So was talking to a friend about exercising recently. She’s just started again after a long time, and she’s chosen to do jogging. Her issue’s running out of breath before she’s completed even half of her training circuit. One round is about 1.5km, depending on the route she takes, and she usually does about 3 to 4 rounds.
By default, she is fairly fit. She has no trouble doing brisk walks in the park, but when she ups her pace, she loses breath quite fast. So being the kepoh (slang for busybody) that I am, I suggested a few things she might need to look into.
Breathlessness is something that’s common when you are starting out. Usually comes from not warming up properly or from improper breathing techniques. Runner’s World has a guide that’s pretty good at explaining how to overcome this.
My own personal recommendation from the list is to warm up first. Once you’ve gotten that down, then you can focus on the breathing. The thing is to learn how fast you can go without triggering that moment when you know you are out of breath. If you are gasping for air like a fish out of water, you are going too fast. I learnt to take quick, deep breaths by walking fast and somewhat timing my breaths to my feet. Short but frequent breaths through the mouth for every step I took.
It’s basically “In-step-out-step-in-step” and so forth in the beginning. As time goes by and your stamina increases, you can then move it slowly to “in-step-step-out” as your body adjusts. The talk test will be your main guide here; you should be moving fast enough that you cannot sing, but slow enough for you to converse.
Another thing we discussed was non-running exercises. Alternate exercises that you can do at home when walking gets boring (and it will, even if you go to different places all the time). For this, I turned to Darabee, aka Miss Neilarey. She has some great, simple exercises you can do at home, and they are bodyweight exercises, which means you don’t need fancy weights to do them, just your own sense of balance.
Rest days are also important. Your body needs a rest now and then to recuperate, and she’s selected Sundays as hers. It’s a good day to rest and take things easy.
Which reminds me, I should probably get started on my own exercises. >>