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A Question for the Runners!

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Old 10-07-2008, 03:47 PM   #1
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Hi there! I used to run back in high school. I didn't get any training for it, I just joined the track team and one day they said "the group needs to go run 2.5 miles" and I did it with the group, not very fast, but I never stopped. From there, I just got into the habit of running a few miles a few times a week for fun.

Unfortunately, after I started college and met my husband, I stopped running and gained a good amount of weight that I'm in the process of losing. I use the elliptical machine pretty much every day and started walking/jogging laps this weekend. My thighs are burning too.

My question is -- I don't remember it being so hard to breathe! I mean, I've been doing 5.9-6 miles in an hour on the elliptical machine - I know it's not totally equivalent, but I've learned to control and pace my breathing and figured it would make it easier for when I start to run. But now...I jog a lap and my chest feels like it's about to blow up and my throat gets so tight and it's hard to breathe, and it takes me walking a whole lap practically to get it back. My legs are fine. Back when I ran in high school, I didn't really ever have trouble pacing my breath, it was more whether my legs could handle it.

So...well I guess my question is...is this normal...am I doing something wrong? Is it just the difference of being 160lbs vs 222lbs and trying to run? Do I just need to keep doing it and the tightness will stop? I really don't remember having so much trouble, the tighness in my throat scares me! Did anyone else experience this and successfully be able to run without walking intervals?

Thanks - Girlie
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:15 PM   #2
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When I moved from the treadmill to the actual ground yes it was hard to breathe! It's getting better but I still struggle at times. I think it's important to remember to take steady breaths and not to pant. It might also be better for you to consider doing shorter intervals of running right now so you don't take so long to recoop on your walk intervels. Have you looked into the Couch to 5k plan?
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:18 PM   #3
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Umm... don't run until you can't breathe Try doing run/walk intervals until you get there.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:51 PM   #4
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First of all, I'm so surprised at myself for even being able to comment on this. Yay! Small victory for me. I started running 1/4 mile, fast walk 1/4 mile and do it like that for about an hour. After 2 months of doing this, I'm able to run a 10 min mile. Which for a 280's girl that's a big deal. At first, I it was harder to catch my breathe but, I would just drop to my fast walking and then go again. When I run outside, sometimes my throat hurts but I push through it. I always pat myself on the back when I'm done. My point is you should too. It doesn't matter how hard it is in the beginning just as long as you do it and you are! It will get easier I promise.
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Old 10-07-2008, 05:34 PM   #5
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You could be simply running too fast. When I started running, I did 13-minute miles...I was really really slow. But that was the fastest I could go without getting out of breath. I also did intervals until I could handle longer runs. I eventually got to 8-minute miles, so progress is definitely possible!
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:45 PM   #6
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I started walking in April '08. I can now run six miles. I started out walking for an hour. I began losing weight as I walked for an hour every night. As the months passed, I began to walk faster until it was almost speed walking. I figured I would give running a try and it didn't kill me. It sounds sort of like you are just jumping into it. I know my body was very different at 184 pounds than it is now at 140 pounds. I think working your way gradually to running as you lose weight would benefit you more in the sense that it might be easier on joints and your heart.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:36 AM   #7
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As others have said, I recommend slowing down just a bit as your body adjusts to the activity. I bet you'll be surprised at how fast you can beging to up your speed again.
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Old 10-09-2008, 04:15 PM   #8
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I had the same problem when I started running and as my cardio fitness got better it has improved - I now can use my breathing as a gauge of how hard I am running and actually control the situtation a bit. But I'd like to mention something else. I also have allergies and asthma, and when you mentioned tightness in your throat it sounded familiar to me - that's a symptom for me that it's not just fatigue but also that I've pushed my respiratory system. It's especially bad for me right now as I am very allergic to fall - leaves, dying grasses, etc. It doesn't stop me, I have medication and inhalers. But if you have a history of allergies or this kind of thing, you might check with your doctor and get some relief if it is warranted medically. I know I have become much more comfortable and able to run faster and longer now that I've changed my medication to fit my increased outdoor exposure (although I had trouble in the gym too, just not as much) and increased physical activity making demands on my lungs.

I also swim a lot and that's just great for my breathing - the warm moist air is just the right thing and I get good conditioning from it too, if you happpen to have access to a pool.

I hope you keep up with running, I'm pretty new to it myself and it's a lot of fun, and everyone in this site is very encouraging!
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:25 PM   #9
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thanks for your help everyone, some day I'll be able to respond to a post like this too

I'll keep practicing, and slow it down a bit!
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:43 PM   #10
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When I started running I could barely run a quarter mile! No joke! I did smoke for years though, I quit smoking, thank God! Now I run 3.5 miles in 30mins daily. It takes time to build up, I wasn't just suddenly able to run 3.5 in 30 overnight. Shedding excess weight helped my runs. I personally think it's natural to feel out of breath when running, it means you're pushing yourself and getting a good workout, course don't do it until you can't catch a breath AT ALL. Pace yourself and there are breathing techniques you can apply.
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:50 PM   #11
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I started running when I was over 40 -- could barely go a mile at a VERY slow pace at first, but gradually worked up to doing long distances with run/walk intervals. THEN I lapsed, stopped working out, gained weight, and lost all of my endurance. When I started over a couple of years ago, at 35-40 pounds heavier than I am now, I couldn't run any distance at all. What a come-down! I started working out again and watching my diet, and gradually started run/walking. As I lost weight and built endurance, I eventually was able to run continuously and get faster again. Now, I'm faster and fitter than ever and working diligently to stay that way - this time!!

So ... I would think your current experience is a combination of being older, losing some of your cardiovascular fitness due to lack of conditioning, and being heavier. All of the above. With consistent work, though, you'll make improvements faster than you think possible. Just keep it slow at first. I'm also an advocate of run/walk intervals, I think it's a great way to help avoid injury and go farther with less perceived effort.

You can do it!!
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:51 AM   #12
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I started out doing the walk/jog intervals as others have said. It took a while to build up to the point of doing a mile or more. At first it was very hard to breathe but that's why I'd throw in the walk interval.

Now I've built up and can breathe pretty easily as I jog. Granted I run a slow 12 min mile, but it's all about working your way up slowly to condition yourself and prevent injury.
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Old 11-20-2008, 11:31 PM   #13
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Hi all,

Just wanted to update. I started switching my workout from 60 minutes of fast elliptical machine to doing 30 elliptical and then 30 on the treadmill, and incorporate some jogging on the treadmill. Then I moved from treadmill to the indoor track.

So just within a couple of weeks, I'm up to running a mile without stopping (a slow run but a run!) and during the second mile I stop and do intervals. My breathing gets better every time. I know over the next few months I'll be able to run longer and then faster. I'm so proud of myself.

girlie
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