Some new runners find themselves out of breath very quickly. The problem, quite simply, is that they're trying to go too fast.

The obvious solution: Slow down -- even if it means slowing down to a walking pace. Contrary to the popular myth, you don't have to be in pain (or breathless) in order to gain the benefits of running. Focus on sustaining your workout at a comfortable speed for at least 20 minutes. As you continue to run over time, you'll naturally increase your aerobic capacity and your ability to run faster.

Here are a few more tips to assist you:

  • PACE YOURSELF. The standard rule of thumb is to make sure you are able to talk while you run. If you can't speak comfortably, you should slow down.
  • INHALE INTO YOUR BELLY, NOT YOUR CHEST. "Belly breathing" will get more oxygen to your system than shallow breathing into the chest. If you're not used to belly breathing, try practicing when you're not running. As you inhale, your belly should expand first and then your chest.
  • EXPERIMENT WITH BREATHING RHYTHMS. Many runners use a "2-2" rhythm, which means they take two strides (left-right) as they inhale, and two as they exhale. But other rhythms might work for you as well. For example, you could try a 3-3 rhythm and a 2-3 rhythm. Varying your breathing rhythms may be particularly helpful when you encounter a terrain change, such as a hill.