Why Do I Feel Out of Breath When Running?

"I always feel out of breath when I run. What am I doing wrong?"

When you're running, you're breathing harder and some huffing and puffing is expected, especially when you first get started. After a very easy warm-up, try to focus on breathing in through your mouth and nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on breathing from deep down in your belly. Deep belly breathing allows you to take in more air, which can also help prevent side stitches.

Try to run at a pace at which you can breathe easily. Use the "talk test" to figure out if your pace is appropriate. You should be able to speak in full sentences, without gasping for air. If you can't do that, you may have to slow down or take a walking break. As you become more fit, your breathing will become easier and you'll need fewer walk breaks. Stick with it! Although your progress may seem slow at first, running and breathing will feel easier after a few weeks of running a few times a week.

Build Endurance, Then Speed

Some runners find themselves out of breath when they try to move the pace too soon. Try to build up your endurance before you focus on speed. Once you're breathing comfortably for your runs, you can work on getting faster.

If you find that you're wheezing and have trouble catching your breath even when you slow down, make an appointment with your health care provider.

You may have asthma or another condition requiring treatment.

More FAQs for Beginner Runners:

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