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Can't breath when i run!

Updated on January 19, 2012

You can beat the problems with breathing when running

I never thought i would ever achieve this but i did! It took time and lots of patience.
I never thought i would ever achieve this but i did! It took time and lots of patience.

I would love to run but have problems breathing

Can't breath when i run!

This is a strange topic but believe it or not one that is discussed in many runner groups. I myself remember only too well that feeling of gasping for breath during a run and the horrendous cough afterwards.

Someone asked me if i suffered from EIA!! I didn't even know what that was short for except that it must have something to do with shortness of breath. EIA is the short way of saying, "Exercised induced Asthma" . Very good i thought at least i have an excuse, but i knew deep down that was rubbish i was just extremely unfit and had never run before.

When you run for the first time and expect too much you are going to experience this horrible feeling where the air queues up somewhere between the atmosphere and your lungs. It just doesn't get down there fast enough and you start gasping. When you gasp and the oxygen isn't getting round your body fast enough to feed those working muscles you start to hurt and what do you do?…..You hold your breath and make funny noises! This raises your blood pressure which doesn't help the situation too much and you end up exhausted and feel completely hopeless. ( Well lets not generalize, but some of us feel that way )

Lets divide this hub up into two sections one for us that don't have any excuse for the breathing problems and one for EIA.

Difficulty in breathing when running.

You have tried a bit of running and your breathing sucks……but not in the right way. You have spoken to a doctor and the sad reply is that you are out of shape, perhaps a little or a lot overweight and the reality is that it has been many years relaxation and couch hugging that is the real cause.

You know you are not morbidly obese because you can run, just not the way you would like to.

Your first step then is to go on a calorie controlled diet and when i say calorie controlled i am not referring to a very low calorie starvation diet. You will need enough daily calories to feed your muscles if you want to excel at running. If you starve yourself at some point the muscles you need will be damaged and the by products you produce otherwise from storage energy burning will cause you to feel unwell and tired.

If you are trying to lose weight just remember one very important thing. If you burn more calories each day than you consume then you will go down in weight. Unfortunately we all have different metabolic rates and genetic differences so this weight loss can go faster for some than others. You need to find out what suits your body type and your doctor can help you determine that.

At this stage in your running career!! You are neither going to go fast enough or far enough to burn thousands of calories so having an extra snack as a reward afterwards is banned. OK? so we agree your diet is one thing, stick to it and your running is another, try to keep these two areas in your life separate if you want to become a runner. In other words running can help you go down in weight but just simply a positive reward in itself.

Getting fit works faster than you would expect if you stick to it. Most people who are healthy will find that with an easy introduction to running and building it up gradually will soon be able to look back and be amazed at how unfit they once were.

The wheezing and breathing quietly can take a bit longer but it really does get easier if you follow a good runners plan taking you from zero to , for example 3 km in three weeks.

The secret is not to stress and listen to your body. Every breath should be deep and you should avoid hyperventilating. If your breathing becomes shallow you only breath in half as much air as you need to and you exhail less.

Each breath should be pulled in so deep that you feel your diaphragm rise and fall. The exhalation should be long enough to get rid of as much carbon dioxide as possible.

If you run bent over you will compromise your breathing, so stand tall and keep your head up and look ahead. The minute you are aware of looking down at your feet, then you are doubling up.

Try jogging for half a minute and running for 1 minute and repeat for as long as you can. When you walk you have the chance to get those shoulders back and breath deeply. As your fitness level improves, run for longer distances but put that one minute breathing walk in deliberately.

This can also be done on a treadmill if you are not ready to meet the big open world yet. Running outside is less boring but i do understand that some of us prefer to start indoors and this is better than nothing at all.

It’s important to remember that, if you feel out of breath, become dizzy or nauseous, it means you are not taking in enough oxygen for the speed you are running. Nobody runs out of breath unless they have a medical condition and if you are pushing yourself too hard and get dizzy you can faint so be careful. Listen to the signs your body is yelling at you.

Out of breath, dizzy or nauseous means slow down and take control of your breathing. All of these signs are telling you that you need more Oxygen and you need to get rid of carbon dioxide and other by products.

Slow down and pick up speed when you feel better .

Focus on longer, deeper breaths.

Allow air to enter through both the nose and mouth. This will allow for maximum O2 intake.

Lets hope these few tips give you motivation to try running or to continue what you have started.

Running with Asthma.

You don't have to give up running just because you have asthma but you will need to learn how your body works and what causes asthma attacks. You will need to have the help of your doctor to control the asthma and a plan for your running to keep you safe and in control.

Asthma can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and pressure, pain or a tight feeling in your chest. Running can make the symptoms worse so many people give it up but you don't have to.

First of all find out what type of asthma you have ( In this hub i am not talking about children who are born or develop asthma at a young age)

What you must never do is listen to someone who says " Oh i know someone who has asthma and they ran 10 marathons bla bla bla"

You are an individual and individuals are different. You need a plan that is specific for your needs .

Find out what triggers your asthma attacks.

Do exercise and other physical exertion bring on an attack or is it induced by allergies? How often do you use an inhaler?

Do you haveAllergy Induced Asthma?

When your asthma is induced by allergies , you need to avoid the things that set it off. Wear a mask if necessary when you run to prevent breathing in pollen or other allergens that bring on an attack. After the run, shower off and change your clothes to wash off any allergens that may be on your clothing, your skin or in your hair.

Rain is a good friend it will help wash the pollen out of the air temporarily. Therefore, a good time to run is right after it has been raining or you can run when it's drizzling rain.

Exercise Induced Asthma

If exercise brings on an asthma attack, avoid running when the air is cold because this can trigger an attack when your lungs fill up with the cold air. Instead, run indoors on a treadmill where you can control the temperature.

Don't push too hard. When you're not used to running, you need to start out slowly and only run short distances. You need to give your body time to adjust to the workout to reduce your chances of having an attack.

Do not let others around you determine your pace this is your responsibility.

Never run without taking your inhaler with you. No matter how careful you are, an asthma attack is always a possibility so you should be prepared, just in case. If you ever feel like your asthma is holding you back and keeping you from running, just remember that some of the most well known athletes in the world suffer from asthma. It didn't hold them back, so why should it stop you?

But also keep in mind top athletes with asthma have their doctors traveling with them eat all times. Run safe run long.

Thank you once again for anyone who has taken the time to read any of my hubs.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Your an idiot Mary

    • profile image

      Mary Jones 

      6 years ago

      Technically speaking, your blood is pretty much oxygenated at all times even when you're running and feeling out of breath. The feeling of not being able to breath is actually due to the build up of Carbon Dioxide and not enough oxygen getting to your muscles, not because you're not breathing in enough Oxygen.

      You can't improve by breathing more deeply, you have to condition your cardiovascular system, which basically means getting more oxygen to your muscles from your already oxygenated blood and removing the CO2 that's generated by your muscles.

    • Aisla profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolyn Mikkelsen 

      6 years ago from Norway

      First of all i am so sorry for taking such a long time to answer.

      If you have asthma then you should have a plan set up with your doctor so that you can monitor your progress but there is absolutely no reason to worry about running. Running can actually help you but you really need to stop worrying about others running faster at the moment. The clue to running better when you have asthma is to relax and not be tense. If you are tense and worried about the others getting ahead you will not be able to breath deeply enough to get the oxygen to the muscles needed for endurance and speed.

      Instead of running with others put up a training plan where you challenge your own ability and this will become a lot of fun. Remember to breath deep and relax your shoulders. If you feel that you are tensing up, relax and take a deep breath. When you run for 10 minutes one day take down your time for doing this. Try to keep this time and pace and do this 4 times per week for two weeks. On the third week you should be able to do the same pace and increase the distance by 10 %. Do this for a month ( Increasing the distance by 10% each week ) to build up you endurance but dot be tempted to increase your speed just yet!

      After one month try to do the distance you have built up to 2 minutes faster, you should only increase enough speed so that you can breath easily enough. Be aware that you are not bringing your shoulders up towards your ears, this means that you are stressing and trying too hard.

      If you keep this up for several months then you can go back and run with your friends. I think you will see a great difference. If you are relaxed when you run you can go faster and asthma will be a less likely problem.

      In addition , always be aware of factors that bring on your asthma for example, if you have pollen allergy, then only train indoors when pollen is high and run outdoors when it rains.

      I hope this helps and i wish you lots and lots of luck.

      Just keep saying to yourself i can do this....slowly but surely"

    • profile image

      P . W 

      6 years ago

      This has helped me quite a bit but I can't run at all and I am a healthy 11 year old with Asthma! Thanks for the help but I want to know why my pace is so slow compared to all my friends and I also kinda feel left out when they run off ahead hope you can answer my question?!! Thanks again! :)


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