Learning to Breathe

During basic training I was chastised a time or two about having the anatomy to run faster. I never said this out loud but I thought “Do you know what my lungs feel like right now!?!?”

I would run as hard as I possibly could to keep up with my battle buddies and just made the cutoff for C group. My chest always had a cold burn and the renewable river of saliva that pooled under my tongue felt like lava behind my teeth.

They told me to try breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. However, this tactic made me hyperventilate as I never felt like I got enough air in while somehow forcing every bit out.

But when we did group runs and called cadence I noticed I had no problem breathing. I didn’t obsess over getting enough air or trying to breath in one airway and out another.

But after training ended, group runs were few and far in between and I went right back to the struggle of cold fire in my chest and hot lava in my mouth until I was crazy enough to sign up for a race. I have had an on-again off-again struggle with breathing and steady pace since 2011…

I didn’t have this aha moment until today while working on my pacing strategy for my first marathon. I’ve struggled to start out slow enough to hit my goal pace for my training runs so far. But one of the audiobooks I’ve listened to while running suggested a 9 minute run, 1 minute walk strategy. I did that today and actually sped up a little from 10:39/mile down to 10:12 for the last mile of my recovery run. I also noticed it helped me keep a steady breathing rhythm. I took 3 even breaths in and three out with my inhales lining up with my right foot hitting the ground and the exhales lined up with the left. There was no cold burn or mouthful of lava. There were no thoughts of needing an early walk break or extending the minute when it came around.

It only took me 14 years to figure this out🤔😩😂


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