Question about controlling breathing

Nikki asks
I have enjoyed jogging for years as a form of exercise and stress relief and am only now training to run my first half marathon at age 37 years! I find my biggest limitation is breathing - some days I just get too puffed and end up walking, yet other days I'm fine.  What strategies to you recommend to keep heart rate and breathing at a comfortable level?
Lee's response

Hi Nikki,

There are a number of things you need to consider first:
1) Weather- The weather can play an important part in your breathing. If it is too hot or even to cold as well as days that have a high pollen count.

2) Your fitness- If you have gone from being a recreational jogger for many years and are now following a structured training program, you may find that you are not quite fit enough to handle the training load and you can get a de-training effect which can lead to fatigue and greater stress on the body which can stress breathing.

3)Lifestyle-  Work and/ or family life if stressful can lead to tiredness/ sleep deprivation which in turn can affect your body.

From here we can also look at your breathing.
Air should enter through your mouth and nose while you're running. Your body and muscles need oxygen to keep moving and both your nose and mouth provide that passageway. Breath more from your diaphragm and not from your chest and this may also prevent some causes of a side stitch and exhale through your mouth.

Here are a few more tips for breathing while running:

-    Try to take three steps for every breath in and two steps for every breath out.
-    Try to run at a pace which you can breathe easily. The "talk test" is a good guide to see if your pace is appropriate. You should be able to speak in full sentences without struggling for air.

I hope this helps.