Exercise! - I Can't Run! Waaah

View Full Version : I Can't Run! Waaah

01-04-2009, 04:01 PM
Hi! I have a strange problem in that I can't run! I'm quite fit and can do a full hour on the cross-trainer, 100 lengths of the pool in an hour and can hike up a Munro without much trouble, but I can't run for a full minute without getting seriously out of breath. Is there a reason for this, like a genetic reason or something? And is there any way I can break out of this because I'd love to run and have dreams of doing a triathlon but my inability to run is stopping me.

Mrs Snark
01-04-2009, 04:26 PM
Start slow and work your way into running. Alternate running for 30 seconds with walking for a minute. Don't try to run fast at all, just a slow shuffle to start. You just need to condition yourself to this new activity. If you can do all those other things you can certainly learn to run. Just ease into it. Find a good Couch to 5k program and if it goes too fast (i.e., you find you can't complete the activity comfortably) just repeat days/weeks as necessary.

I couldn't run for a full minute either when I started (and I never would have even TRIED, it would have killed me).

I see triathlons in your future! :)

01-04-2009, 04:33 PM
When i started running i could only do 45 seconds before i felt like i was going to die. Now I can do 5 miles and barely be out of breath. It will get easier just keep trying. And don't forget to rest in between runs.

01-04-2009, 04:33 PM
I have the exact same problem I hope we can both fix it and get though it and become stronger!!!!!!!! good luck!!!!!!!!!

01-04-2009, 05:07 PM
When I started, I couldn't even jog a 16th of a mile. I would jog as long as I could on the straights at the local high school tracks and then walk the curves. I would repeat until I felt like I could jog 1/8th of a mile and then recover. Baby steps. go very slow. If you can just do 15, 20, 30 seconds, then start there. Concentrate on breathing. Don't run fast. Just move your body, recover, move your body, recover. Now I run half marathons, but I started trying to jog 50 yards.

ETA: don't forget to stretch....and get good shoes from a real running store!

01-04-2009, 05:27 PM
I agree - start slow. Run a few seconds at a slow pace (I started running 30 seconds at 3.2 on the treadmill with several minutes between seconds running). I believe you will be surprised at how quickly you will progress. Good luck!!

01-04-2009, 07:21 PM
I started "running" in August. I tried the couch to 5k, but I couldn't run for 60 seconds like we were supposed to. My legs stopped!

So I did my own modified version. Which involved running as long as I could (45 seconds in the beginning!) then walking for 90 seconds, then repeating. I did the C25K program with the walking times as prescribed, but my random running times in between.

And now I can run for 5k! That takes me 40 minutes (hey, I never said I was fast) and my style sucks, but I'm working on that. We're talking going from a serious Couch Potato to running FOR 40 MINUTES STRAIGHT in 5 months.

You can do it. Just take it at your own pace, and never never give up.

Good luck!

01-04-2009, 08:09 PM
I used to be the same exact way, I could do most things but just not run. Take it slow as others have said. The first time I ran a mile without stopping as an adult, I called my entire family and sent out many emails b/c I was so thrilled with myself. I used to believe that I couldn't run so it was a huge accomplishment for me.

01-04-2009, 09:01 PM
OK...my story in the quick version. I quit smoking cold turkey on 1-1-00. I wanted to get pregnant and my hubby MADE ME quit smoking first. It was horrible. LOVED smoking and was up to almost 2 packs a day after 15 years. In February of that year I hadn't gotten pg yet and decided to start "running". HA! I couldn't "run" 30 seconds w/o a side stitch or gasping for breath. I kept at it. Slowly but surely. That May I ran my first 5k. All summer long I ran other 5k's. In November of that year I ran a 10k and the following May I ran a 15k. Just go slow. Very few people can just go out for the first time ever and blast out a few miles.

01-04-2009, 11:05 PM
Yup, I'm with you. Couldn't run even if I was being chased :p

BUT once I quit smoking I thought "what the heck" and gave it a shot. I echo the ladies who suggested the Couch to 5k and well-fitting running shoes. I tried running in my hiking boots once... bad idea. Now I feel like I run on cottonballs :)

And also, as echoed, take it slow. Don't feel like you have to start by running a mile. Do intervals and increase them as your progress.

I never thought I could be a "jogger". I think part of it was that I was "the fat kid" and pretty much discouraged from running. Plus, running when you're bigger is not comfortable and that was very discouraging to me. I was literally a 24 year old woman learning how to run as though I hadn't as a child. But it's possible :) These ladies are proof!

01-04-2009, 11:21 PM
Running is a whole different monster, that's for sure. The machines you're using are a lot easier on your body- running's not necessarily a better work out, it's just a higher impact, more intense experience. You're body's going to have a hard time adjusting to running, partly because the human body isn't made to run for any distance more than a few meters. We have to train very hard to go any distance because it's unnatural for us, biologically.

On the plus side, you're doing your body a big favor by using mainly exercise machines. Every woman I know that was a jogger in her youth and is now middle aged regrets it. Many have a hard time walking, even.

01-04-2009, 11:31 PM
Running has been awesome for my body and fitness level, personally. I always had knee issues and since I began running they- along with my ankle pain (due to injury)- have disappeared. Now, some people can't run due to physical limitations, but I don't think that represents most people :) It was hard to run more than a few meters at first, but that was a pretty short lived limitation :)

01-04-2009, 11:53 PM
Plus, running is FUN!! Not to say machines can't be fun....but I'll tell ya nothing beats getting out there on a crisp fall morning watching hot air balloons and hearing your feet hit the dirt in a rhythm and breathing in fresh air, ponytail swinging, long strong legs carrying you across the miles....Biking or roller blading might be a close second....

My daughter is collecting all those ads in Runners World about how runners are different and unique. My favorite "Have you ever noticed it's always runners that find the dead bodies?" Particularly meaningful since my kid did actually find a body once while running....but that's another story.

01-05-2009, 12:08 AM
My favorite "Have you ever noticed it's always runners that find the dead bodies?"

Oh, too funny!

01-05-2009, 12:12 AM
"Have you ever noticed it's always runners that find the dead bodies?" Particularly meaningful since my kid did actually find a body once while running....but that's another story.


It's a story for right about now!

01-05-2009, 01:22 AM
Edited to remove specifics out of respect.

No prob, Jen. :)

01-05-2009, 01:28 AM
That's definitely a good lesson for carrying a cell phone.

The rule with CPR (as I'm sure you're well versed on) is that the scene must be safe for you should you intervene. That did not sound safe.

Thanks for sharing the story. I didn't mean to make it sound like you had to tell it:^:, but it sounded very interesting!

01-05-2009, 08:55 AM
I never thought I could "run" either. I was over 40 when I even tried, and just like you, couldn't sustain any kind of jogging pace for any length of time. But I started out with run/walk intervals, kept a VERY slow pace, and over time, was able to jog longer and walk less. Finally, I found I could just keep jogging. Then, over time I got faster .... and now am running half marathons. I never thought in a million years that I would be able to do that!!!

So just keep things slow, and work consistently at it, and you will see improvement. It just takes some time and persistence.

01-12-2009, 03:33 PM
What altitude do you live at?

Shannon in ATL
01-12-2009, 04:11 PM
I posted recently that I went outside and ran my first 'outside run' and did an entire mile and got a couple of responses about starting too fast. In looking back, what I didn't say was that I had been running laps around the inside of my house for the last six months trying to improve on the first time when I didn't even make it to the chorus of the song on my iPod at the time... :) The endurance will come if you keep at it!

ETA: I find now that I really like being outside. I also had to learn to run - I never did it as a child.

01-12-2009, 04:30 PM
Sorry if this has been posted, I didn't read all the posts but I was the same way. I really think lungs need to have endurance built in them just like your muscles. The Couch to 5K program really worked for me. I run 3 miles in one shot now. 4 months ago, I could not even do a minute.

01-12-2009, 06:50 PM
i cant run either.. dont feel bad! i dont know how to breathe when i run so i end up hyperventilating :( i just walk... which is soo much better on the knees! my mom used to power walk 4 miles a day.. and i took her less than an hour.. ( i think that is pretty fast!)

01-13-2009, 03:06 PM
What altitude do you live at?

Me? Um...sea level. Would that make much of a difference?

Besides, I don't think in the UK you can live at a very high altitude, unless you live way up Ben Nevis or something.

01-13-2009, 03:32 PM
Me? Um...sea level. Would that make much of a difference?

Besides, I don't think in the UK you can live at a very high altitude, unless you live way up Ben Nevis or something.

Altitude definitely has an effect on running!

The higher you go, the less oxygen you have.

01-13-2009, 04:20 PM
Yeah but I think the highest I could possibly be is 400m above sea level, so I can't imagine that having much of a difference.

01-13-2009, 07:20 PM
Yeah but I think the highest I could possibly be is 400m above sea level, so I can't imagine that having much of a difference.

Very true. It does take a LOT of elevation to effect lung capacity.

01-13-2009, 07:37 PM
I too could barely make it a minute the first time I tried running, but I didn't know anything about how to do it, and I done nothing to get in shape for it. You need to pace yourself (start out at a very slow jog and build up slowly) and you need to learn to breath right. I started running and after a few weeks, I was able to run a mile, but I was dying at that point and just couldn't break the mile. I was complaining to a running co-worker, who said I may not be breathing right. You need to breath with your gut (let your stomach extend when you breath in to allow more air in your lungs, and then suck in your stomach to push the air out as you exhale). I practiced breathing that way for awhile before my next run and it's not easy to do if you aren't used to it...but you can learn. The next time I ran, I focused on breathing that way, and I broke the mile and almost ran two miles...where as the day before I could barely make it a mile. Breathing right made a huge difference.