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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,

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