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29115 Views 38 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2014 6:15 PM by AmieVacca RSS 1 2 3 Previous Next
angelaswindow Rookie 6 posts since
Oct 30, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 30, 2013 4:34 PM

Just starting again and need help with breathing techniques

I am 46..soon to be 47, my birthday is Sat.  I am 5'8 and 170 pounds.  I am starting a cough to 5k and hope to run my first in Dec.  My legs are more than willing to go the distance which is great considering I had surgery on a torn meniscus in June, but my breathing is just way to labored!!!  I start running and I just get winded so quickly.  My heart rate climbs as it should and I can get my breathing under control pretty good when I rest, but are there any special techniques or better ways to get air in without me gasping.  No history of asthma...just winded .  Also when I finally stop running I feel like all the blood is rushing to my head and I get light headed...is this normal?  I don't have this problem when I am biking or spinning which I LOVE! 

 

Any and all help is appreciated.

  • shipo Legend 441 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013

    I've been running off and on for over 40 years now, probably a bit more off than on, and each time I return to running I find I have periods where I have more leg than lung, and times where the reverse is true.  All in all, pretty normal.  As for the light headedness, yeah, that's happened to me during a few stretches, it always seemed to me that if I just slowed down a bit for the last half mile or so, the problem would correct itself.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,322 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    Yep, the technique (as alluded to by shipo) is to slow down.  In all seriousness, if you get winded quickly and your breathing is labored, you're running too fast.  Slow down.





    Len

  • Ally1020 Rookie 2 posts since
    Nov 5, 2013

    I started running (C25K) a couple of months ago and I was having problems with my breathing as well. I read somewhere to inhale for 3 steps and exhale for 2 steps. Not sure how valid this is, but I can say that it has helped me tremendously. At first, I was able to concentrate on my breathing and thus, took my mind off the running. Now it is just second nature for me to breathe like that when I run. Controlling my breathing like that has really helped me.

  • tienda2de2muebles2en2malaga Rookie 1 posts since
    Nov 5, 2013

    Slow down and take it easy. I can feel it when i'm not doing it in a correct way, especially during the warm up.

    Better to run an hour slowly than twenty minutes faster.

    And remember the branhma: again, again, again...

     

    Cheers for your efforts

    tienda de muebles en malaga

  • shipo Legend 441 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013

    Ally1020 wrote:

     

    I started running (C25K) a couple of months ago and I was having problems with my breathing as well. I read somewhere to inhale for 3 steps and exhale for 2 steps. Not sure how valid this is, but I can say that it has helped me tremendously. At first, I was able to concentrate on my breathing and thus, took my mind off the running. Now it is just second nature for me to breathe like that when I run. Controlling my breathing like that has really helped me.


    Inhale for three steps and exhale for two?  Can't say I've ever heard that before.

     

    Maybe it's just me, but that sounds pretty rigid and a recipe for inefficient running.  Personally I would say, inhale when you need to, exhale when you need to.  I occasionally focus on my breathing and there are times when I inhale on one step and exhale on the next (especially when I'm climbing a nasty hill), and other times where I might inhale for three or four steps and exhale in one or maybe two steps.  I would say when I'm on the flat and running a pretty good pace I inhale for two steps and exhale on the third.

  • SandyMcCartney Rookie 2 posts since
    Mar 1, 2013

    First, a disclaimer - I'm a beginner at 53, so take my advice with a grain of salt.  I read once that we tend to exhale when our dominant foot hits the ground, and that sometimes it could cause issues with knees and hips because we were always hitting the dominant foot a little harder.  Anyway, now I count my steps, always exhaling on "1" and inhaling over several counts.  The count needs to be an odd number so that you exhale first on your dominant foot, then on your non-dominant foot, and so on.  So when I start, I count to 9, then exhale on 1.  As I get more winded, the count goes to 7, then 5.  It has helped me immensely!

  • shipo Legend 441 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013

    Sounds awfully complicated; why not just let your body do what it does naturally?

  • SandyMcCartney Rookie 2 posts since
    Mar 1, 2013

    Well, because that wasn't working for me!  This is still natural, I adjust my count according to how tired I am.  I responded to the part of the question that I too struggled with until I started using this technique.  The question that was asked was this:

     

    My heart rate climbs as it should and I can get my breathing under control pretty good when I rest, but are there any special techniques or better ways to get air in without me gasping.

     


  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,322 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    There was actually a rarther long article in Runners World a few months ago touting the "revolutionary" technique of inhaling on three steps and exhaling on two.  Also it was specified that the cadence would have to change as you ran faster.  It was also suggested that this would help prevent side stitch, since you would constantly change which foot you inhaled on.  Of course it isn't revolutionary, runners have been doing it for years.  Switching the foot you inhale on has long been suggested as helping side stitch.

     

    It all comes down to this - DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

     

    But if you are constantly out-of-breath, gasping, winded - SLOW DOWN first. You're almost certainly going faster than your lungs are ready to go.  The rest of your body may not feel like you're running too fast but your lungs aren't ready for it. When I'm running at a regular training pace, my breathing is almost casual.  If I'm doing something like intervals, or the last half-mile of a 5K, then I'm breathing hard.





    Len

  • shipo Legend 441 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013

    Hmmm, a new "revolutionary technique"; where have I heard that before? 

     

    This is the first time I've ever heard of a correlation between breathing on even counts and side stitches; guess I've never really paid attention to that particular bit of advice, probably because I haven't had a side stitch since 1972 (I know this for a fact because that was the first year I ran track).  That said, there may well be something to that particular bit of wisdom.

     

    Two of your other comments:

    • It all comes down to this - DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!
    • But if you are constantly out-of-breath, gasping, winded - SLOW DOWN first.

     

    Yup, and yup; couldn't agree more.  Of course, there is such a thing as over-thinking and/or over compensating.  In this case, it would seem to me that paying such close attention to breathing would take away from other issues/stimuli which may require more attention; things like (but not limited to):

    • Stride irregularities
    • Subtle early warning signs of an approaching injury
    • Traffic (vehicular, pedestrian, or something in the middle like a group of horseback riders heading in your direction)

     

    Long story short, while revolutionary breathing techniques may help in some instances, I have to wonder if they have A) more of a placebo effect than anything else, or B) kind of a band-aid effect in that forcing the breathing to slow dowin will in turn force the runner to slow down (or pass out from oxygen debt, which I guess is a form of slowing down).

  • justamaniac Pro 170 posts since
    May 30, 2007

    ok - I'm going to chime in here with the same advice that I've often gotten to my quirks:  "stop over-thinking it".

    Just run and breathe. If you are out of breath, slow down....

    You'll figure out more complicated breathing techniques after a while, but in the meantime, don't over think it.  Just relax, run, and have fun !

     

    :-)

     

    -bill

    http://runningthrutime.blogspot.com

  • kreeseis Rookie 1 posts since
    Jun 4, 2013

    Years ago during one of my first football practices ever (this was high school in the 80's) a team mate noticed that I was struggling to breathe early into a run.  He ran next to me and told me to get into a breathing rhythm that matched my steps.  It wasn't because there was magic to the timing, rather it was because breathing to a rhythm forced me to maintain control of my breaths.  When you are new to the running game little tricks can help you stay in control until you actually figure out "what works for you."  It worked for me.  I went from struggling to get around the track once to battling through a distance run...immediately.  Try the trick and stick with it if it works.  Once you get into better condition, you'll find a more natural groove. 

  • Michelle72683 Rookie 4 posts since
    Jul 25, 2011

    As cliche as it may sound, so far everything everyone has said, IS what I did (& do). I, too, struggled (and still, sometimes, struggle) with my breathing. My air always runs out before my legs give out. That said, it has helped me to manage my breathing along with my steps ... to forcy myself to think about my breaths & force myself to breath more slowly & more regularly, on a rhythm. This has helped me learn to breathe in more slowly, managed, & controlled, instead of gasping air in (like I tried in the beginning). If I can't maintain my step-count as I'm wearing out or exerting myself more, I lower the count. The purpose behind it, for me, was to regulate myself so that I could eventually do it by "feel" & I no longer count for my entire run, just when I find myself starting to struggle with breathing.

    Also, many suggest to me to breathe through my nose all of the time. I can't make it work to exhale through my nose, but noticed inhaling through my nose made a difference, for me.

    Annnnnd ... slowing down. I felt like I already ran SOOOOOO slowly that I didn't want to slow my pace any further, but the longer the runs with the slower the pace, the better my breathing has become, and the easier it is to work into a faster pace without getting excessively winded.

     

    I'm a person who has had (& continues to have) to regulate myself ... think consciously about speed & when to breathe in & when to breathe out ... until it becomes 2nd nature. Then, and only then, can I do what feels right because I've trained my body to not "be stupid" (as I tell myself) & to breathe how works best for it. Hope this helps!!

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