Breathing tips for beginner runners

Breathing problems are common among new runners. Your legs feel fine but after a short distance you’re struggling to take in the air and it can be incredibly frustrating.

Breathing tips for beginner runners

It will get easier as you get fitter, but there are some things you can do to try and improve your breathing as a new runner, the first being to perform an exercise that makes you focus on your breathing.

That might sound like a strange instruction, but the simple act of concentrating on how you are breathing will enable to you improve it. Be mindful of taking slower, deeper breaths than you have been previously.

The deeper you inhale oxygen into your lungs, the more there will be to be transported into your bloodstream and carried to your muscles. Think about that process and how you are helping it become more efficient with every well-measured breath.

For intermediate runners, check out our tips on improving your lung capacity.

Try this simple, four-minute exercise to improve your breathing:

1. Walk for one minute

Go for a one-minute walk. Even the busiest person can get this done in a hectic schedule. For that one minute as you’re walking, take big deep breaths in and pay attention to your posture and your stride. You will notice that you’re taking a number of strides during the inhale and exhale phases, and this will begin to embed that breathing pattern.

2. Speed up

Speed that walk up making sure you stick to that same same deep, even breathing. Keep your focus to ensure your breaths don’t increase in pace as a result of your faster walking speed. All it takes is a little bit of concentration.

3. Gentle jog

Push the pace up to slow jog speed. Again, maintain that focus on using the same breathing pattern. As you jog, count the number of strides you’re taking between each breath.

4. Run!

Now, it’s time for a one-minute run. Focus on keeping the same even breathing pattern you've been keeping since the walk. Take note of the number of strides you take for each inhale and exhale.

If you do this a few times a week, we promise you’ll quickly find it easier to breathe when you run, and those deep, long intakes of oxygen will feel like second nature!

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