Breathing tight when running

I’ve been adding a few runs into my training recently and find my breathing feels really tight compared to on the bike. Prior to this I’ve just been cycling for the last year or so - fairly fit on the bike (ftp c.4/kg).

Any thoughts? Just due to breathing in a different position?

Hm. What’s your effort level like on the run? Generally speaking running involves a higher HR and oxygen demand than cycling at the same intensity, so if you’re pushing it on the run it may take some time to adjust to.


Could be exercised-induced asthma…mine flares up much more when running vs. cycling.


Running requires a lot more work of your core muscles, it takes some getting used to develop a relaxed running style that allows for relaxed breathing. Are you maintaining good form? Do you feel relaxed apart from the breathing issue? How strong is your core?


5k as fast as I could - so breathing fairly steady for first few k and then breathing really hard by the end.

But I could feel the tightness from very early in the run. And can breath harder without feeling tight in, say, five minute hill effort on the bike, or 20 on 10 off repeats.

Decent core strength I think - rock climbing background before cycling. Hard to say on form, been told (long ago) my running forms naturally quite good and felt relaxed first 3 km (other than tightness)

Probably is just getting used to running again though

Could be, it’d be a new development if it is - hoping not!

Where abouts are you, in the uk we are experiencing humid conditions, and that seems to make my asthma worse, especially as they are harvesting at the moment, the damp air keeps the pollen \ particles down (apparently)

I developed asthma at about 45, running always makes it a bit worse and I develop a cough for a little while afterwards

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Yeah was very humid here today.

Humidity can absolutely be a trigger for Exercise Induced Asthma…

And EIA can have its onset at any point in life…many people never know they have it because it is triggered by exercise and they…wait for it…never exercise.


I think as well, it doesn’t suddenly happen, it’s slow progression and you don’t actually notice it getting worse, I remember clearly not believing the nurse when she told me I needed an inhaler … few days getting a kom thinking, hang on I wasn’t out of breath

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If cycling has been your only form of aerobic exercise then I suggest you’ve become accustomed to using certain muscles for breathing only. When running, many of the same muscles are used for maintaining trunk stability as well as taking in air.

The same thing happened to me recently - my physio prescribed skipping for calf strength. I was only at 70% HRmax but being unable to breath as deeply as usual was quite disconcerting. You’ll quickly adapt.

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Whats your running background and what your weekly running millage?

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Hr monitor? Always harder when I wear one now as I have transitioned to wrist Hr on my fenix 6x and prior to that 935

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no, didn’t have it on for this run

never ran regularly, but played sports where you run through school and twenties plus odd run/jog. could do 40 minute 10 k then

in thirties occasional run - like a few times a year. started adding roughly a run a week over the last month. anything from 2k to 11k. 5k yesterday was the first I’ve made an effort in, had a pal pace me for sub twenty

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I think this is most likely it.

How’s the skipping going? I was thinking that might be good for cross training too

I had a moderate calf strain in April, so the skipping is part of the plan to bulletproof the calves for the return of CX next year. I started out with 3x2min, worked up to 5x4mins before transitioning to alternating feet. It feels like a perfect complement to cycling. High-ish impact and open chain while very controlled/safe - all the good stuff without detracting from the on-the-bike training.

I love running, but I haven’t had much luck with staying injury free.

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Running takes times. It taxes your body differently than the bike.
I would maybe slow down a bit, and try to get your running legs in place.

Sub 20 will make you breath hard if your are not used to it. So I think your “problem” is that you havent run enough, but you will get pass it if you continue!

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This is a great point…as cyclists, we have the aerobic engine to run pretty fast straight out of the gate, but don’t have the body to support it. I struggled with this for years when I started doing tri’s. I ran at what felt like my “easy” riding pace, which was WAY too fast for running.

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