After some time heavy belly breathing it feels like the throat shrinks and it becomes hard to breathe in. Eventually I have to stop breathing for a few seconds, while still running, to be able to breathe in normally again.

Why does this happen and is there a way to prevent it?

  • 1
    You might be hyperventilating... that is what it sounds like your saying from my perspective. I know you've found your answer but knowing the proper medical term could help. Apparently hyperventilating happens when rapid breathing results in more exhaling than inhaling. Perhaps a slow deep breathe could/may interrupt this.
    – Jason
    Jul 24, 2016 at 3:55

2 Answers 2


From a Runner's World article:

Breathlessness may also be due to fatigue of the inspiratory muscles, primarily the diaphragm. Just as we condition and build the endurance of our skeletal muscles, the diaphragm also requires similar conditioning.

As for preventing it, here are two things that have really helped me:

  • Warm Up - Start by walking briskly for a minute or two. Begin jogging slowly, then gradually increase your pace. Think at least 5-10 minutes of warming up before you get into the "meat" of your run.
  • Slow Down - If, despite warming up, you keep getting out of breath while running, you may be trying to go faster than your current abilities. Slow down your overall pace and/or take regular walk breaks. With time and consistency, your body will become more efficient, and you will be able to run faster with the same effort.

This can be caused by gas, you can should be able to breath better using chest breathing instead of belly breathing. While belly breathing is touted as being superior to chest breathing, there has been no rigorous science done in this area. Some results suggest that there may be some health benefits for patients suffering from asthma to practice belly breathing. Arguments like chest breathing being a lot shallower and therefore bringing in a lot less oxygen is pseudo-scientific nonsense, you can run just as fast with either breathing method, unless, of course belly breathing is obstructed by e.g. excessive pressure due to gas.

  • It seems like the ability to tell how your breathing while running would only come after you learn how to run and do alot of it. Then it would no longer matter. This sounds like the debate on how to land on your feet, and thinking too much on that or paying attention to that one seems to lead to running problems IMO. Not solving anything.
    – Jason
    Jul 24, 2016 at 4:03
  • @Jason Yes, it should be something automatic. But thing is that very occasionally I'll have problems with gas which can cause this problem with breathing during running, if I consciously switch to chest breathing then the problem goes away. What then happens is that I cannot inflate my belly sufficiently due to too much gas, and precisely because I don;lt constantly watch my breathing that the first thing I'll notice is an abnormal lack of air, only then will I notice that I cannot breath in very deeply using my belly. Jul 24, 2016 at 6:22
  • Im curious what is your breathing rhythm in respect to your cadence?
    – Jason
    Jul 29, 2016 at 2:41

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