Breathing while running

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #1

I’m asthmatic, I cannot run to save my life. Well I probably could but I’d probably end up dying anyway.

I do crossfit and they always make us do these stupid 200, 300, 400, all the way up to 1.5km sprints in between strength pieces.

How do you breathe when you run? I’m a shallow breather to begin with and I’m really struggling to focus on breathing while running. Should I breathe with my mouth or my chest? I always lag behind and finish before everyone else.

Running to me feels like a panic attack and I hold on for as long as possible while my heart absoloutely screams out of my chest and I feel like I am going to pass out.

Does anyone have any advice? Should I look up breathing techniques? Appreciate the advice, and very thankful for the Running category!

(LeeAnn Brooks) #2

There are breathing techniques. There’s a whole area of running science dedicated to it, but as I e never had an issue with it, I have t looked into it.
I’m guessing you could find articles with a Google search though.

(TJ Borden) #3

I’d be curious to see if your breathing gets better the longer you’re on keto. My wife has/had asthma really bad. She had a big much of daily meds and would have to use her “emergency” inhaler several times a day. A couple months on keto and she never uses her emergency inhaler anymore. Even durning workouts.

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #4

I am the same without keto actually.
If I do not have a ventolin in my bag I freak out and am full of anxiety and need it more than usual.
If I do have it in my bag it’s like a safety blanket and I never think about it.
Even when I do crossfit, we will run and I will continue with my workout, then we stretch and warm down so by that time my breathing has relaxed again and I don’t actually need my ventolin.

I will certainly monitor it though and see if it makes a difference. :slight_smile:

(Alec) #5

I have exercise induced asthma, and I run. Here’s my experience:

  1. Keto (and losing weight) has eased my asthma considerably.
  2. I remember when I started running, I had some runners I was with who said to me “ boy, we gotta sort out your breathing… you sound like a dragon!” So I relate to your problem!
  3. The best way to breathe is to use your belly to suck air in and out, not your chest. Ref ‘belly breathing’, pls let me know if you want me to explain further. And use your mouth to breathe, don’t rely only on your nose.
  4. What you describe sounds to me like you are running too hard for your level of fitness. One thing that every runner beginner goes through is running too hard to start with. And every runner then learns to slow down so that the pace is sustainable. This is probably the key for you. Don’t compare yourself to other runners (another rookie runner mistake!), everyone goes through an initial slow period while you get used to running. Don’t let it bother you that you are slower than the others. I am almost always slower than others on runs, but I don’t care.
  5. I have running friends who are seriously asthmatic who run to their own pace, and still end the run very breathless, and sounding wheezy. They just know when they need to slow down, and you will learn that with experience.

So, slow down, use your belly and mouth to breathe, and run to enjoy it, not to beat yourself up.

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #6

Thank you Alec, sound advice. I have heard of belly breathing before, I will look into that a bit more. Thank you! :slight_smile:

(GINA ) #7

I was diagnosed once with ‘exercise induced asthma’ and it turned out to be a reaction to dairy. No dairy, no asthma. Yours sounds more serious though.

Sometimes I count and match breaths to steps while running: In, two, three, out, two, three, four. I also think about breathing out more completely, then you can’t help but breathe in.

(Alec) #8

Thanks, I might skip dairy for a couple of weeks to see if my asthma improves some more. I really only now get symptoms after 30 mins of hard running. Before fasting, keto, and losing weight, I would have symptoms just getting out of bed!! :worried:


Slow down so that you are able to breath through your nose, at least periodically. I try to take a breath every three steps so that it’s pretty deep. Have you heard of Maffetone? Might be relevant.

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #10

My mum tells me this all the time but you know what, I just really love dairy. If I was dairy free, this journey would be as hard for me as it is for a vegan lol. I live on cheese and a sneaky cup of tea with milk every day and am still losing so thank god that is not too much of an issue for me.

I will definitely try your methods though. Thanks for responding :slight_smile:

(LeeAnn Brooks) #11

I feel the same way about dairy. I started Keto using a 4 week meal plan by Leanne Vogal which I didn’t realize was dairy free until I was already into it.
I completed all 4 weeks (because I’m crazy once I commit myself to something) and was so happy to be done with it.

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #12

Are you eating dairy now though?

(LeeAnn Brooks) #13

Oh yeah! But I’ll be honest, I didn’t do as well when I started. I originally lost 8.4 pound in the first 4 weeks. I was pretty happy with it as I don’t have much to lose. But when I went off the plan, I actually gained almost 4 of it back.
I don’t know if I can blame that on the dairy or the fact that I started eating a lot more (because it tasted so much better with the dairy).
Anyway, I’m back to lossing again. But I’m really starting to feel good and think I’m almost fat adapted now.

(Jay AM) #14

I eat dairy but I’m limited. I can have hard cheeses, butter, and limited amounts of cream cheese. No HWC at all or soft cheese unless I want to have intestinal distress.

(David Cooke) #15

I’m not an expert on Keto but I do know something about running.
As a matter of routine, one inhalation per three paces, one exhalation per three steps is a nice steady jog, or should be once your legs and heart and lungs have got into training. This is probably the pace that you can manage breathing through your nose but breathing through your mouth is easier.
Breathing can be practised lying on your back at home and might be thought of as starting down in your stomach and in a sort of circular motion expelling all the air from your lungs. You really don’t need half of your lungs filled with stale air. I often find it more refreshing to make an effort to really empty my lungs and then start again.
Picking up speed, I go to two paces per inhalation/exhalation, definitely breathing through the mouth all the time.

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #16

Thanks for the advice David :slight_smile:

(GINA ) #17

I have always heard it was good to breathe through your nose, but was never able to do it. A few months ago I went for standard blood testing for a physical and they found extra red blood cells. One possible cause of that can be sleep apnea so I went off to a sleep doctor. She took a look up my nostrils and said I have a deviated septum. I instinctively felt my nose (which doesn’t look crooked, really) and she says, “Oh no, it’s all inside.” I told her about not being able to nose-breathe while exercising and she said she was not surprised.

So I am stuck being a mouth breather I guess. :running_woman:

(Scott H.) #18

I have found that side stitches are definitely related to breathing and stride. I recall having read something about this years ago, in terms of how to avoid it. When I first started running, I had really terrible stitches. I learned to inhale and exhale on the same foot. As it happens, that’s the left foot for me. I have no idea if that has anything to do with being right-handed and right-eye dominant. It works for me, so I do it now when I run. For me, most of the ability to keep running is finding the breath/stride rhythm.

In terms of how to breathe, breathing from the diaphragm is the way to go. It’s cold here in the middle of the US right now, below freezing, so deep breathing is naturally more difficult. But, my experience is always that if I do not consciously find the rhythm, I hit a wall pretty quickly, sometimes in just a minute or so. That wall actually does feel a bit like panic, though it’s recognizable now.

(Katie the Quiche Scoffing Stick Ninja ) #19

Thank you!

(PSackmann) #20

Very slow runner/jogger here and will be again after surgery. On a long-distance running blog, I learned the following technique. To control breathing for pace, breath and count, with each count a step (footfall). So, breath in to 4, 4 steps, breath out to 4, 4 steps. Faster pace is breath in and out to 3, 3 steps each (each step is a foot-strike). I have found this is a good way to control your breathing and adjust your pace to your breath at the same time. I don’t have breath problems as much as heart-rate problems, and it’s helped me as well.