Building Lung Capacity

I am a beginning runner. Asthmatic child, never had the lungs to run, but always wanted to. Well, at 42 I have decided I AM going to run a 5K.

I picked up a beginning runner's training schedule (not yours) where it builds from walking 5min running 1,...and I have gotten to running 1.5 minutes and walking 2 but cannot seem to progress.

At 1.5 minutes I JUST CAN'T BREATHE.

Oh, I started this in November and it's now February.....

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about building lung capacity while running.

As with all advice provided on this site, but especially when people have medical conditions, I have to point out that everything I say is subject to my site disclaimer. I do advise in my beginner running tips that people over forty and/or with medical conditions discuss their exercise plans with their doctors. If you haven't already done so, check with your doctor to see if anything can be done to help your situation.

OK, so far the "my lawyer made me say it"-part...

Having said that, after, I assume, 42 years of not much exercise, it will take time to build up your fitness. And it will take a lot more time for you if you are hampered by a medical condition.

I would stress that the running you do really needs to be at a slow speed, just a little faster than walking. Many beginning runners make the mistake of making the running component too strenuous.

Some strategies you can employ to work on increasing the running parts of your workout:

* Make your walking breaks longer, e.g. four minutes instead of two to see if that helps you get any further with the running.

* Focus on small steps of progress. If you can't run longer than 1.5 minutes at a time, then focus on doing more of these 1.5 minutes repeats during your workout. If you currently do 4 x 1.5 min run, 2 min walk, see if you can build it up to 5, 6, 7 repeats. As long as you build up the running in some way, you will make progress.

* Then see if you can get the 1.30 min run to 1.35, 1.40 etc. Small steps are probably key here.

Above all, the good thing is that you are running and walking and that you have built up from doing nothing to being active.

Keep your long term goal of good health in mind and try to enjoy your exercise, even though I do understand it can be frustrating when you don't seem to see much progress.

A breakthrough may be just around the corner. Keep up the good work.

Best of luck.
Kind regards,

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Running Training Helpline.

Like this page:

Share this page:

Like this site:

[?] Subscribe To This Site

follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!


  • Beginner Running Tips

    Are you a beginning runner? Then this is your best starting point. Many tips and running programs on offer, dedicated to you.

  • Running for Weight Loss

    Aiming to lose a few pounds? Get into the Running for Weight Loss section for tips and advice.

  • Running Training

    The Running Training section of the site has got the most articles. It is constantly getting updated with new tips and information. A must-visit if you are serious about improving your running performance.

  • 5k Running Tips

    The 5k is a great distance to run and train for. The great thing is that you can do it quite often and see big improvements.

  • 10k Running Tips

    The 10k is a real challenge. You need to run fast for an uncomfortably long time! Check out this section if you are strong of mind and legs!

  • Marathon Running Tips

    The marathon is a massive challenge. Proper training is so important! Make sure to check out this section if you have got your mind set on the marathon!

What's New?

  1. Half Marathon - Need 11 Minutes Improvement

    I ran my first half marathon yesterday. I'm a 48 y/o female and my time was 2:11 (gun time). I trained with one long run a week and two short runs -

    Read more

  2. 5 Minute Mile at 45 Years Old

    Mid-life crisis question. I'm 45 years old and haven't run seriously since college. In high school, I ran 4:40 for a mile; 10:20 for two miles. I could

    Read more

  3. Sneezing after Running

    Every time I finish a run, I start sneezing (like a minute straight). For the rest of the day, I will have a runny and stuffy nose and will continue

    Read more

  4. Special Running Workouts :: Billat's Four by Five and the Thirty-Thirty

    Veronique Billat trains elite runners. She has found a few great workouts to improve your running and increase your running speed. Learn all about them on this page.

    Read more

  5. Want to Run a Half Marathon in Less Than Two Hours

    Love your website! Today I ran 5 km in my local race. My time was 25 minutes, 38 seconds. I am a 44 year old woman, average height and build (5'5 and

    Read more