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Runningon air

ONE of the most common problems facing beginners when running is getting the correct breathing technique.

It sounds like it should be pretty simple, but it can actually be quite difficult to control your breathing and is often the reason people give up so soon.

The main complaint is that within the first few minutes of a jog it gets increasingly hard to breathe, no matter how deep you breathe it isn't enough and this also results in side stitches.

Some breathing tips:

1 First, rule out medical issues like asthma or exercise induced allergies, if you think your breathing difficulty is down to a medical condition, consult your doctor.

2 Don't rush in: I always recommend a 5-10 minute brisk walk to help you warm up before you start running.

When you walk, concentrate on breathing from deep down in your belly and if you have to, slow down.

This is especially important for beginners, it helps open your lungs and prepare for the higher intensity jog.

3 You will know best whether you should breathe through your nose or mouth but I 'd recommend the latter.

Breathing through your mouth allows maximum oxygen to your working muscles.

However, some runners breathe through their noses believing that this keeps them more relaxed.

4 If you get a side stitch, breathe deeply; concentrate on pushing all of the air out of your abdomen.

This will stretch out your diaphragm muscle (below the lungs), where cramp occurs.

The good news is that as your fitness levels increase, stitches should go away.

> Louise Heraghty