex-smoker, I, too, am struggling with my breathing, although seem to get short periods where I can run at a faster pace than usual and my whole body, including my breathing, relaxes (feels great, for all of 2-3 minutes, then I'm near collapse once again!) I don't think the cold weather helps matters, and I remember reading elsewhere on this site someone advising that you should "treat the lungs as a muscle and build them up". Not strictly accurate, I suppose, but I agree with the sentiment. The more you do, the better it gets. Doesn't it?!
  • Thanks for the confirmation Pitts. Unless I start running in the 75 - 80% zone (for those of you who are familiar with HRMs) breathlessness has never really posed me any problems only these bloody hyper whatsit attacks. As for cold weather, I remember some years ago having an arguement with some fellow racing cyclists about cold weather affecting lungs. It seemed to affect some more than others, like you, I never seemed unduly affected by cold (other than usual freeze-your-wotsits-off problems) but some of guys said their lungs felt frigid by the cold. Maybe it was just an excuse for them to sit in a nice warm pub, while the rest of us did some hard-core winter training!! However, I'm convinced about having a proper warm-up. My breathing is all over the shop if I attempt any proper form of training before I've properly warmed up and I mean upto 15 minutes at this time of year.
  • SuzyB - have you tried matching your breathing to your stride pattern? I get this problem when I think too much about it, and my breathing goes all over the place, but if I concentrate on breathing in for 3 strides, then out for 3, it helps me get on top of it.
  • SuzyB
    In my daughter's case we only tried powerbreathe after medical/physio consultation - checking out peak flow and other potential breathing/medical problems etc. and in her case it does seem to have worked. I suggest you explore as many avenues you can - Fishy may have something with the breathing/stride pattern.

    At the end of the day you have to weigh everything up - how much does good running mean to you and is it worth investing around £50. My daughter enjoyes running and competing at a good level and her condition was really getting her down. We reckoned that the cost of the powerbreathe was slightly cheaper than a decent pair of running shoes and could only help her situation.

    Hope you manage to find a solution to your problem soon - let us know how you get on.
  • Fishy/Wee Col,
    Thanks for the advice. Went out for a run last night and did try to concentrate on my breathing pattern - wasn't too successful, but I'll keep at it. I've been running for almost 2 years and have had bother all this time so have decided that I'll try the powerbreathe too - I really want to improve my running and step up my distances, so think the investment will be worth it.
    Will definately let you know how I get on.
  • Thanks everyone for you tips etc on breathing. I have tried running at a slower pace and it seems to be working, I relise now that you need to run at a pace that is comfortable not going of like a lunatic
  • y spend 50quid on a powerbreathe? can u not simulate the effect by holding hand over mouth to restrict your intake?

  • I've been running for the past 8 months in the hope of doing my first 1/2 marathon in the spring. I've always been into fitness - but for the odd year or three out boozing and lazing about - and have built up through hard work to be able to run 3 to 4 miles most nights. I still have problems with breathing and I have always a head on me that says stop . . . and when I do I ask why!

    I'm 54 and give my neighbours and friends a good run for their money - given that I'm double the age at least of all of them who I run with - we cycle 13 miles on the hills against the clock on the non-run nights.

    My breathing is wrong; I get back pains and I always think I can't do this! But, I do and afterwards I feel 20 years younger!

    Love it - hate the pain and the feeling that I'm defeated when I run but keep going because afterwards I know I'll feel like magic!
  • Hi guys,

    As a Sandhurst hopeful, I've been running for the last 10 months to build on my fitness. Only problem is I have been stuck at the 1 mile mark. I feel like I can never go any further as I get extremely tired and out of breath (average speed is 1mile in 9.5mins). Is this to do with my breathing? I visited my GP a few years back and he said I had a good set of lungs and certainlt didn't have asthma. Can anyone help or give me any tips as time is ticking away for me very fast!
  • try getting the book BODY, MIND AND SPORT by john douillard (amazon have it). It teaches an excellent breathing technique that is permanant and cheaper than POWERBREATH. It can take a few weeks to learn but the results are amazing - success garanteed !good luck.
  • Two things I had troubles with...

    1) "Effort" asthma. When doing resistance intervals or pushing on the machine a little too hard, I experienced some mild asthma symptoms. That was especially true on cold weather. My physician told me to make sure I hydrated myself a lot before running, and to start slower. It worked very well.

    2) I did not expulse all of the air from my lungs. I was actually using only about 80% or so of my lung capacity. Make sure you breathe out completely (contract your abs a little by the end of the breathing cycle to push all of the air out).


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